2017,  Musings,  Sacramento

Musings: Wide Open Walls 2017 – Sacramento, CA

Sophomore year for Sactown!
Last year Krystle and I biked around and checked out the Sacramento Mural Festival that popped up. This year they vamped it up, renamed it, and marketed it like Sacramento knows how to do!
Wide Open Walls 2017!
About the event, straight from the website:
“The Wide Open Walls mural festival is taking place from August 10th through the 20th, 2017. It will bring over 40 artists – local, national and international – to the Sacramento area. This year’s event adds to the region’s already venerable history of mural painting – which has produced over 600 murals over the last 40 years.”
Jamee, whom you recently read about, reached out and invited me to go on a walking tour with a few other fellow women in Sac. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity, even though I had no idea who would be there or if I’d even know anyone besides her. Why not be a little adventurous and meet new people?! She worked with everyone’s schedule and sent out an invite for Monday at 6 PM. She even curated a list for us, she made it way too easy:
  1. Maren Conrad 1050 20th Street I Mars
  2. John Horton 2020 I Street
  3. Roy Gonzales 1815 K Street I Jazz Alley, Behind The Porch
  4. Nsego 1731 L Street
  5. Kinetik Ideas AKA Anthony Padilla 1716 L Street l Old Soul
  6. How & Nosm 1121 15th Street l Residence Inn Alley
  7. Jeremiah Kille 1900 K Street l Back of TRUE
  8. Adnate l 2131 Capitol Avenue
  9. Raphael Delgado l 1401 21st Street l Jalapenos

Here is the full list of artists participating and here is a map to see all of the locations:

I met up with the crew at LowBrau as they were paying their bill. It was really an odd, chilly Sacramento summer evening. I was dressed for a warm Sacramento evening. I only recognized a few faces, but everyone one was really friendly.

Photo via Rebecca Plumb – we lost a few by this pic.

For some reason I wasn’t in an overtly cheery mood, which meant that I didn’t go out of my way to really connect with those that I didn’t know. I should have, but I didn’t. I did chat with all of the women that I knew. And I say that loosely, I mostly know them through social media interactions, some personal, and one was a person whom I’d interviewed with (but didn’t get the job).

As they wrapped up the bill, we started our journey to the mural by Maren Conrad. She was with her crew and working on the mural when we sauntered over. This was literally the back side of the building where LowBrau resides, so we didn’t have a far walk. But if you could imagine about 10 women all with their iPhone’s and fancy cameras out, we looked official 😉 This is where we learned that the murals had to be completed by Sunday, August 20th. Thus, most of the murals we saw were a work in progress (WIP). I know I wasn’t expecting that, but I didn’t really do much research. I knew I saw the dates of August 10-20, 2017, but I didn’t put much thought into it. I now realize this is when they are being created.

Not the artist, one of her helpers.
The creativity goes beyond the mural!
Primer to metallic blue!

Next, we wandered over to the John Horton mural, which was deserted except for the machine that the artists use to be able to cover such large canvases. For the life of me, I cannot think of the proper term. It was interesting to see a group of 10 women whom all have different perspectives and ideas, look and photograph one mural. Selfies, odd angles, quick pics, studied pics, everything was different for each person. It was cool to experience it all. I was a little green with envy with those with fancy cameras, one day that will be me! The eyes really spoke to me too. I loved the lips too!

We then walked a little further to see the Roy Gonzales mural, where I believe he and a friend were hanging out as we peeked at the WIP. Neither of them said anything, they just observed us snapping pics of the mural. We didn’t stay too long here, it literally is on the side of the Porch. What I noticed here was that he had WOW signage to identify himself as the artist and his social media handle, which was helpful. I feel like I needed some context behind this mural, but I didn’t ask him — if that was him behind us the entire time!
We may have gotten a little lost and questioned our ability to be residents of Sacramento. We finally found our way to How & Nosm. As we were craning our necks to look up at this mural, the “Project Manager” came out and started chatting with us, not the artist! He seems to be on the mural circuit or something like that. As we tried to snap pics, cars for the hotel were trying to park. Be careful if you come to check this one out, its a busy alley! And yes, the mural is going to the TOP!
Photo via Jamee – All for the ‘Gram

We then walked over to probably my favorite mural of the evening, by Kinetik Ideas AKA Anthony Padilla. Anthony was actively painting when we arrived, he was taking a break to set up the lights so he could work through the evening darkness. He also had someone helping him and she was super nice, she even took our group photo. From speaking with his helper, while the others spoke to him directly, I learned that they were doing three murals spread across his canvas. They’d already used 4 of the painter gallon buckets to cover the wall with base colors. The mural they were currently working on incorporated Burney Falls. He even asked if any of us had been to Burney Falls, which I happily mentioned I had. He had all of his spray paint out, so it was fun to capture that image too.

Anthony speaking to the crew.
Photo via Rebecca – Mural + Gram Girls

The sun had essentially set and we didn’t have much light left for picture taking AND it was getting colder by the hour. Still so weird to think it was that cold in Sac in August! Our last stop was on the way back to where most of us parked, the Jeremiah Kille mural. No one was there, besides the lifting equipment and the partial mural. The texture of this canvas looked like it would be tricky to navigate. I don’t know if it was because I was really cold and hungry OR if it was because most of these were WIP, but I just didn’t seem to into this one. Not that it wasn’t interesting to look at, but I think I may have preferred to see them at completion.

Even though I’d visited the website prior to taking part in this exploration, I never realized how many sponsors this new art exhibit had collected. The last mural had a tarp over one of the railings with all the WOW 2017 sponsors, there’s a shit ton of them! Their website breaks down all their Sponsorship’s for you if you’d like to see.
They are also having a culminating event called the Wall Ball, which I only know tidbits about. Anthony mentioned he will be one of the artists who get to paint 300 beer bottles, which will be given away to friends and sponsors of the project (according to him). Anyone can purchase tickets to this event, they go for $100/pop! Yikes!
I appreciate Jamee taking the time to gather a group of women together to go and take a peek at the Wide Open Walls event happening in our city. I loved that we walked and took the time to chat with one another. It was a great way to make connections in real life, versus social media.
I am really excited to see all the murals in their totality. It was cool to see some of the artists in their habitat, even though I didn’t take the time to speak to any of them. I also really appreciate the efforts of the WOW team to be more cohesive and informational about their project. I do think every mural should have signage with the artist name and even a little blurb about their mural, duh and social media tags. Also, their hashtag is way too long to even worry about using on IG. But hey, that’s just me being lazy bones!
Swooning over my city just a little more. Love that there is enough energy and power behind such a creative and philanthropic endeavor. It doesn’t cost anything to see the beautiful art, but behind the scenes, they are raising money and making our city just a little bit prettier.
Our alleys are prettier than yours!

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