NEWS | October 16, 2020

Local artists and Wide Open Walls bring the power of art to UC Davis Health campus (video)


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The UC Davis Health Sacramento campus has two new large splashes of vibrant color and artistic energy courtesy of local artists and the Wide Open Walls art festival.

“For people coming and going to the hospital, it creates sort of a portal that gives them a small respite from whatever is concerning them.”

— Jose Di Gregorio

Sacramento artists Ana Valentine and Jose Di Gregorio finished their multi-story murals on the health campus that were part of the regionwide 2020 art festival. This year, Wide Open Walls added more than two dozen murals to the Sacramento region streetscape.

UC Davis Health was a major sponsor of Wide Open Walls 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.

“Art makes everybody think, makes everybody wonder, makes everybody smile,” said Wide Open Walls founder and CEO David Sobon. “That’s the value of public art. It can reach people everywhere in the community, whether in an alley or at the UC Davis Medical Center.”

The creative process for Valentine and Di Gregoria was as different as their art – although both had the same goal: Use the public space given them to offer some of the magic of art to people around the medical center and in the neighborhood.

Valentine, who has a separate UC Davis Health connection because she used to work in a MIND Institute research lab, took weeks to recreate a version of her painting titled “Unity” on the side of the staff parking lot facing Stockton Boulevard. It’s an image of an open flower made up of birds.

“It’s viewed as a solitary flower from afar,” Valentine said. “But come closer and you realize it’s really all those birds together. That’s how many of us feel right now. We might feel alone, but when we look closely, we see we’re really going through this together.”

Di Gregorio, who also has pieces inside the North Addition Office Building, painted an original circular mural of bright geometric pattens in a few days. His work is on the side of University Tower.

“For people coming and going to the hospital, it creates sort of a portal that gives them a small respite from whatever is concerning them,” he said. “I hope it provides the public an opportunity to escape for just a moment and to get a little bit of relief.”

Wide Open Walls will provide at least one more mural to UC Davis Health, but no site, date or artist has been chosen yet.

Related stories:

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