The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The WAL: A look inside of the city’s newest artists’ housing project

Artists live and work at The WAL, an innovative community in the R Street corridor.

There is a symbiotic relationship between artists and their community. The artist needs an audience to interact with his or her art, and the community benefits from the inspiration and improved environment the art provides. Some artists, however, move beyond this arrangement, so immersed in their communities that their work and identity are inextricably bound with a certain place.

Such is the situation at the Warehouse Art Lofts in the historic R Street corridor of Sacramento. The WAL project celebrates the character of the historic Lawrence Warehouse building and industrial aesthetic of the area with this artist/community relationship.

The WAL is made up of eclectic artists who display their artwork throughout the R Street corridor. Inside the apartment complex the hallways and mezzanines feature the works
of those artists, some of whom have created murals while living in the lofts. Several occupants attend City College and other area colleges that offer visual and performing art courses.

Rebel Thredz, a self-proclaimed “yarn bomber,” WAL resident and mixed media fabric artist, moved into the artist lofts in March.

“Art is my passion, and there are some really talented people here, so I feel right at home,” Thredz said, who gave herself her pseudonym after participating in the occupy Wall Street phenomenon in New York City. She is a street artist with a message, combining leather, beadwork, knitting, crotchet and macrame to create yarn graffiti art.

“My art is a declaration to life,” she proclaimed. “In my art you will find political statements that enlighten and inform our society of the state our environment is in.”

The WAL project was designed to demonstrate the ways a community responds to a variety of artistic media. It offers visual and performing artists facilities to support their artistic endeavors and provide an arena in which to live and practice their visions. Included in this complex are an underground parking structure and several housing units designed for artists and creative minds.
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Special features designed to enhance a sense of artistic relationships include a rooftop social patio with a community garden, a dance studio with a spring-loaded floor and an aerial suspension apparatus, a large community room with piano, a basement music room for late-night musicians, and retail shops and restaurants in the lower level.

Catherine Llarena, a fashion designer and full-time City College student, moved into the lofts in January 2014. Living with her 3-year-old daughter, she remembers the managers telling her that she could not be a full-time student and live there. After that mandate was revised, Llaraena now rents a two-bedroom loft space where she lives, works and raises her daughter.

“It’s a great place for kids,” she said. “There’s a child artist play area up on the roof with a play structure and a baby swimming pool. The kids can use art materials to draw, paint and build things without restriction.”

Many residents at the lofts have children and are encouraged to have them participate in artistic endeavors.

“I have no problem raising my daughter in this environment; it’s child friendly,” said Llarena, who, after winning a competition, has had one of her murals selected for placement at City College. “There are many children here the same age range.”

Editor’s note: The story and photos were provided by Mainline magazine photo editor, Tammy Kaley.

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