All posts by taraingram

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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(1) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra_Theatre_%28Sacramento%29
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra_Theatre_%28Sacramento%29
(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra_Theatre_%28Sacramento%29
(5) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(6) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(7) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(8) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(9) http://www.artisticlicense.org/members/bauer/index.html
(10) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(11) http://www.seeart.org/murals/index.htm

Blue Trees ~ 13th & K

“Trees are the lungs of the planet.” ~ Konstantin Dimopoulos

Last week, Sacramento, the City of Trees, became the fifth ‘Blue Trees City’ following the lead of Melbourne, Vancouver, Auckland and Seattle. Artist Konstantin Dimopoulos’ created the Blue Trees Project to call attention to global deforestation, particularly of old growth trees (1). Locally, this living outdoor art project also highlights the value of Sacramento’s remarkable urban forest (2).

The Sacramento Blue Trees Project includes 20 mature trees along 13th Street between J and K, and 40 container trees that will be placed in different locations around town during and then will be planted at the end of the project (3).

The Art:

“The Blue Trees takes an urban landscape with which you are familiar and changes it for a brief period of time so that it becomes something unfamiliar, a strange environment.” Konstantin Dimopoulos

The vibrant blue is created with a water-based, non-toxic, biologically safe pigment. Blue trees do not exist in the natural world, and so, like pink elephants, Dimopoulos creates a surreal environment that startles our perceptions and delivers an image that we cannot get out of our minds (4). For Dimopoulos, the blue symbolizes a sense of the sacred as well as, paradoxically, a lack of oxygen; for without the trees, we would not have breath.

Colossal has some stunning photos of the Blue Trees Projects from other cities.

The Artist:

“Through my work I am striving to address global issues and provide a visual platform to effect change. So many universal concerns seem larger than an individual’s power of influence and I want to evoke in people the idea that we can all contribute to change in a positive way.” ~ Konstantin Dimopoulos

Konstantin Dimopoulos creates social art installations where “human or environmental actions… become visual references” (5). This visual reference creates conversation, and from conversation, change can occur. The “Writings” section of his website includes some inspiring and moving writing about public art. In one particular piece, he describes public art as a physical entity that occupies and alters space. He speaks of nature as the “ultimate creative palate” and that artists are to echo that and make it visible.

Sacramento’s Trees:

“Trees are largely invisible in our daily lives, and it’s not until it’s too late that we realise how important they are to us both aesthetically and environmentally. Each year an area at least the size of Belgium of native forests is cleared from around the planet.” ~ Konstantin Dimopoulos

Sacramento is rich in trees. We enjoy more trees per capita than any other city (except maybe Paris). This urban forest needs tending to be maintained and thrive. Issues such as diversity in tree species and age, planting space, tree size, pruning methods, and disease prevention pose significant risks to our urban forest (6).

Sacramento Tree Foundation is a local non-profit organization working on many levels to help create the “best regional urban forest in the nation” and they were heavily involved in bringing the Blue Trees to Sacramento. Their many projects range from Free Shade Trees to a Seedling Growing Program to training local Tree Stewards. There are many ways to volunteer with the Tree Foundation and you can become a member to help support their great work.

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”    Mahatma Gandhi

Title: Blue Trees
Artist: Konstantin Dimopoulos
Date: 2012
Media: biologically safe pigmented water
Location: 13th between J & K

(Support for Sacrament’s Blue Trees Project involved numerous local organizations including: Sacramento Tree Foundation, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of CommerceDowntown Sacramento Partnership, and City of Sacramento, Urban Forest Division.)


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1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9QoLZN4mec
2. http://www.sactree.org/news/81
3. http://www.sactree.com/pages/404?item=81
4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSiNq9LSNWQ
5. http://www.kondimopoulos.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Dimopoulos_LINO.pdf
6. http://sutterparkneighborhood.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Trees.Section1.Sacramento-TreeScape-1.pdf

Sacramento Education Events for Art (SEEART)

Sacramento Education Events for Art (SEEART) is a local non-profit that has partnered with neighbors, businesses and the City of Sacramento to create quality arts and education programs including: Midtown Murals Project, Arts for the Generations, Mural Project Kids summer arts program, and The Legacy Trees Project (1).

