Your Guide to Outdoor Murals in the Greater Sacramento Area
The Sacramento area’s art scene has taken off the last several years, especially in the public art arena. Vibrant street murals have been splashed on the sides of buildings, on the underside of overpasses, even along bridges and tunnels. Pops of color can be seen peeking above treetops and parking lots, alleyways and walkways.
Murals do much more than beautify an otherwise ugly stretch of urban jungle. Many tell a story, addressing societal issues such as the struggle for equality and the immigrant experience. Others simply showcase pride in the city and its natural surroundings through whimsical designs and color.
Murals, or street art, differs from graffiti in that it is sanctioned. Typically, business owners give artists permission to use their buildings blank canvases. Graffiti, on the other hand, is done without permission. For this reason, graffiti is considered vandalism, while street art or murals is considered a welcome civic improvement!
The Sacramento area has always embraced public art. Commissioned murals have long graced public-facing buildings, and for decades, private businesses have hired area artists to beautify their spaces. But never have murals been in the public eye as much as when Wide Open Walls launched in Sacramento in 2016. The annual Wide Open Walls festival brings together local and international artists to transform the region and promote the importance of art in everyday life. Most of the 130 murals are in midtown and downtown Sacramento, but some are found in Del Paso Heights, North Oak Park and even Rocklin.
In addition to Wide Open Walls, there are other organizations bringing art to outlying areas as well. In Davis, the Transmedia Art Walk is more than just a self-guided tour of area murals — by using a free app, visitors can scan the piece and learn all about the artist and the relevance of each piece. In Roseville, the Roseville Mural Project is bringing together artists to beautify Vernon Street and other areas of the city (please note: the project is in progress).
It’s easy to plan a self-guided tour of the Sacramento area’s best outdoor murals. While you can also find interactive maps via Wide Open Walls, the Davis Art Walk and Roseville Mural Project, we’ve put them all together in one handy map that includes all areas.