City Beat

Sacramento artists kick off mural project above popular gathering spot

“Bright Underbelly” will cover about 70,000 square feet beneath the W/X freeway in downtown Sacramento.
“Bright Underbelly” will cover about 70,000 square feet beneath the W/X freeway in downtown Sacramento. L/C Mural & Design

“Bright Underbelly” is underway.

Sacramento artists Hennessy Christophel and Sofia Lacin addressed a gathering of supporters and media Thursday morning to formally announce the launch of the massive mural under the W-X freeway. Joined by their artistic consultant, Tre Borden, the artists said they intend to begin painting the freeway underpass above the site of the Sunday farmers market in early October and finish the 70,000-square-foot artwork by December.

The inspirations for the mural were the sycamore trees that once stood where the freeway was built. The mural, Christophel said, will “restore something that was lost here.”

The freeway support pillars have already been painted a series of bright blues, oranges and greens to reflect the seasons of the year. The artists chose the spot because it is above one of the city’s largest – if not the largest – regular gathering places.

“We see art as an essential tool in connecting people and places,” Christophel said.

Artwork like Bright Underbelly, Lacin said, exists to “awaken and energize you in your daily life.”

Lacin and Christophel are among the most active public artists in Sacramento. They’ve painted large murals in midtown, downtown and Davis.

Borden said he and the artists raised $110,000 for the work, including a $50,000 donation from the California Endowment, a foundation that promotes health initiatives.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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