Wide Open Walls (WOW) is the official name for Sacramento's annual mural festival, now in its second year. Between August 10-20, 2017, 50 artists from 12 countries are painting 40 individual surfaces, from small-business walls and back-street alleys on the Grid to silos and water towers in the suburbs.
When they look around Sacramento, what will catch their eye? When they put down their brushes and paint-sprayers, what will they leave behind for us?
Street art is a big deal around the globe -- think Montreal with its own famous Mural Festival, Wynwood Walls in Miami, San Francisco's Mission District.
As the capital of the (currently) 5th largest economy in the world, is it Sacramento's time to join the ranks of international cities known for their colorful, vibrant street-art scenes and communities? If so, what should those look like? What images should be on those walls? Who decides what they should be and where they should go? And how do the non-painters of us living here figure into creating a world-class street-art scene in Sacramento?
We hosted a WOW-focused panel on August 9, 2017, at Beatnik Studios, which showed work from every local artist participating in WOW.
* Raphael Delgado, a Sacramento artist who recently returned from a residency in Montreal, home to the largest street art festival in North America -- his WOW mural will be on the wall of Jalapeño's on 21st Street in Midtown Sacramento
* David Sobon, founder and producer of Wide Open Walls, and a member of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission
* Mike Testa, the brand-new CEO of Visit Sacramento, the city's convention and visitors bureau, which is a big sponsor of Wide Open Walls
* Demetris "BAMR" Washington, a Sacramento-based artist who has painted more than 20 murals throughout the city, with his latest one being for WOW and located in South Sacramento
* 0 to 1:50 - Intro to California Groundbreakers
* 1:50 min - "'Hey, I curate a gallery, come jump in my car!" - - The panelists introduce themselves
* 5:20 min - "It was nothing more than being inspired by walking the dog with my wife in the alleys of Sacramento" - Comparing and contrasting last year's inaugural mural fest to this year's WOW
* 11:20 min - "It's something that media will be interested in across the country" - How (and why) the City of Sacramento is supporting WOW
* 15:15 min - "They're so into what we are doing, so we have to dictate the trends" - How Raphael Delgado gets inspired, both here in town and outside the U.S.
* 19:05 - "They have something to say, so they use my voice" - How BAMR does his murals
* 22:05 - "We'd like to give everybody complete control, but we also have sponsors that need to be taken care of" - What WOW artists are told before they start painting
* 25 min - "It's 90 feet wide, 25 feet tall and it's filled with poetry" - Should Sacramento's street art reflect the city itself?
* 31:50 min - "Put us in the ring with the best in the world. We'll be all right" - What's the right mix of international artists and local artists for the WOW festival?
* 37:15 min - "We're going to go paint in areas that are not cool" - Incorporating residents and the community into WOW
* 44:55 min - "You're living in a dream world" - The artist/sponsor collaboration, and how that affects the final work
* 50:10 min - "Find people who are willing to push" - Cutting the red tape to get artists working more closely with businesses, nonprofits and government agencies
* 58:05 min - "It boosts the esteem of an entire community of people" - the political and economic impact of WOW
* 1 hr, 2 min - "Great ideas are only great ideas unless people take them off the paper they're written on" - When did this start happening in Sacramento?
* 1 hr, 6 min - "Suddenly we see not only Downtown and Midtown full of murals, but the entire region" - What the goal is after WOW ends on August 20