The solid brick Sacramento Bee parking structure on 21st and Q streets in Midtown, Sacramento has been a familiar part of the local architecture for longer than I’ve been on this planet. When it’s demolition was announced to create room for new housing, David Sobon of Wide Open Walls decided it was also an opportunity to create a beautiful temporary art gallery. Even more than a community art installation, the space hosted an all-day live event on October 21, 2017. Artists and visitors would witness painting set to music with local food vendors and workshop opportunities for anyone who was interested in participating. Free to the community, the day was full of life and inspiration. Several artists tried their hand at a new medium using Montana aerosol paint cans donated from local art supply store Leave Your Mark Sac, and children as well as adults took part in one-on-one classes to create their own artistic contribution to Midtown history. Featured artists were pre-approved for a space on the wall, some traveling from outlying areas while most make up the booming local arts community in the Sacramento area. With too many to name, some include S.V. Williams, Molly Devlin, Pawn, Edan Foster, Jacob Lewis, Turilla, Rachel Cate, Douglas Kleinsmith, Matthew Hannickel, Unity Lewis, Glob, Asahi, Emer, Rule, Borg, Megan Flaherty, Brent Patten, Fisko, and Eric MacLaclan.
Event organizer Sydney (who was celebrating her birthday) asked me to create a hashtag advertisement for visitors and artists to connect with. While painting this, several people came up to ask for lessons.
My students were a woman named Wendy who, using spray paint for the first time, created a beautiful rose, a young girl named Naya who learned some fundamentals and painted her name, and another little young lady who painted her first flowers.
My final piece consisted of emerald crystals in a gust of wind from the mouth of a human skull painted in reds, which faded behind a woman’s face with long flowing hair created by Pawn. The brick was intentionally left as part of the background to merge the artwork with the space it was created for. The subject of death seemed particularly relevant so close to Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos.
The temporary nature of this free art display makes it the perfect destination for photographers and art appreciators alike to enjoy and cherish during this unique transition. Rarely can so many freely experience the heart of Sacramento history as it can be seen on 21st and Q streets.