Comstock's magazine 0818 - August 2018 - Page 43

The mural outside American Market & Deli at 2331 N St. in Sacramento was featured in Lady Bird. It was painted by artists Shaun Burner, Blue One, the late Daniel Osterhoff and Miguel Bounce Perez. that’s not a road we’ve traveled down before,” Testa says. “For us, it was worth the opportunity, if nothing else, to sit down and work together. Not everything ends up the way you want it to, but there’s tremendous value in having the opportunity to try.” Borden and Ciel echo that outlook, both stressing that they are glad to see major institutions in the city wanting to work with the next generation of creators. “[Visit Sacramento] definitely took a risk. … It’s going to take 10 or 20 Mike Testas until we create an ecosystem where things like this can happen all the time,” Borden says. When Business Meets Street Art As executive director of the Midtown Association, a prop- erty and business-improvement district in the heart of the city, Emily Baime Michaels knows firsthand the benefits a thriving arts community can have on local businesses — and some of the challenges that come with supporting such a culture. The explosion of street art across Sacramento provides another (very visual) case study for how to approach them. Dozens of bold, powerful pieces have popped up on previ- ously blank buildings across the city, thanks in large part to efforts like Wide Open Walls, an evolution of 2016’s Sac- ramento Mural Festival, now entering its second year. The works can serve dual purposes: They create a sense of com- munity and, when done well, can benefit businesses, too. “Installing a high-quality mural certainly makes your building a destination,” Michaels says. “It’s a way to draw visi- tors and draw attention to the building.” But the popularity has posed some problems, too. There have been tensions between artists and landlords over cre- ative direction, frustrations over unfinished pieces and questions about who is responsible for upkeep once the work is completed. In response, she drafted “best practices” guidance to foster collaboration between artists and build- ing owners. Advice on the one-pager includes requesting a rendering ahead of installation and coming to an agreement about how long a mural is expected to remain on the site to avoid issues down the road. “Murals are an incredible amenity or asset, but in such a politically active city, people are asking how do you navigate that and also allow for the expression of the art?” Michaels says, noting that a mission-driven nonprofit and a bank likely have differing appetites for politically charged renderings. “One of the most important first steps is making sure you are on the same page with your artist’s style. If you want to have a beautiful mural, you need to allow the artist to install some- thing that inspires them.” August 2018 | 43