Painting the town, literally; Artists cover city walls with murals during festival

Markos Egure works on the "Humanity" mural Aug. 28, a work made by the ARTners Collaborative. The mural is located on Improv Alley between 7th and 8th streets. Jason Pierce | Photo Editor |

Ellyssa Rodriguez
Managing Editor


August in Sacramento brings extreme heat, and since last year, it has also been a time to catch local and national artists scaling buildings nearly 10 stories high, creating alluring murals for the entire city to enjoy.

A year after the Sacramento Mural Festival first let artists paint the city, it returned with a new name — Wide Open Walls. During the festival’s 11-day run Aug. 10–20, artists churned out around 40 large-scale murals downtown and in the greater Sacramento area.

As Sacramento’s buildings transformed from blank canvases into works of art, it seems the city is well on its way to becoming an art mecca, but one artist is not convinced it’s as easy as adding new art to the city.

“It’s nothing new to turn to art, lots of cities are doing it,” says Stephanie Taylor, a longtime Sacramento artist. “I hope the mayor continues to do it, and I hope that he supports the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission with money, not just to create new work, but to maintain the existing work, because that’s a big thing.”

Taylor participated in the festival, repainting a mural that she completed nearly 18 years ago. The mural, which depicts a train bursting through an exterior wall of the California State Railroad Museum, had faded dramatically.

“It takes funding,” says Taylor, who is adamantly focused on more community support, as well as a push toward revamping existing works. “Sacramento has an opportunity to focus on maybe some art enhancement, like the riverfront really needs big help from Old Sac all the way to the freeway. That could really be made into a mecca.”