The Midtown Murals project has a goal of organizing 12 new murals to enrich the identity of Midtown Sacramento. They write: “This identity will focus on Midtowns’ rich history, cultural diversification and natural artistic beauty” (2). Midtown Murals is funded solely through private contributions from local sponsors. Murals include Uptown Market at 17th & Capitol, Office Max tile mural on J Street, Mt Diablo Sunset near 21st & J, and the Alhambra Sweet Dream mural near 25th & J.

The Legacy Trees Project was organized by artists who work together to rescue special trees that are being cut down from the wood chipper or woodpile in order to distribute large pieces to local woodcarvers.

“The Legacy Trees Project was nurtured into existence by the Sacramento Art community’s desire to uncover a deeper understanding of the beauty and importance of historic trees in the city of Sacramento, by repurposing dangerous, diseased and dying trees felled by the city and property owners into works of art.” (3)

A 100+ year-old camphor tree at 18th & Capitol was recently cut-down and the wood was rescued for artists and craftspeople but I did not see reference to whether Legacy Trees was involved or not.

(1) http://www.seeart.org/website/seeart.html
(2) http://www.seeart.org/murals
(3) http://www.seeart.org/website/project.html

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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(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBGvnOr4fOI
(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBGvnOr4fOI

Sojourner Truth ~ 13th & K

Update August 2014: Through the persistence and effort of community members and SMAC, Sojourner has been restored and is now safely exhibited on the main floor (inside) the Crocker Art Museum.

Update 1/15/13: I am dismayed to report that the Sojourner Truth sculpture was vandalized on 1/6/13. The sculpture was pushed off of the pedestal and broke in pieces on the ground. It is still unclear whether the sculpture can be repaired but Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and others are seeking every avenue to restore this wonderful piece. I’ve included a photo of the broken sculpture at the bottom of this post.

Nearly 7′ tall standing with dignity and a flare of her skirt, this unembellished but powerful sculpture is a testament to the woman who inspired her (1).

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) was a former slave who escaped to freedom and became an activist contributing passionately in the fight for abolition and women’s rights (2). Among many other remarkable events of her life she was the first black person to win a court case against a white man (3), and she once bared her breasts in a meeting room to silence accusations that she was a man (accusations likely stemming from her nearly 6′ stature and non-demure manner) (4).

The Artist:

Through her artwork, Elizabeth Catlett (1919-2012) also spent her life fighting injustices against African Americans and women (5). Targeted during the McCarthy era for her politics, she moved to Mexico and for a period of time was denied re-entry into the U.S. (despite being a citizen) (6).

In a clip of the video called, Sculpting the Truth, she says, “I admire things I think are true. I admire things I think are just.” The social implications of her work was always the primary focus of her art:

“I learned how you use your art for the service of people, struggling people, to whom only realism is meaningful.” (7)
“I have always wanted my art to service my people — to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential.” (8)

Some of her most popular works include: Malcolm Speaks For Us, The Sharecropper, Negro Es Bello, Survivor, Dancing, Two Generations, Black is Beautiful, Latch Key Child, Madonna, The Singing Head, Recycling Nude, and The Seated Woman (9).

At age 95, she completed one of her last sculptures, a life-size bronze sculpture of gospel legend, Mahalia Jackson (10) [Side note: Sacramento is hosting its first production of the highly acclaimed show, Mahalia: A Gospel Musical, through 9/23].

I think Sojourner would be proud to have been sculpted by Catlett, her sister in truth and justice.

 

Below is the photo of the recently vandalized sculpture (1/15/13).

sojourner

Title: Sojourner
Artist: Elizabeth Catlett
Date: 1999
Media: Mexican Limestone
Location: 13th & K


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(1) http://cityofsacramento.pastperfect-online.com/36991cgi/mweb.exe?request=record;id=E07395A9-92EE-4E3F-8575-108427269244;type=101
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sojourner_Truth#cite_note-Sojourner_TruthInstitute-3
(3) http://ehistory.osu.edu/uscw/features/people/bio.cfm?PID=79
(4) http://www.sojournertruth.org/History/Biography/BC.htm
(5) http://my.saic.edu/news/89312/In-Memory-In-Memory-Elizabeth-Catlett.htm
(6) http://elizabethcatlett.net
(7) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/arts/design/elizabeth-catlett-sculptor-with-eye-on-social-issues-dies-at-96.html
(8) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/arts/design/elizabeth-catlett-sculptor-with-eye-on-social-issues-dies-at-96.html
(9) http://jassed.com/visual-artists/contemporary-art/140-elizabeth-catlett-celebrates-95the-birthday
(10) http://jassed.com/visual-artists/contemporary-art/140-elizabeth-catlett-celebrates-95the-birthday

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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Ishi ~ 24th & Broadway

A wall over-looking a gas station parking lot is a surprising place for such a riveting mural as this one titled, Ishi, painted by Alex Forster (aka Cabrón). Cabrón was selected amongst a pool of entrants in a mural contest by the non-profit organization, Valley Vision, for the 16′ x 80′ external wall of their office building (which is next to the gas station).

