More than murals, Wide Open Walls is a sign Sacramento has finally arrived

Most days, the tree-lined midtown streets near The Sacramento Bee are quiet and predictable. In other words, boring. But on Friday, as the clock ticked toward noon, four young men piled out of “I Love Teriyaki” and craned their necks to get a look at the humongous bear that Raphael Delgado was painting on a building across the street.

Standing on scaffolding high above Jalapeños, the kind of hearty, but no-frills restaurant that Sacramento was once known for, Delgado wiped his face and stared back.

The young artist is among some 50 local and international artists taking part in Wide Open Walls, a mural festival that got under way last Thursday and runs through Aug. 20. Organized by art auctioneer David Sobon, it’s a sequel to last year’s Sacramento Mural Festival, which led to about a dozen new murals downtown and in midtown.

This year, there will be dozens more. In addition to Delgado’s California bear, a rendition of which is on this year’s official Republic FC scarf, artists have started slathering paint on walls along the R Street corridor and in the midtown Handle District. Other murals have started to take shape along Improv Alley between Seventh and Eighth streets; one will span the entire block.

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