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Artists Take Over Abandoned Hotel In Downtown Sac

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Artist Chris Hopkins (left) leans against the entrance to the "Art Hotel," the show's curator, Seamas Coutts, looks down the street on Feb. 5, opening day of the temporary art installation.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The sound of construction is unavoidable on 7th street between L and Capitol in Downtown Sacramento. The shiny new arena rises above the streets, while surrounding hotels and office buildings are brought to ruins.

One building slated for demolition is the historic Jade Hotel. Before the bulldozers go to work early this spring, more than 100 artists have filled all five stories with art installations. The Art Hotel opens tonight and runs until Saturday, Feb. 13.

Designer and artist Chris Hopkins worked on the Art Hotel. He explained even though it took a month to construct and will only be on display eight days, the project is still a great payoff for the artists.

“There were no rules, you just got to go into a hotel and do. You could tear up floors and tear down walls and paint wherever you wanted and do whatever you wanted,” says Hopkins.


Artist Andrew Taggart built a skateboard ramp in a studio apartment for a kinetic painting installation at the "Art Hotel" Feb. 5. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio


One whole first-floor apartment (the living room, hallway, kitchen) was turned into a mini skate park. Skaters ride around the installation during the exhibit. At night, surrounding buildings are taken over by projected art pieces. On the second floor a giant figure of wooden pieces bursts from the floorboards, his leg protruding from the ceiling of the next room. Shaun Burner and Franceska Gamez collaborated on the artwork.

“It’s a wood sculpture made from recycled material, a lot of it came from the building itself and also from a bank down the street that was being renovated. It’s kind of playing with some dimension and some space,” says Burner.


A collaborative installation between Shaun Burner and Franceska Gamez made entirely out of recycled wood, mostly wood from the hotel itself. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Cathy Kleckner is a co-curator of the project. She explains why most artists didn’t sign their work.

“It’s more about bringing the art outside of the gallery or the museum and really bringing it into a space that’s all about the creation, it’s not about the sale or the marketing of it,” explains Kleckner.

She says the organizers, M5Arts, raised enough for the artists to each receive a stipend. The space and many of the materials were donated and local restaurants brought food to the artists while they worked.

Despite all the work Burner and his team put into the Art Hotel, the building and the art will be gone after Feb 13th.

“Everything in life is temporary, we’re kind of creating an experience that hopefully you come see and if you didn’t you’ll have to wait for the next one,” says Burner.

In addition to the visual installations, the Hotel will feature musical performances, poetry readings and short films. Space is limited, only about 60 people can go through at a time. Admission is free. More information is available at m5arts.com.

Less Jaded: Sounds Of The Art Hotel

Drew Walker spent a few days at the Jade Hotel recording sounds and interviews. He talked with Cindy Ajay the granddaughter of the man who built the building. She lived in the hotel in the 1960s and 1970s. He also spoke with Bruce Presley, the long-time caretaker of the building, who still lives there today -- his is the one room you can't go into.

Walker then selected songs from Sacramento artists and pulled together all his audio to create this playlist as a way to "memorialize the building and the community."


Melody Stone

Former Interactive Producer

After working in newspapers and doing print journalism for years, Melody transitioned into digital marketing and design. With a healthy blend of journalistic and digital media skills she builds out interactive web stories for Capradio.org.  Read Full Bio 

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