The Art:

The contest called for a mural reflecting the Sacramento Valley, and Cabrón focused his piece on the history of the valley:

I wanted to do something about the past of the Sacramento Valley. The first thing that came to my mind was the Californian Gold Rush, the epiphany of the American Dream, which drew tens of thousands of people from all over the world to this area.

The clash with the Native American Peoples and subsequent permanent demographic changes that resulted from this fateful event in American/Californian history is best represented by “Ishi, the last of the Yahi”, who was called the last “savage” alive when he first emerged from the wilderness. (1)

Cabrón’s mural invites us into the story of what happened to Ishi, his tribe, tribes throughout California, and Native American peoples across the entire continent when Europeans arrived in mass numbers. It was indeed a “permanent demographic change” that deserves our willingness to face the deeply disturbing events that happened in the Sacramento valley and throughout the United States.

The History:

One hundred years ago in August of 1911, Ishi appeared on a farm in Oroville unable to speak English or a known Native language (2). He was cited for vagrancy and put in the Butte County jail, but was released when anthropologists from San Francisco were able to identify him as a member of the Yana trip in the Deer Creek region (about 30 miles north west of Chico) (3). Ishi spent the remainder of his life at the University Museum in Berkeley and then at the San Francisco Anthropology Museum (4). He developed a relationship with the anthropologists who were appointed as his guardians, Alfred L. Kroeber and T. T. Waterman, and through him, they learned the story of the decimation of the Yahi people.

The tale Ishi told was grim. The Yana peoples suffered the complete loss of their lands and way of life when the Americans came during the Gold Rush… Ishi used to refer to the time of the American arrival as ‘when the stars fell.’ (5)

The Yahi initially numbered around 400. Lacking firearms, they were destroyed by four raids by armed white settlers. On August 6, 1865, seventeen settlers raided a Yahi village at dawn. In 1866, more Yahis were massacred when they were caught by surprise in a ravine. Around 1867, thirty-three Yahis were killed after being tracked to a cave. Finally, around 1868, four cowboys trapped about thirty Yahis in another cave. (6)

While still a child sometime in the 1870′s, Ishi’s own father was killed in a village massacre. The boy and his mother escaped by jumping into a nearby river. The Yahi who fought to preserve their territory against unequal odds and long range rifles were slaughtered until only a remnant band of 40 or so remained. The survivors of this tiny band hid successfully for nearly forty years, undetected by the outside world.” (7)

The decimation of the Yani people is mirrored in tribe after tribe throughout the history of the Gold Rush and the history of the European migration across America.

The Artist:

Cabrón spent his first 19 years in Vienna, Austria. Since then, he’s been on the road often but always doing art; comics for awhile and then, in his late twenties, he shifted to painting (8). Eventually he made his way to Sacramento, and his gallery page on A Bitchin’ Space describes the back-story for that move:

Cabrón, being an old school cynic from Vienna, firmly believes in the power of irony and consciously decided to move to Sacramento, the “city of gold”, at the height of recession and job scarcity in order to be a full time artist. (9)

In an interview with KVIE, Cabrón speaks to his experience with creating public art:

Public art is so accessible for everyone, anyone can enjoy it. It humbles me too because then I realize the full extent of my work, that I actually can touch someone with a piece of art. that’s what I love the most about it – is the interaction with people. (10)

Valley Vision:

Valley Vision is an ‘action tank’ that is “dedicated to securing the social, environmental and economic health of the Sacramento Region.”

Civic leadership at a regional scale: Valley Vision is a nonprofit association of people and organizations working to secure the social, environmental and economic health of the Sacramento Region. Founded in 1994, we are an objective, nonpartisan “action tank” committed to regional problem-solving as well as impartial research for sound decision-making. We act as a bridge, uniting neighbors and organizations that together can make a real difference in our communities.

