Having experienced street art festivals over the course of 12 years, there is one great result that always seems to happen, especially in cities who don't have the benefit of NYC's museum infrastructure or Florence's art history. So, we are talking about almost every other city in the world minus about six, okay? Yes, the organizers invite both international and local artists to paint murals in a community, and yes there tends to be a celebration about the murals as they all wind down and are completed. But what we love, and is the case with Wide Open Walls in Sacramento over the past few weeks, is that a good mural festival should remind and activate the community to look inward about the great artists that live amongst them year round, to celebrate the entire city's art's institutions just as much as the murals themselves. That is a good festival. And that is what made Wide Open Walls a good festival in 2018.
Curated by Branded Arts and produced by David Sobon, Juxtapoz spent a few days in Sacramento, doing what we do at these festivals: jumping from mural to mural, talking to the artists and organizers, catching a bit of the mood of the town in the meantime. But what we always try and do, when we are not looking at the Pixel Pancho, Kristin Farr, How Nosm or Shepard Fairey murals that are now all over Sacramento thanks to the festival, is check in with local artists and other art "places" in the city, too. Because really, that is what it's all about. It should not just be about a mural festival, but it should be activating all the arts groups for the other 358 days or so that people in town will seek out art. So go check out Apex's new mural, and then perhaps go to the Crocker Museum. Or Verge Center for the Arts. Hell, go check out the Jeff Koons sculpture in front of the Golden 1 Center!
The way Sabon created the festival allows for ease of understanding and moveability throughout the town, where going from one mural to the next lets you create a story about how the city and art interact. We like that. But mostly, we encourage people to explore all the art in their town. Mural festivals, especially nowadays, are the seeds that get a younger generation involved and interested in the arts. Hopefully that encourages everyone to then seek out all the artists and groups in their cities for the entire year. —Juxtapoz
All photography by Mike Stalter for Juxtapoz