At the Heart of the City's Art Is Sac State's Bold New Mural
Ahmed V. Ortiz
"(It) boldly proclaims that our university is ‘wide open’ and not ‘walled off’ from, or at the periphery of, the city." - Dean Sheree Meyer
Welcome, Sacramento. Your university opens its arms to you – and in unambiguous terms.
Beckoning the community is “S-A-C-R-A-M-E-N-T-O,” a massive mural of 15-foot-tall letters, each featuring singular artistic visions by the 12 artists who created it
Covering an expansive west-facing exterior wall on Shasta Hall, it appears as a declaration of place. As the designated anchor mural for the 2018 Wide Open Walls Festival, Sacramento’s celebration of public art, it is a community-wide acknowledgement of Sacramento State’s status as an important part of the city and region.
The mural also was chosen to serve as the backdrop of the Wide Open Walls kickoff news conference on Aug. 9. Still in progress that day, it gained plenty of notice as the 10-day festival was launched by dignitaries such as University President Robert S. Nelsen, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and Mike Testa, CEO and president of Visit Sacramento.
Sheree Meyer, dean of the University’s College of Arts and Letters, says the mural – officially the Sacramento Mural at Sac State – does several things.
“(It) boldly proclaims that our university is ‘wide open’ and not ‘walled off’ from, or at the periphery of, the city,” she says.
Also significant is its placement. Shasta Hall houses the University Theatre, and the mural’s appearance on the exterior wall is a subtle affirmation, Meyer says, of how visual and performing arts are valued, especially at Sac State.
Dominique Garcia, a senior art studio major, says she believes attention drawn by the mural serves as a gateway to discovering the wealth of opportunity and talent, as well as the quality of stage productions, coming from Sac State’s College of Arts and Letters. “I think that’s really important in terms of creating community,” she says.
The mural quickly has insinuated itself into the tableau of the city as a popular backdrop for photos, selfie and otherwise, while attracting people to campus to view it.
“Of course,” Meyer says, “we hope they’ll return.”
During the Wide Open Walls Festival, the University’s artistic reach also stretched downtown. There, electronic murals created by Peter Williams, assistant professor of new media art, and seven students from his Beginning Electronic Art class were projected in the heart of Downtown Commons, aka DOCO, near Golden 1 Center.