Category Archives: Mural

Few & Far Mural ~ 24th & S Alley


A long stretch of blank wall on the CED building in the alley at Round Corners (near 24th & S) was brought to life last September by an all-women crew of street artists called, Few & Far (1). The crew, who flew in from numerous cities across the country to gather and paint together in Sacramento, created this amazing piece of work in one weekend.





The Art:

Few & Far created this mural with an animal rights theme, and in this video called, It’s a jungle errr day, you can see the mural emerging under the artists’ hands. Scroll down to the bottom of this post, where you can see photos of the artists at work.

The mural includes a shout-out to Ironla, the sponsors of the mural (near the monkey), and, looking carefully, you can find many other notes tucked between the images including a poignant, “Rip Gavin”. Check out the Few & Far site which has a wonderful panorama photo of the mural.







The Artists:

Few & Far is a a crew of women from around the world who skateboard and create graffiti/street art to beautify the cities and ghettos. They seek to build community through sharing art and friendships.

F&F connects women by creating social and artistic exchange, by showcasing art on the streets, on walls and in other high profile venues. Few and Far fosters and celebrates the power and expression of female graffiti and street artists. Importantly, Few and Far consists of a team of open minded, highly creative, cutting edge, dedicated women. (2)

Artists who painted this mural: Erin yoshi, Ursula Young, Jenn Ponci, Meme, Ksra, Hops, Reds, Agana, Dime, Merlot, R-Peezy, Megen Devine and Baybay-FNF Khonda TMD (#).












Big thanks to Kenny Nonymous for the shots below! He met up with Few & Far over the weekend the crew was painting and snapped some action photos.





Title: Few & Far Animal Rights mural
Artist: Few & Far ( including Erin yoshi, Ursula Young, Jenn Ponci, Meme, Ksra, Hops, Reds, Agana, Dime, Merlot, R-Peezy, Megen Devine and Baybay-FNF Khonda TMD
Date: 2012
Media: Paint
Location: Alley on 24th between R & S

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Desert Cactus and Prickly Pear ~ 23rd & K Alley

A midtown business facing a problem with frequent intruders on their back patio hired artists rather than security guards to resolve the situation. Artist Margaret Arnold painted and Steve Cook sculpted, and together they secured the 30-foot-wide patio wall behind Western Properties office (1).





The Art:
The three-sided mural was painted by Arnold and is called, “Desert Cactus” (2). The sculptures of cacti and aloe vera on top of the wall are called “Prickly Pear” and were made by Cook from rebar, nails, and saw-blades (3). Cook also built a secure metal door to replace the original wooden gate (4).




The Artists:

Arnold lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills. She paints primarily in oils but also does illustration and craftwork such as beaded skulls and decorated eggs (5, 6). You can see a large gallery of her works on her website, Russ Andris has a great photo of Arnold painting the mural.

Cook lives in Clarksburg and creates metal sculptures and furniture from cast off objects (7). You can see a gallery of his works on his webpage, and his facebook page.





Title: Desert Cactus & Prickly Pear
Artist: Margaret Arnold and Steve Cook
Date: 2013
Media: paint & rebar, nails, and saw-blades
Location: Alley side of 2318 K

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Holiday Inn Ceramic Murals ~ 3rd & K

The clay sculpture murals at the Capitol Plaza Holiday Inn were created by someone but just who remains a mystery. Ceramic artist, Stan Bitters, was one promising lead, but no record was found identifying him as the artist and he himself, via email, stated that he has never done work in Sacramento.

Regardless who created these works, reflections on clay work by Bitters give us insight into the Holiday Inn pieces.

“It’s not about thinking about the clay,” he says. “It’s really getting in there and manipulating it-mashing it and beating it-until it produces some feeling of wonderfulness, something earthy and textural.” (1)

In his book, Environmental Ceramics, Bitters makes a case for incorporating clay into architecture, not just as decoration but as a structural medium.





















Date: 1979 (#)
Media: Clay
Location: Capitol Plaza Holiday Inn on 3rd between J & K

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Spanish Fly Mural ~ 1723 J

Joplin, Hendrix, and Dylan. A simple and compelling mural by local artist, Pete Bettencourt, on the Spanish Fly Hair Garage Salon parking lot wall.




The Art:

Bettencourt’s imagery brings alive the expressive soul of these iconic musicians. The mural looks almost unfinished, and maybe more was planned, regardless, the open form with the use of few strong borders or edges draws me into the piece with curiosity in a different way than if it had a more finished look. We can see the early progress of the mural in this photo by Russ Andris.







