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Indoor-outdoor art strolling in Sacramento's capitol district.

"The growth in public art is just one sign of Sacramento's developing cultural identity," observes Philip Hitchcock, chairman of the art department at California State University at Sacramento. "The city's art-buying program is supporting new, young artists, so it has a vitality and sense of daring that more established programs may lack."

In 1979, the city passed an ordinance allocating 2 percent of construction costs for buildings and parks on redevelopment land to go toward the purchase of public art. Results so far are impressive, both in numbers and quality. The downtown area now offers an abundance of contemporary murals, fountains, outdoor sculpture.

You can see more than a dozen works on a 19-block walking tour in the capitol district; numbers in the text key to map locations. An open-air "tram" can take you part of the way. Along the route, you'll pass a few of the newer state government buildings--some of which are striking, almost sculptural themselves. Starting point: a Victorian mansion

A good place to begin your walk is the Crocker Art Museum, a graceful 114-year-old Italianate house on O Street between Second and Third (1). The permanent sculpture collection alone is worth a visit, with works by Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly, and others. On the museum grounds stands Osaka, a 35-foot bronze by Peter Voulkos. Admission is $1, 50 cents for seniors and students. Hours are 2 to 10 Tuesdays, 10 to 5 Wednesdays though Sundays. You'll find plenty of free parking.

Across the street in a tree-shaded park is Wind Shear, an aluminum work by James DeVore. Picnic tables here are inviting.

Walk northeast to Third and Capitol Mall to the stunning new Capitol Bank of Commerce Building (2), with its exterior of aquamarine glass. A sculpture fountain by David Von Schlegell is due to be installed this fall.

Continue on Third to the three-story parking garage on L Street (3). On its east wall, you'll see Metamorphosis by Centro de Artistas Chicanos, a Sacramento-based art group. It's a three-story mural depicting the emergence of a vivid butterfly, man, Aztec gods, and the cosmos. A ceramic mural by Peter Vandenberge adorns the mall side of the garage; Fred Ball's four-tiered enamel mural The Way Home covers the Third Street side.

On the K Street Mall just beyond the garage is the dramatic Indo Arch (4), by Gerald Walburg. This 40-foot-high steel portal frames the entrance to the K Street pedestrian mall and nearby fountains. It's been called suggestive and ugly by some critics, distinctive and original by others.

Detour west on K to the pedestrian underpass leading to Old Sacramento; on the walls, you'll see Laserium, an 80-foot-long, brilliantly colored mural by Centro de Artistas Chicanos.

No cars are allowed on the K Street Mall, a stretch of shops and department stores between 3rd and 13th streets. An open-air tram car (25 cents) runs continuously from 11 to 4 weekdays, 1 to 5 weekends: you can hop on to see more fountains and small sculptures for children's play mid-way up the mall. On two mall blocks, street work to prepare for a light-rail system should be finished by this month. Completing the round: works in marble, aluminum, lucite; a boulder to step inside

From K, head north on Fifth Street to J Streeet. At the Corporate Center (5), you'll find a striking aluminum horse by Deborah Butterfield; step back to view it from different perspectives. One block east, on Sixth and J streets, is a gently waving stainless steel sculptures, Double Gyratory II, by George Rickey.

Walk east another block to Seventh Street, then south on Seventh to look at some of the works gracing the newer state office buildings and plazas.

At Seventh and N, Visit a new sculpture terrace (6), with five sculptures and one mural. You can actually step inside Bruce Johnson's Boulder and set a suspended granite rock in motion. These works and others downtown were installed as part of the California Arts Council's Art in Public Buildings program.

Two blocks south, at Seventh and P streets, is a dazzling lucite sculpture (7) by Bruce Beasley. Titled Apolymon, it's the largest piece of cast lucite in the world. Beasley spent seven months hand-polishing it.

The Bateson Building, at Eighth and P streets, is a striking state government office. If you're here on a weekday, walk into the lobby to see the poignant Manuel Neri marble sculpture Tres Marias (8). At Ninth and P is a colorful Roy DeForest mural celebrating farming in the Sacramento area (9). From here, head west on P street to return to the museum.

Before you go, consider calling the Discover Sacramento Hotline for information on other museum exhibits, performing arts, and special events; telephone (916) 449-5566.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1984
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