Title: Ishi
Artist: Alex Forster (aka Cabrón) (www.cabron.us)
Date: 2010
Media: Paint
Location: 24th & Broadway


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(1) http://www.valleyvision.org/work/vvlocalart.html
(2) http://www.californiamuseum.org/Ishi_100
(3) http://www.californiamuseum.org/Ishi_100
(4) (http://www.theespresso.com/2011/09/ishi-commemorating-the-last-of-the-northern-california-yahi-indians-a-century-later/
(5) http://www.theespresso.com/2011/09/ishi-commemorating-the-last-of-the-northern-california-yahi-indians-a-century-later/
(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yana_people
(7) http://www.theespresso.com/2011/09/ishi-commemorating-the-last-of-the-northern-california-yahi-indians-a-century-later
(8) http://www.abitchinspace.com/cabron.html
(9) http://www.abitchinspace.com/cabron.html
(10) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edyZWAEEqm0

Califia ~ 15th & Capitol

“Califia, the Amazon-like Queen of the mythical island, Califia, after which California was named…. She is a spirit of cleansing, mending, and healing. She is Yemaja, an African Diaspora deity who is the mother of all waters and the spirit of patient creativity.”

A beautiful description by artist, Alison Sarr, of the striking figure of Califia which stands in the foyer of the state building at 15th & Capitol.

The Art:

She is carved from wood and covered in oxidized copper. Califia herself stands about 6′ tall and with about 7′ of bundles on her head, the entire sculpture is nearly 14′ (1).

Susan Shelton also created a piece inspired by Queen Califia and, although it is a different piece entirely, her description of the piece resonates with my experience of Saar’s:

I see Califia [as]… encompassing powerful and enduring symbols for us as Californians—Abundance; Strength; Life; Beauty; Diversity, Stewardship–and I was inspired to create a piece that would be an expression of my love of California, and a tribute to the mythical Queen who graced our state with her name [and her blessings]…. Implicit in the celebration of these gifts, I think, is the admonishment for Stewardship. Queen Califia calls on us to nurture and protect our extraordinary California.(2)

The Artist:

Saar grew up in the LA area in a family full of art; her mother is a well-known artist, her father an art conservator, and her sisters are all artists (3). Her work is often highly personal, a critic once called her work ‘banal’ and in this video, she agrees with the critique saying that she is a mom and drives a van and her work often speaks to what she is struggling with in life, but, she says, “that doesn’t mean that we who are banal can’t have really truthful and wonderful experiences”. This quote by art critic Rebecca Epstein describes the nature of Saar’s work:

“Saar juggles themes of personal and cultural identity as she fashions various sizes of female bodies (often her own) that are buoyant with story while solid in stance. [Her works often embody a] balance of strength and tenderness, in form and idea.” (4)

Title: Califia
Artist: Alison Saar
Date: 2003
Media: Wood and Copper
Location: 1500 Capitol (inside the foyer)


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(1) http://www.eastend.dgs.ca.gov/ArtProgram/Alison+Saar+Sculpture.htm
(2) http://susanshelton.com/artist/Sculpture/CulturalIcons/QueenCalifia/tabid/110/Default.aspx
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_Saar
(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alison_Saar

Mt. Diablo Sunset ~ 2220 J

Anytime of the day, you can travel along J Street and enjoy a ”Marty Stanley sunset” on this large mural. Marty Stanley, a foremost painter of the Sacramento delta, was well known for his paintings of delta sunsets (1). The full title of this mural is, “Mt. Diablo Sunset as seen from Bouldin Island at the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers” (2)

The Art:

“I seldom paint the land. I always focus on the water. It’s all about clouds and reflections on the water” (3). Like this mural, Stanley’s landscapes were usually streched horizontally to convey the long Valley and winding Delta waterways (4). Sarah Rohrs calls his work a “sublime marriage of water and sky.” (5).

The Artist:

At just 19 and with no formal training, Stanley, a native of the Sacramento delta, made a decision to pursue life as an artist. In 1988, he opened the Levee Gallery in Ryde, which is on the Sacramento River about 3 miles south of Walnut Grove. Stanely’s body of work includes more than 400 original images of the Delta (6). In addition to the panoramic sunsets like this mural, his also painted much of the nature, architecture and history of the Delta region. He collaborated with Charlie Soderquist to create the book “Sturgeon Tales, Stories of the Delta.” I was saddened to learn that Stanley suffered from mental illness and in 2006 he took his own life (7). You can read more about Stanley on his website: www.martystanley.com.

