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Take a Stroll

look high and low — artistic vision will be your reward

Dixie Reid

Go, explore, and look for Sac State’s public art. It’s out there, waiting to be found and enjoyed.

Spend any time exploring the Sacramento State campus and you’ll find public art aplenty, much of it by former art faculty and students.

For instance, Gerald Walburg’s corten steel sculpture Shankara reclines outside the University Library. Once you recognize his style, see if you can locate two similar pieces by this former Sac State professor of art. A little “inside art” trivia: Walburg’s 1978 sculpture Indo Arch, which stands west of the downtown Macy’s, was the first piece of public art in Sacramento.

Murals are the artistic billboards of the campus. One of the most beloved is Edward Rivera’s La Cultura, which has graced the front of Lassen Hall since 1968. He returned to campus 30 years later to restore his colorful creation. The late artist was a Sac State alum and a Sacramento police officer. 

The newest large-scale campus billboard is the Sacramento Mural at Sac State, painted on the north wall of Shasta Hall for the city’s 2018 Wide Open Walls Festival. A dozen well-known artists, mostly locals with fine art and street art credentials, spelled out S-A-C-R-A-M-E-N-T-O in letters 15 feet tall. 

The University Library lobby is home to a number of public art pieces, including Ruth Rippon’s fanciful “lolli,” her nickname for her “little old lady” sculptures. Rippon is a renowned ceramicist who taught at Sac State for more than 30 years and is credited with shaping West Coast ceramics into a contemporary art form. The Crocker Art Museum honored her with a three-month retrospective, opening in October 2017, in celebration of her 90th birthday.

A student favorite, possibly because of its anatomical nature, is Michele Alcantara’s steel-and-iron sculpture Delicate Balance, standing between Kadema Hall and the Roundhouse. Alcantara was the art student who won a 1998 competition sponsored by Sac State’s Outdoor Art Committee and the then-University Foundation. The story goes that Delicate Balance was to be replaced the following year by the next competition winner. But it’s still there two decades later, sometimes catching the attention of giggling schoolchildren.

So go, explore, and look for Sac State’s public art. It’s out there, waiting to be found and enjoyed. 


Dixie Reid


Dixie Reid has been a writer for Sac State since 2012 after decades as a newspaper reporter. A Texas native with the accent to prove it, Dixie is crazy about “dear friends, big dogs, good books, great food, day trips, baking cookies, California sunshine (and fog), and kind people.”