Support Sacto’s artists

This week’s SN&R features two stories that overlap tragically.

The first is the cover feature previewing the Wide Open Walls festival. I’m told it is the biggest art event to happen here in quite some time—and arguably one of the most important.

Key among its virtues is the inclusion of so many local artists, something that did not happen in last year’s inaugural festival.

Waylon Horner, who has been making large-scale paintings in Sacramento for the past decade, is one of 23 local muralists participating in the festival. They will be joined by 27 visiting artists, among them superstars in the world of contemporary public art.

This will be a breakout event for Horner, who taught himself to paint as a child and went on to receive an AA from American River College.

Unfortunately, Horner appears in a news story this week. In the weeks leading up to the WOW fest, while he was preparing for his biggest artistic challenge to date, the young painter was forced to evacuate his studio. For the past couple of years, he’d worked along with a couple dozen fellow artists in a warehouse dubbed Panama Pottery. They all lost their workspaces when the city’s code enforcement division found the place to be unsafe.

Talking to SN&R’s Rachel Leibrock, Horton uttered a simple truth: “Arts are becoming so important in Sacramento,” he said, “[and] artists need space to create.”

Amen. While we celebrate the arts during the highly visible WOW fest and appreciate the economic vitality that the local art scene helps foster, let’s commit to some serious efforts to really make Sacramento artist-friendly. Watch these pages for more.