It’s a newspaper parking garage. It’s also an art gallery

Watch artists paint a Sacramento parking garage for Mural Jam

More than 150 artists came out to paint murals on the brick structure before an apartment complex is built on the site later this year.
Up Next
More than 150 artists came out to paint murals on the brick structure before an apartment complex is built on the site later this year.

More than 150 muralists and street artists descended Saturday on The Sacramento Bee’s parking garage for Wide Open Walls’ Street Art Mural Jam.

Artists, food trucks and loud pop music filled the top of the garage and surrounding sidewalks, feeling much more like a block party than an art festival.

A development group led by Sotiris Kolokotronis purchased The Bee’s garage in December 2016 for $5.7 million, according to an earlier Bee report. The art created will no longer be accessible when work begins on The Press, a 273-unit apartment building on the site. But the fleeting nature of the art didn’t make the opportunity any less exciting for artists.

“This was a great opportunity a few weeks ago when they said that The Sacramento Bee parking lot wasn’t going to be there in a few months, and they gave us the opportunity to paint here,” said Ten Blair, a participating artist. “Everybody has a different style and they invited everybody from emerging artists to international artists, so when you walk around you get everything. Street Art Global, pretty much.”

Blair, a Sacramento watercolorist and street artist, painted a green and purple nature scene on one of the garage’s brick turrets.

There was a heavy amount of Sacramento pride on display, from local food trucks to artistic homages to the city.

Sacramento artist Brent Patten and a couple of friends came out to paint a tribute to the capital city on one of the walls along Q Street. The mural featured the word “Sacto” with the Capitol building painted in the background.

Patten thought that the idea of Mural Jam was “awesome,” and said that he hopes to see more events like this in Sacramento.

While most of the Mural Jam artists were Sacramento locals, there were artists from all over the state taking part. Los Angeles painter David Howler drove to Sacramento on Friday and slept in his car after arriving at 2 a.m. Saturday so that he could participate in the event.

Howler heard about Mural Jam after following Wide Open Walls on Instagram. He was so excited by the citywide mural fest the organization put on this summer that he felt he needed to find a way to participate.

“I actually drove all the way out here to be a part of this one, just to get my foot in the door with (Wide Open Walls),” Howler said.

For Blair, Mural Jam and Wide Open Walls are doing an important service to the Sacramento community by getting the city’s robust art community out and visible to residents.

“The idea came from a need,” Blair said. “There is a need for Wide Open Walls, there is a need for open source walls to be painted on. People want to get out their messages and share.”

Emily Zentner: 916-321-1074, @emilymzentner