The Place:

Two places are important in this story: the specific place the mural captures and the Delta as a whole, where Stanley spent his life.

Stanley’s website quotes him describing the importance of growing up in the Delta to his work as an artist: “I believe it was part fate that my parents moved to Isleton when I was only three months old. I was meant to grow up here in the Delta” (8). Stanley attributes much of his stimulation and growth as an artist to the small Delta towns in which he grew up. “Little did I know then, but that atmosphere was offering me the building blocks of my young, formulating mind. It was feeding the creative side of me. It nourished me — the people, shops and restaurants were really fascinating. It was all the fabric of my life, very rich and diverse” (9).

To capture the image of this mural, Stanely stood at the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers. The Mokelumne River watershed begins in the Sierra Nevadas just south of highway 88 and flows through Lodi until it meets the San Joaquin. The name Mokelumne is from the Plains Miwok peoples. The San Joaquin River is over 365 miles long. The river starts in the high Sierras west of Fresno and releases into Suisun Bay near Pittsburg (10).

The map below shows Bouldin Island at the “A” pointer which is near the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers. Mt. Diablo is in the lower-left area of the map to the south west of Bouldin Island, and Sacramento is near the top of the map to the north.

Title: Mt. Diablo Sunset
Artist: Marty (M.C.) Stanley (www.martystanley.com)
Date: 2000
Media: Paint
Location: 2220 J


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(1) http://www.seeart.org/murals/artistsh.htm
(2) http://www.pbase.com/southyuba/image/88778017
(3) http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20011223/A_LIFE/312239994″
(4) http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19921123&id=q4EzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KDIHAAAAIBAJ&pg=4409,2618935
(5) http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20011223/A_LIFE/312239994
(6) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15966245
(7) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15966245
(8) http://www.martystanley.com/right_nav/meet_the_artist/bio.htm
(9) http://www.martystanley.com/right_nav/meet_the_artist/bio.htm
(10) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Joaquin_River

State of California Sculpture Plaza ~ 7th/8th & N/O

Who knew? Sacramento has a small but interesting sculpture terrace in a promising but seemingly under-used park that sits hidden atop the roof of a subterranean building on the square block bordered by 7th/8th and N/O Streets. Three of five original sculptures (all installed between 1978-1986) remain in the park surrounded by grassy slopes, trees, and benches.

Untitled, Egalmah Series (1984)

The sculpture above was created by Guy Dill as a part of his Egalmah series and is inspired by the shapes of the Japanese Torii gate (1). The name Egalmah comes from The Epic of Gilgamesh and means Great Temple (2).

Untitled (1978)

This painted steel piece was created by John Mason in 1978 (3). Mason is known for his “focus and steady investigation of mathematical concepts relating to rotation, symmetry, and modules” (4).

Daimaru VIII, Open Circle Series (1984)

Michael Todd created this in 1984 as part of his Open Circle Series and it is titled, Daimaru VIII (5). In Japanese, Daimaru means “large circle” (6). Another site quotes Todd describing the symbolism of the circle in this series:

In Zen brush-painting, the circle is a master’s problem. It represents everything and nothing, and in so doing, the universe. The Daimaru series in my attempt to master the problem and express my small part in the cosmos (7).


Emit Time (1986)

The online Smithsonian Institution Collection documents two other sculptures that once lived in this park but are no longer there. Emit Time was a water sculpture created by Eric Orr in 1986. The Smithsonian site describes the piece as:

two triangular bronze columns placed very close together. Water is pumped to the top and then slowly moves back down the piece in a continuous movement of water and light. The base is a rock basin which catches the running water and recirculates it. The title Emit is “Time” spelled backwards and, according to the artist, the piece alludes to the relationship between nature and water (8).

Boulder (1983)

Boulder was an abstract geometric sculpture by Bruce Johnson in 1983 and apparently you could actually step inside this piece to touch the hanging boulder (10).

A large cubic Cor-Ten steel frame with smoked tempered glass panels, tilted on its corner. Inside the frame a large granite boulder is suspended on a steel rod connected with an eye on the upper end so that the boulder swings slightly in the wind (11).


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