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Wide Open Walls: The Impact of Street Art in Sacramento

  • Beatnik Studios 723 S Street Sacramento, CA, 95811 United States (map)

Listen to the podcast of this discussion.

Scheduled for August 10-20, 2017, Wide Open Walls (WOW) is the official name for Sacramento's annual mural festival, now in its second year. During those 11 days, 50 artists from 12 countries will be painting 40 individual surfaces, from small-business walls and back-street alleys on the Grid to silos and water towers in the suburbs.

When they look around Sacramento, what will catch their eye? When they put down their brushes and paint-sprayers, what will they leave behind for us?

Street art is a big deal around the globe -- think Montreal with its own famous Mural Festival, Wynwood Walls in Miami, San Francisco's Mission District, the super-charged art of the "Troubles" on the Peace Wall in Belfast. And, of course, Banksy.

Sacramento is the capital of the (currently) 5th largest economy in the world. So is it our time to join the ranks of international cities known for their colorful, vibrant street-art scenes and communities? If so, what should those look like? What images should be on those walls? Who decides what they should be and where they should go? And how do the non-painters of us living here figure into creating a world-class street-art scene in Sacramento?

* Raphael Delgado, a Sacramento artist who recently returned from a residency in Montreal, home to the largest street art festival in North America -- his WOW mural is at Jalapeno's on 21st Street
* David Sobon, founder and producer of Wide Open Walls, and a member of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission
* Mike Testa, the brand-new CEO of Visit Sacramento, the city's convention and visitors bureau, which is a big sponsor of Wide Open Walls
* Demetris "BAMR" Washington, a Sacramento-based artist who has painted more than 20 murals throughout the city