Art will heal you

Jack Nielsen, “Primary Belief,” powder-coated steel, 2004.

Jack Nielsen, “Primary Belief,” powder-coated steel, 2004.

If you’re looking for this new landmark, you can’t miss it: It’s a giant, 10-foot disc, tilted on its side like a coin balanced on edge, festooned like a stylized Aztec calendar in bright fast-food colors. The massive piece, by Jack Nielsen, occupies the southeast corner of Stockton Boulevard and Broadway at the new Sacramento County Primary Care Center; it’s part of a remarkable installation of public art at the new health-care facility.

Two foyers, one facing Broadway and the other on the building’s east face, offer entrance to the building; both feature swirling ceramic-tile designs by Robert Charland and Holly Curcio. Once inside, there are two floors. And along the clinic’s hallways and in its waiting rooms, there is an impressive array of pieces by Sacramento artists.

Some favorites: On the first floor, in a corner, a quartet of three-dimensional ceramic pieces by Viktor Verkavodov recreates the surface of a shallow, rapidly flowing stream, with fish swimming between the few sun-dried rocks that peek out from the water. Across the hall in the pharmacy is a series pf psychedelic interpretations of local landmarks—Philipp’s Bakery, the Crest and Tower theatres, Vic’s Ice Cream and Jim Denny’s luncheonette—by Paula Wenzl. Her husband, Joseph Bellacera, painted an almost mystical vision at the other end of the floor; it’s tucked into a tiny anteroom off a larger waiting room. Upstairs are a pair of evocative American folk-art Van Goghs by Oak Park artist Alan Blish, a set of three Hmong tapestries, some photographs of the backs of heads by Greg Kinder, a railing and paintings by Michaele and Kendall Le Compte, and a series of floral paintings by Joan Moment. There is much, much more.

In all, 29 artists are represented in what has to be, overall, the most surprising collection of public art in town—in a place where you’d least expect to see it. Or something like that. You can judge for yourself on Saturday afternoon, April 10, at a reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you never cared about public art before, this collection may change your mind.