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It's Unity Through Diversity At This Year's Wide Open Walls 916

Thursday, August 10, 2017 | Permalink

Artist Okuda San Miguel works on his mural at The Mill at Broadway. (@okudart / Twitter)


The Sacramento Mural Festival is back for its second year but with bigger plans and a new name.

This year's event is called Wide Open Walls 916 and takes place from Aug. 10 to 20. Fifty artists are expected to put color on blank walls throughout downtown Sacramento and other neighborhoods such as Oak Park and Colonial Village.

With 40 murals anticipated, this year's event is more than triple the size from last year, according to Warren Brand, the founder of the arts organization Branded Arts. Brand is also the festival's curator.  

Brand said the festival was able to expand because of support from sponsors and ambition from this year’s new management team. 

“We wanted to create the largest public art festival in the history of the USA,” he says. “There’s never been 40 murals in a two-week span before.”

Two-thirds of the festival’s artists are Sacramento locals.

“That is what’s so special about this mural festival,” says Brand. “We are absolutely embracing the local artist community.”

But the festival also features artists from Spain, New Zealand and other countries.

All artists had to apply to participate. International artists were selected based on the theme of unity through diversity.

He says the selected artists are a dynamic, diverse mix of people from every walk of life.

“Being in our state capital, we embrace all diversity and individuality,” says Brand. “That is a key to this festival, unity through diversity.”

0810WOWOakland WallPUrsula X. Young Standing In Front Of One Of Her Murals In Oakland / Courtesy

Part of the selection proccess involves giving input to building owners, who have their own sense of what they want to see on their building.

Brand helps the owners figure out which artist would be the best fit.

“We try to match the style of art with what the building owner wants to see,” says Brand. “We want everyone to be happy, but we also want to maintain the artist's integrity and authenticity in the piece...we’re not going to direct them to do something too specific.”

There will be walking tours, art exhibitions, community engagement workshops, and more, open to the public.

“It’s really all about embracing and engaging the Sacramento community,” says Brand. “We want people to be part of this.”

The map below shows locations of the murals. 


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