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A capital collection of public art.

Follow the trail of public art in downtown Sacramento

IN CALIFORNIA'S capital, you can park your car behind walls clad in multimedia murals, check out a library book at a sit-down sculpture, have a drink under a neon-painted ceiling. It's hard to turn a corner without interacting with public art.

Sacramento isn't the only Western city to legislate funding for public art into budgets for city or county building projects and private developments within redevelopment areas. But it requires a comparatively generous 1 to 2 percent of a project's construction budget, which with a recent building boom has resulted in a windfall of more than 150 artworks--approved through a process that requires public involvement.

To sample some of this art, we propose a nine-stop loop walk in the downtown area. Park at the Civic Center Parking Garage (on 10th Street between I and J streets; 65 cents for the first hour, $6 for all day), walk west to Third Street, then weave back east, mostly along the K Street Mall, to the Hyatt Regency hotel, part of a redevelopment area.

Enjoy an art-surrounded repast at Bugatti's or the Dawson Room, both on the Hyatt's main floor (take the elevator up to Busby Berkeley's for neon, ceramic masks, and etched glass). Or, grab lunch at the capitol cafeteria across the street, then stroll through the capitol grounds toward 15th Street to visit the Vietnam memorial. (To eat first, do our route in reverse.)

Here we go.

(1) The garage itself. Check the corner at 10th and I: it isn't quite what it seems at first glance. Roger Berry's Waterwall cloaks a pillar (and frames window cutouts) with sheets of recirculating water, providing a little break from the pedestrian routine.

(2) City Hall (915 I Street). If the Council Chamber is open, peek in to see Gyongy Laky's sophisticated Language Formation--assembled, believe it or not, from orchard prunings.

(3) Central Library (Ninth Street at I). The renovated and expanded library (open Tuesdays through Saturdays) is packed with art, inside and out. A free brochure provides a map with identifications.

(4) Plaza Park Towers (Ninth near J, adjacent to the library). Flanking the entry are reclining bronze cougars by Gwynn Murrill.

(5) Sixth and J streets. At the northeast corner stands George Rickey's hypnotic Double Excentric Gyratory II, its delicately poised stainless steel Ls slowly exploring the space around them.

(6) Fifth and J streets. Deborah Butterfield's long-bodied aluminum horse stands, like a winner, inside the Corporate Center's circular planting bed.

(7) K Street Mall at Fourth Street. Gerald Wallburg's freestanding Indo Arch was one of the earliest installations, and a controversial addition to the area.

(8) Macy's Parking Garage (exterior). Three murals adorn this utilitarian structure: Peter VandenBerge's ceramic composition fronts the mall's walkway, a Chicano collective's painted Metamorphosis faces Macy's, and the enameled copper squares of Fred Ball's The Way Home play with the light along Third Street.

(9) Hyatt Regency. Enter off L, between 12th and 13th. The hotel, built in 1988, is a virtual gallery of public art; the concierge can give you a list. Don't miss Fred Dalkey's paintings of local rivers in the Dawson Room. To return to your car, take 12th north to I and walk west.

Call the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission at (916) 264-5558 for more on other works and walks.
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Title Annotation:public art in Sacramento, California
Author:Williamson, Marcia
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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