Former Jade Hotel resident visits her old room inside Sacramento’s Art Hotel

Former Jade Hotel resident visits her old room inside Art Hotel

Sunshine Pruett lived in the Jade Hotel from 2001 to 2003.

Sunshine Pruett lived in the Jade Hotel from 2001 to 2003.

Corey Rodda is an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Wellspring Women’s Center, a drop-in breakfast facility in Oak Park. She created and curates the blog “Tales from the Heart of Wellspring” at

Sunshine Pruett once lived in the Jade Hotel, recently celebrated as the Art Hotel, where more than 60 local creators decked out the former low-income-housing spot in fleeting artistic splendor before it is demolished.

In one of the hotel’s rooms, a wooden sculpture of a man emerged from the floorboards. Many artistic works explored the heartbreak, loss and triumphs that played out within the walls of the Jade over the years.

Pruett recently revisited the third-floor apartment she once shared with her boyfriend. Its windows were darkened, and a video of a shifting cityscape was projected onto the walls. A tapestry of metal forks hung in the apartment’s kitchen—an exhibit curated by the Crocker Art Museum, its “Give a Fork” message intended to spark conversation about Sacramento’s relationship to food.

It was a modest living space, but Pruett says she was thankful for the roof over her head. Before living at the Jade from 2001 to 2003, she was homeless for two-and-a-half years. She also lived in transitional shelters at Quinn Cottages, a permanent supportive housing program near Loaves & Fishes.

Pruett called life at the Jade challenging. “Some of the people that lived there were alcoholics or addicts,” she said. “We made a little oasis in the middle of hell, so when you walked in our door—you know, we made it pretty. It was clean and it was a place of refuge and peace and happiness.”

But the Jade was home to more than just people. “It was overrun with cockroaches, mice and rats,” Pruett remembered.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was home.

During her visit, Pruett explored apartment suites that she had never seen before and noticed city views that some of her neighbors were fortunate to enjoy.

“There was one Mexican family a floor down from us. We never really met them, but I remember their parakeets, and hearing their parakeets sing, and they made a beautiful place in their little space,” she explained.

Thousands of people of all walks of life visited the Art Hotel during its one-week run. From its rubble will rise a 10-story Hyatt Place hotel, ushering in a new chapter in an ever-changing cityscape.

But old days and shifting sands are not lost on Pruett.

“I can remember visiting downtown Sacramento when I was growing up as a child,” she said. “And now, everything is gone. It’s just metal. It is all commercial.”