Sacramento’s art scene heats up with Second Saturday, regional exhibits

Haley Titus’ liquid acrylic paintings will be on display at the Fort Sutter Hotel in Midtown during the July Second Saturday art walk. (Photo courtesy of Susan Yee)

By Marie-Elena Schembri

While things are heating up outside, Sacramento’s visual art scene brings a different kind of heat with a vibrant mix of exhibitions, receptions and special events. This guide will clue you in on what’s happening and where, with info on art events across the region.

Second Saturday 

Every second Saturday of the month, several neighborhoods in Sacramento come alive with exciting art exhibits, live music and interactive activities. July is no different, with dozens of opportunities to see and participate in local art.

Midtown is a popular Second Saturday spot for good reason. Packed with dozens of activities, shops, vendors, food, music and an art walk from sunup to sundown, Midtown Association’s Second Saturday, presented by Sutter Health, draws a crowd each month from May to October. 

Family-friendly fun takes place during the day with live art demos, a DJ, Latin dance lessons, a community graffiti wall (in collaboration with artist Gabriel Lopez), a lowrider car show by Sacramento Lowrider Commission and a pop-up art exhibit by Sacramento Valley Spark artists. Activities continue into the  afternoon and evening, with a curated art walk that includes galleries, music venues, art studios, restaurants and other public spaces. 

Sacramento artist Haley Titus is one of July’s featured artists, with an exhibition at the Fort Sutter Hotel. Titus creates landscapes and vibrant, floral-inspired art using liquid acrylic and canvas, and also makes hand-painted objects like wallets and coasters. She paints murals in her signature bright and cheerful color palette, while her landscape paintings evoke a more natural, soothing palette.

“I feel like when I make canvases for people’s homes, I like to go a little more neutral and calm to bring that type of energy into those spaces. And then when I’m doing murals, I like to have a more energetic approach,” Titus said. “Oftentimes, I am activating spaces that are for children or offices where they want a lot of color and energy. So I like the juxtaposition of having those two different ways of working with my art.”

Second Saturday is a day-long event featuring art exhibits, live music, pop-up street markets and live, interactive art experiences in Midtown Sacramento. (Photo courtesy of Midtown Association)

In addition to art, live music performances will take place throughout the day, as this month’s event is billed as “Live Music Venue Day,” giving attendees a chance to cool off indoors while enjoying music by Ci Washington, Push To Feel, DJ Klean and more.

Additional live music will take place at locations along the art walk path, along with a pop-up musical instrument petting zoo hosted by Bigger Than Us Arts. The Sacramento Mandarins drumline will perform outdoors from 6-7 p.m.

The event will include a street market featuring local creators on 20th Street from J to K streets hosted by World’s Worst Expo and a kid-and-pet-friendly block party with live music, food and more vendors on 24th and K Streets hosted by Kulture. For those looking to burn the midnight oil, after-parties will be held at several locations including Barwest, Der Biergarten, Faces Nightclub, Mango’s, The Cabin, and The Golden Bear. For the entire list of events, maps and art walk information, visit

Second Saturday events will also take place downtown with a reception at ARTHOUSE Gallery and at WAL Public Market Gallery on R Street, and in Natomas.

Pence Gallery

Pence Gallery in Davis will showcase art from throughout the region at its 12th annual “Slice” exhibit, opening Friday, July 12. With sculptor and Sacramento State professor Robert Ortbal at the helm as juror, this show features a diverse selection of 45 works spanning various 2D and 3D mediums. 

“Coiffure” by Oakland artist Shelley Gardner is one of 45 artworks from regional artists to be featured in the upcoming “Slice” exhibit at Pence Gallery in Davis. (Photo courtesy of Pence Gallery)

With the addition of 15 more pieces than previous years, Ortbal and Pence Gallery curator and director Natalie Nelson are taking a new approach to the installation that highlights both Ortbal’s distinct artistic vision and the rich tapestry of the region’s talented artists. While the show had not yet been installed at the time of this interview, Ortbal talked about his vision for the exhibition.

“There’ll be a dense cluster over here, and there might be a discrete piece or two that’s very small with a lot of real estate around. I don’t know yet,” Ortbal said. “But those are kinds of moves that I like to do because it then provides a cadence for the show that I find is less predictable. And through that, it opens up the audience to something different, hopefully something more.” 

Ortbal hopes the uncommon arrangement is as exciting for the artists as it is for gallery visitors. “Hopefully, then they might see their work put in concert with two or three others, and maybe that conversation will be something that they’d never thought of before.”

“I always have a strong belief that by successfully juxtaposing seemingly different things, one can be awakened. And I just believe in that,” Ortbal added. A reception will be held on July 12 from 6-9 p.m. with an award ceremony at 8 p.m.

Also at the Pence Gallery on July 12, a reception will be held for both “Exhibit It!,” a non-juried community art exhibit, and “chromavista,” an exhibit of Sacramento artist Jaya King’s vibrant and highly textured acrylic landscape paintings. King will also give an artist talk on Saturday, July 27, from 3-4:30 p.m. The event is free but a $10 donation is suggested. 


Ongoing exhibitions of note include Crocker Art Museum’s “Denying Gravity: Woods Davy and the Assembly of Stones,” which features Venice-based environmentalist Woods Davy’s meticulously balanced sculptures made of found stone and coral. The exhibit is open through Aug. 11.

Nonprofit art center Atrium 916 in Old Sacramento is hosting “Island Girl Art,” an exhibit of colorful floral paintings and handmade upcycled jewelry by artist Rhean Goodgame. Goodgame’s work is infused with tropical vibes and sustainability, inspired by her upbringing on the Caribbean Island of Tobago. The exhibition runs through Sunday, July 28.

This story was funded by the City of Sacramento’s Arts and Creative Economy Journalism Grant to Solving Sacramento. Following our journalism code of ethics and protocols, the city had no editorial influence over this story and no city official reviewed this story before it was published. Our partners include California Groundbreakers, Capital Public Radio, Outword, Russian America Media, Sacramento Business Journal, Sacramento News & Review, Sacramento Observer and Univision 19.

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