The Artist:

Bettencourt is a local artist who has shown in various galleries, created numerous murals, and collaborated with other artists such as 2hERMANO, Skinner, and John Stuart Berger. 2hERMANO posted a video of a freestyle collaboration mural he painted with Bettencourt. One of the local murals by Bettencourt was inside the former Nine16 Skate Shop (now out of business) and I’m sure the mural has been painted over. Fortunately, Russ Andris captured a photo of the mural featuring Bob Marley and other musicians while Nine16 was still open. Here’s a video interview with Bettencourt from his March 2011 show in LA titled “The Political Paintings of Pete Bettencourt.”









Title: <unknonwn>
Artist: Pete Bettencourt
Date: 2008
Media: paint
Location: 1723 J

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Lily Moon Mural ~ 1115 21st

Thoughts of Van Gough drift through my imagination whenever I see this mural along 21st Street in the alley between J & K. Yellows, blues, purples, oranges and reds pop out of the black backdrop. Brush strokes in swirls, lines and dashes form a mountain lake sunset landscape, and, along the bottom edge, silhouetted figures do everyday things like kiss, take photos, and drink beer. Turns out these figures were inspired by the street people that the artist, Lily Moon, got to know during the three weeks she painted the mural (1).






The Art:

Quoted in a Sac State article, Moon said:

“It was three weeks of hell…. We were up there … painting in the rain. We had this crowd of homeless people looking up at us and talking to us and we really got to know the culture around us. Really if I think about street art, that was it right there….. Every little painstaking minute was worth it because of the people that I got to meet.” (2)

Prior to Moon’s mural, between March and November of 2011, three different murals came and went on this wall (3):
1. Running mural possibly by Shaun Burner, prior to March 2011
2. Mural by Raul Mejia, prior to Oct 2011
3. Hanami Salon mural by Chris, prior to Nov 2011




The Artist:

The silhouette figure on the far right (picture below) looks to be an image of the artist with her brush outstretched and color swirling from the tip. Russ Andris caught an actual photo of Moon on the scaffolding while she painted the mural.

During ARTober 2011, Moon was chosen as the Emerging Social Artist of the year in the Transforming Leaders award ceremony (4).

An artist profile page for Moon describes her as “…an artist, a clown of the underground, an old soul with a young heart sewn onto her sleeves. She truly believes her purpose for breathing is to create.” (5) Moon explores many mediums including: paint, photography, carving, sewing, and welding (6).







Artist: Lily Moon (Lily’s facebook page, Lily’s deviantART page)
Date: Nov 2011
Media: paint
Location: 1115 21st (on alley between J & K)

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CCC Mural ~ 1719 24th St

Fighting fires, building trails, planting forests, and building construction… this is the kind of natural resource and emergency response work that young adults do when they become members of the California Conservation Corps (CCC) for a year of service.




This mural was painted in the late ’90s by members of the California Conservation Corps on the CCC Main office building at 1719 24th Street (1). The mural faces the light rail station at 24th & R and Sacramento Press quotes Susanne Levitskey, public information officer for the CCC, describing the benefits of the mural’s visibility to young people on the trains:

“The mural not only showcases corps people, but it advertises what we do here,” Levitsky said, adding that artwork like theirs has become a tradition throughout the organization in California.(2)







Title: (unknown)
Artist: CCC Members
Date: 1997
Media: paint
Location: 1719 24th St

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Time To Wake Up ~ 17th & T

Letting go. Holding on. Waking up. Local artist, Shaun Burner, recently created this mural of metaphysical themes on the side of the Royal Market at 17th & T (1). Burner told Submerge that the open hand symbolizes letting go and the clutching fist with the oozing substance symbolizes holding on (2).

The Artist:
Burner’s work can be found numerous places around town including: Ancient Futurism mural, American Market mural, and Dimple Records mural.

He is involved in the artist’s collective, Trust Your Struggle (TYS), which is “dedicated to social justice and community activism through the medium of art” (3). Burner created an awesome mural in Guadalajara with TYS that incorporates the architecture of the building, including the window spaces.

Time To Wake Up seems like another part of Burner’s invitation to all of us for living life in creative flow:

Do the best you can with whatever you do. Don’t reflect on the past too much or worry about the future, but be present in this moment that is continually happening, and own that shit (4).

And PS…. with this mini-mural of Pat Morita around the corner (also possibly by Burner, 5), does anyone else see the resemblance to the Karate Kid in the main mural?

Title: Time To Wake Up
Artist: Shaun Burner
Date: 2012
Media: paint
Location: 17th & T

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Alhambra Sweet Dream ~ 25th btw J & K

The Alhambra Theater was built in 1927 and demolished nearly 50 years later in 1974 after voters rejected a bond measure that would have preserved the historic movie house (1). This mural on 26th between J & K is a remembrance of the lovely theater that once graced our city.

Wikipedia describes the Alhambra as the preeminent movie house in the greater Sacramento area during its era (2). The theater was designed in the Moorish style including a large courtyard and fountain (3).

