Magazine article Sunset

Indoor-Outdoor Art Strolling in Sacramento's Capitol District

Magazine article Sunset

Indoor-Outdoor Art Strolling in Sacramento's Capitol District

Article excerpt

"The growth in public art is just one sign of Sacramento's developing cultural identity," observes Philip Hitchcock, chairman of the art department at California State University at Sacramento. "The city's art-buying program is supporting new, young artists, so it has a vitality and sense of daring that more established programs may lack."

In 1979, the city passed an ordinance allocating 2 percent of construction costs for buildings and parks on redevelopment land to go toward the purchase of public art. Results so far are impressive, both in numbers and quality. The downtown area now offers an abundance of contemporary murals, fountains, outdoor sculpture.

You can see more than a dozen works on a 19-block walking tour in the capitol district; numbers in the text key to map locations. An open-air "tram" can take you part of the way. Along the route, you'll pass a few of the newer state government buildings--some of which are striking, almost sculptural themselves. Starting point: a Victorian mansion

A good place to begin your walk is the Crocker Art Museum, a graceful 114-year-old Italianate house on O Street between Second and Third (1). The permanent sculpture collection alone is worth a visit, with works by Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly, and others. On the museum grounds stands Osaka, a 35-foot bronze by Peter Voulkos. Admission is $1, 50 cents for seniors and students. Hours are 2 to 10 Tuesdays, 10 to 5 Wednesdays though Sundays. You'll find plenty of free parking.

Across the street in a tree-shaded park is Wind Shear, an aluminum work by James DeVore. Picnic tables here are inviting.

Walk northeast to Third and Capitol Mall to the stunning new Capitol Bank of Commerce Building (2), with its exterior of aquamarine glass. A sculpture fountain by David Von Schlegell is due to be installed this fall.

Continue on Third to the three-story parking garage on L Street (3). On its east wall, you'll see Metamorphosis by Centro de Artistas Chicanos, a Sacramento-based art group. It's a three-story mural depicting the emergence of a vivid butterfly, man, Aztec gods, and the cosmos. A ceramic mural by Peter Vandenberge adorns the mall side of the garage; Fred Ball's four-tiered enamel mural The Way Home covers the Third Street side.

On the K Street Mall just beyond the garage is the dramatic Indo Arch (4), by Gerald Walburg. This 40-foot-high steel portal frames the entrance to the K Street pedestrian mall and nearby fountains. …

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