September 17, 2020

Murals from local artists and Wide Open Walls coming to UC Davis Health campus

Wide Open Walls, the celebration of public art that has spread original murals across Sacramento, will be coming to UC Davis Health with two vibrant, multi-story, permanent works from local artists.

UC Davis Health is a major sponsor of the mural festival – officially a Curating Sponsor; this is about art, after all – for the second straight year as part of the health system’s decades-long efforts to spread the benefits and joy of art throughout its facilities and community.

Artist Ana Valentine is recreating her work "Unity" on the side of the staff parking lot.

“Research shows that art can be healing. It has a comforting and uplifting impact on patients in our clinics and hospital, and it can have the same effect in the community around us,” said Brad Simmons, interim chief executive officer of the UC Davis Medical Center.

“Art can connect us,” he said. “It can make us think and feel. It can add a little beauty in our day, and we know that’s good for our patients and our community. We want to bring something upbeat, colorful and bright to our neighbors, our patients and our staff.”

Along with the UC Davis Health murals, Wide Open Walls will sponsor more than two dozen artists creating wall murals in downtown Sacramento, Midtown, Old Sacramento, Oak Park, on the R Street Corridor and on Del Paso Boulevard.

The festival is in its fifth year and organizers choose a group of artists to be included each new festival. UC Davis Health leaders chose the two artists from that list and the locations on the health campus with advice from the system’s art consultants, Beth Jones and Lynda Jolley, co-owners of JayJay art gallery.

The first to go up will be from Sacramento artist Ana Valentine, who is recreating her painting titled “Unity” on the side of the staff parking lot. It’s an image of an open flower made up of birds and smaller flowers and it weaves together core colors of rich purples and reds. Valentine has a UC Davis Health connection, as she used to work in one of the MIND Institute’s research labs.

Jose Di Gregorio takes a break from painting his mural on the side of University Tower.

The second mural will be from Jose Di Gregorio, also a Sacramento artist, who has a piece in the North Addition Office Building. It will go on the side of University Tower and feature bright geometric shapes and lines with colors traveling across a spectrum from yellow-gold to dark purple.

“We chose local artists who are part of the community and who reflect the diversity of our neighborhood and of Sacramento,” said Toby Marsh, the medical center’s chief nursing and patient care services officer. “We want to support our diverse community and to offer art that will connect to our neighbors as much as it does to our patients.”

There is at least one more mural from Wide Open Walls in the health campus’ future. It’s planned for the water tower at V and 45th streets. The timing and artist have not been decided.

Related stories:

North Addition’s new art connects to culture of the region and of UC Davis Health.

Art of Healing: The art collection of UC Davis Health.