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By Karen Nikos-Rose on April 29, 2020

Stories compiled by Leigh Houck, UC Davis Media Relations Intern

While coronavirus closures limit our activities, one can tour Sacramento’s Wide Open Walls murals any time. Why not get some steps in on your app and make a day of it? Read how below. And, read about a grant where would-be artists can apply to get funding to make their own murals in Davis with a community theme.

Day trip: Walk Wide Open Walls in Sacramento

If you want to see this public art, make sure to follow social distancing rules. Put on a face mask and take a careful walking tour, keeping six feet between you and other people. If this seems impossible, try a driving tour. You can enjoy the large, easy-to-see murals from the safety and comfort of your air-conditioned vehicle. 

Looking for a way to get some art and culture during this time of social distancing? Look no farther than downtown Sacramento, the home of a multitude of murals. 

Have you ever wondered where the murals in downtown Sacramento come from? You have Wide Open Walls to thank for many of them. The web site has a map and directions for how to get to all of them. Wide Open Walls is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote and celebrate public art since 2016. 

The organization holds a variety of public art events and festivals, most notably the annual Wide Open Walls festival held in August. Through these festivals, Wide Open Walls has created more than 80 permanent works of art as gifts to the region and 250 temporary works. 

With museums and art galleries closed, murals are more important than ever in bringing art to the people. 

Watch Good Day Sacramento reporter Ashley chat with the director of Wide Open Walls here.  

Watch local artist Raphael talk about his newest mural and the heightened importance of public art during coronavirus here

Are you interested in attending the next Wide Open Walls festival to watch murals take shape before your eyes? While the festival is usually held in August, stay tuned to Wide Open Walls’ website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information and a potentially rescheduled festival date. And while you wait, safely enjoy the murals already in place around Sacramento. I’m already planning to get my daily exercise via a walking tour — I might even take a masked selfie in front of my favorite mural. 

Tradition of murals in Sacramento

Wide Open Walls is not the first group to bring mural art to Sacramento. In 1958, artist Wayne Thiebaud painted “Water City” on three sides of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District building. According to an article by the Crocker Museum, the 250-foot long and 15-foot tall behemoth mural “Water City” was recently cleaned and restored in 2018-2019. Information courtesy of Wide Open Walls.

Grants available for murals, sidewalk art that build resilience

By Danielle Fodor, visual artist

A UC Davis alumna and artist, Danielle Fodor, has announced a new project to support struggling artists with mini-grants. These artists will then create sidewalk stencils and temporary murals to encourage compliance with public health measures and  build community resilience. 

The mini-grants support economically impacted visual artists to create new public art that promotes community health and resilience during the coronavirus crisis, and long-term environmental vitality and stewardship. Apply for a mini-grant ASAP or as a volunteer artist here. Applications reviewed on a rolling basis, starting April 30, and continuing through May 30.

Are you a professional artist who's been economically impacted by the crisis?

Are you confident making murals and large paintings and/or cutting stencils?

Do you want to help build hope, health, and resilience at this time?

This is a project employing both a) artists struggling economically, and b) volunteer artists who want to help out in solidarity. Artists must be from Davis environs or working in Davis.

The project has two components:

-- #healthisinourcommunity uses sidewalk stencils with hip, humorous health messages to promote social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and other smart stuff.  

-- #planforresilience uses temporary murals in parks and plazas to honor public holidays while reflecting on long-term resilience and planning. 

Read more about both projects.

Studies have shown that art makes public health programs more effective and impactful. All projects will be created while following public health guidelines including wearing masks, sanitizing hands, and physically distancing. #ArtsAreEssential

Got questions?  Ask at daniellefodor@gmail.com and 530-302-7143.

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