By Rachel Wulff

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The fourth annual Wide Open Walls festival kicks off Thursday, but artists are already hard at work. Their mission is to promote and celebrate public art.

These murals bring in people in more ways than one. The artists used the cool of night Wednesday for their art to take flight.

“I think they add a lot to the area,” said one man staring at them from the street level.

These murals in the 1100 block of J street are designed to empower, inspire and transform lives. Micah Levine enjoys seeing them on his daily walks.

“When you make improvements to the neighborhood everyone is going to flock to it,” Levine said.

This one celebrates the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad and the role of Chinese laborers. The two next to it were part of the Wide Open Walls festival last year.

Organizer David Sobon says the goal is art for all.

“Making art accessible to everyone no matter what your income level is. You don’t have to go to an art gallery-an art museum,” Sobon said.

Taking blighted spaces and turning them into beautiful ones and creating landscapes.

“We’re sitting in an area that used to be an empty parking lot and now there are three gorgeous murals that have created a landmark and a gathering place for people,” Sobon said.

Sometimes the canvasses are large like the one on the side of the California Automobile Museum on Front Street.

“This will light it up and it will be rad looking,” said Bruce Gossett. “This is a tribute to the early hot-rodders and customizers in Sacramento.”

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Other canvasses are small and irregular like the grain hopper at the Mill on Broadway.

“Being that it is sort of geometric in nature. I am creating the illusion on sort of a gem,” Jose Di Gregorio said.

There are 50 artists participating in this year’s festival. All will be paid for their work. But the true value is the lasting imprint these pieces have on the places where people live.

“Every little bit helps,” said Levine.

Wide Open Walls officially kicks off with Thursday on Front Street. The festival lasts 11 days.


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