The mural magnifies the wonders of nature, with an Alice in Wonderland kind of landscape inhabited by a friendly 10-foot-tall snail on the prowl, a giant green frog amid a bed of flowers flicking its improbably long tongue at a passing dragonfly, a snow crane standing nearly two stories tall, a frisky squirrel amid ivy, ferns and blooming poppies, and an observant owl keeping watch on Roosevelt Park across the street. Inspired by native Sacramento Valley species, the mural complements the greenery of the park, which CADA previously helped renovate.
The eye-catching imagery complements the nature-inspired color scheme that refreshed the adjoining Somerset Parkside condominiums around the corner on Q Street. The mural project came about as Somerset Parkside was about to be repainted. Although Somerset Parkside is not part of the mural project, CADA worked with the condo HOA representing 75 homeowners to ensure that the mural would complement the color scheme of dark spruce green and rich earth tones chosen for the condos.
Karen Ulep, CADA’s marketing and creative services manager, pursued and earned a City of Sacramento Creative Economy Pilot Project grant, which funded a small of the expansive mural. Sacramento artist Stephen V. Williams designed the flora and fauna concept, with input from Sacramento art legend Gregory Kondos. Williams completed the initial mural design in June of 2018 and finished an extension of the work in February of 2019.
“Our goal was to create a vibrant and inspiring common space that the entire community could enjoy,” Ulep explained. “We at CADA believe that innovation through art is a creative way to bring together cultures and individuals, and to symbolize the uniqueness of our city. This mural is a point of pride for neighborhood residents and owners of businesses, and is a welcoming gesture to visitors and patrons.”
Work began in phases following the grant award in January 2017, and the monumental project was completed in August 2018. As a neighborhood enrichment project, the mural helps to instill pride in the neighborhood — and serves as an unmistakable geographic reference point. Just look for the big peering owl and the tongue-flicking frog, and you’re there.