The interior was lavishly appointed with red carpet, gold trim, and large pillars. It was located directly beyond the eastern terminus of K Street at 1025 Thirty-First Street, now Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95816, in the East Sacramento neighborhood. (4)

The Art:

When the beautiful theater was torn down, the community lost a piece of its past, and artist, Stephen Bauer, hopes that his mural reminds people of the treasures in our community and encourages people to take care of the community and their neighborhoods (5). The boy waving goodbye is a metaphor for many area residents who grew up going to the theater and experienced the loss most directly (6).

Bauer choose a fruit label postcard image for the background to reflect several elements of the history of the theater. The orange and yellow tints are indicative of the art deco-style of the theater and the entire design is also reminiscent of fruit label designs popular during that time. The citrus colors and theme also links to the old orange grove that grew on the north side of the building (7).

The Artist:

Bauer lives in Sacramento and is a free-lance wallpaper restorationist (8). A profile page for Bauer on the Artistic License site describes him as having “truly unique genius for historic design” (9).

While he was working on the mural, midtown residents approached him asking about his work.

“They were all excited about having that image here,” Bauer said. “A lot of younger people hadn’t seen what it looked like before.. I think the colors excited them, too. The wall before pretty much went unnoticed. I think the transformation was pretty dramatic to a lot of people.” (10).

Midtown Murals Project

The Alhambra mural was the inaugural mural to kick-off Midtown Murals Project, a non-profit organization that (at one time) planned to create 12 such community murals in Midtown “to beautify and provide a recognizable, positive identity for the area” that focuses on the “rich history, cultural diversification and natural artistic beauty” (11).

Title: Alhambra Sweet Dreams
Artist: Stephen Bauer
Date: 1998
Media: paint
Location: 25th between J & K

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Furlow Furrows Mural ~ 1716 L

“Things that crawl, bite, squirm, slither and cause serious harm; those are the things I dream about. Snakes, lizards, carnivorous mammals, birds, and insects with large mandibles are the most amazing organisms in my surreal world.” (Artist’s statement: The origin of my pathology)

And so we enter the surreal world of artist John Stuart Berger, local artist who “renders mutated organisms for your enjoyment!” Berger worked collaboratively with Dolan Forcier to create this expanse of mural spans a 200′ wall of the building that houses Old Soul coffee house and the Midtown Business Association.

The Art:

The sun is my favorite image in the mural. The quails emitting bright energy bubbles are kind of fun too. Russ Andris has a nice panoramic of the mural as well as some in progress images during the 10 days the mural was being painted. In this video interview, Berger talks some about the process and his meanings of the mural. He says; “I think we are kind of taking one of those bucolic nature scenes and turning it on itself.”

The Artist:

Berger’s day job is at the Short Center North where he facilitates art activities for people with disabilities (1). He has been drawing since he was a child when he began learning how to draw from field guides. Out of this and his zoology/science background emerged his style of crazy, rabid animals (2).

Operation Groucho:

Art can be fun and irreverent, like this mural and like Operation Groucho, which Berger was also a part of with the Badmouth crew here in Sacramento in 2006. Large Groucho glasses were custom-made to fit the disembodied head sculpture at 65th & Folsom.

This video shows the entire operation with glasses finally resting on the sculpture called “Matter Contemplating Spirit” by Stephen Kaltenbach. A News & Review article quotes Kaltenbach’s approval for Operation Groucho: “I’m sorry I missed it…. I thought it showed quite a bit of respect to the piece. Art is supposed to interact with people in different ways. Groucho is one of my favorites, too.”

Title: Furlow Furrows
Artist: John Stuart Berger with Dolan Forcier
Date: 2009
Media: Paint
Location: Parking Lot @ 1716 L St

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This is your city without public art

This is your city without public art.

This is your city with public art.

Any questions?

The temporary removal of 1,488 enameled tiles for a restoration project of the iconic public art mural, The Way Home, gives us a unique opportunity to see our streets as they would be if they were empty of public art. Thankfully the cleaned and restored tiles will be reinstalled later this summer, because that vast expanse of concrete is a bleak sight.

The Way Home, mural by Fred Ball

The contrast between the wall with and without art is striking, and the Delta landscape inspired mural becomes an even more welcome site against the alternative of bare nothingness. Another compelling invitation to pay deeper attention to the public art that is available all over our city and how it infuses our streets with creativity and imagination.

“Public art is one of the most important elements that define a city. Public installations echo the character and spirit of a time and place, and remind us all of the imperative need for creativity and imagination in our daily lives.”
~ Carole Feuerman

Title: The Way Home
Artist: Fred Uhl Ball
Date: 1980
Media: Enameled copper tiles
Location: Western façade of the parking garage on Third and L Streets

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