Arts & Theater

Sacramento Mural Festival brings art out in the open

A drab parking lot on K Street turned into one of the more colorful places in midtown Sacramento on Sunday as the weeklong Sacramento Mural Festival began.

An artist perched on a scaffold seemed to make a figure’s larger-than-life arm appear from a concrete wall painted white, like a blank canvas. On the other side of the building, creamy orange flowers bloomed from another artist’s brush beneath the outline of a 40-foot-tall woman. Small groups of people strolling by stopped to watch the artists paint.

Similar scenes will be happening across downtown and midtown this week as part of the mural festival, presented by the nonprofit Friends of the Arts Commission.

Individual artists are painting murals at a dozen public places, where anyone can walk up and watch. The idea behind the festival is to connect Sacramentans with art and working artists in real time, says Shelly Willis, executive director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

“Most artists are in the studios making their paintings, or making their sculptures, and then they bring their completed work to a museum or a gallery to show,” Willis said. “So you don’t see their hand (at work) in it. You don’t have that memory of how that happened or how it developed, and the mistakes that they made. The way that they started in one place and ended in another place. I think that’s the beauty of this project.”

Nina Unger, who brought her 4-year-old daughter, Sloane, to watch the mural painting, said she appreciated the opportunity to see art created.

“It’s so fun to see just hands and hair now,” Unger said, looking up at Nate Frizzell, the artist on the scaffold. “Then I’ll take her (Sloane) back later so she can see when it’s completed.”

Frizzell, who lives in the Los Angeles area, said he relished the opportunity to come to Sacramento and paint for an audience. Murals, he said, have become one of his favorite art forms.

“I like the interactiveness with it,” he said. “I like how it’s way more accessible. The art comes to you. I like that you might not even know it’s there, and you can turn the corner and see something you love, hopefully.”

Organizers say proceeds from the Sacramento Mural Festival will benefit arts education. The festival culminates with Saturday’s ArtJam 2016, the signature fundraising event for the Friends of the Arts Commission.

For more information and locations of the murals, visit

Sacramento Mural Festival

More than a dozen artists will transform city walls and public spaces into works of art.

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 20 through Aug. 27

COST: Free to watch the artists create. An “ArtJam” closing party and fundraiser will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 27 at 2015 L St., Sacramento which includes food and art installations; $100, $175 per couple.


Sacramento Mural Festival murals map 


  • 1. 5th and J streets (artist: Kristin Farr)
  • 2. 10th and K streets (artist: Jake Castro)
  • 3. 1108 R St. (artist: Add Fuel)
  • 4. Chinatown Alley, between C and D streets (artists: Dog and Pony)
  • 5. 1530 J St. (artist: Andrew Schoultz)
  • 6. 1730 L St. (artist: Risk)
  • 7. 2000 K St. (artists: Nate Frizzell, Irubiel Moreno)
  • 8. 2012 K St. (artists: Nate Frizzell, Irubiel Moreno)
  • 9. 2020 J St. (artist: Drew Merritt)
  • 10. 21st and Capitol (artist: Michelle Blade)
  • 11. 24th and N streets (artist: Alicia Palenyy)
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