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Citrus Heights Messenger

Mural in the Making

Jul 20, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Thomas J. Sullivan

Artist Jacob Lewis paints a mural at the Sunrise Village Shopping Center which was approved by Merlone Geier, the property owner/manager of the shopping plaza. Photo by Thomas J. Sullivan

Mural in the Making [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - A colorful new mural is taking shape along the full length of a beige concrete block retaining wall facing Uplands Way across from Boston’s Pizza in the Sunrise Village Shopping Center in Citrus Heights.

Artist Jacob Lewis, a resident of Tulare, and a fine arts graduate of Sacramento State University, talked about the mural between individual bursts of colorful spray paint on an ongoing project that’s likely to keep him busy through September. He’s working on the project part-time, also training to be a tattoo artist.

His completed mural will eventually wrap around both sides of the main block retaining wall, Lewis said. The wall he’s painting now wraps around a curved entrance to the plaza where a new marquee sign has been erected.

It’s too early to count the number of spray cans he’s likely to use for the overall project, Lewis admitted. The bed of his pickup truck was filled with a fresh supply of cans for just a day’s work.

Once that first portion of the mural facing Uplands Way is done, Lewis will start work on another mural on the reverse side of the wall which will face a new Milano Nail Salon that will open in mid-2024.

“I’m still finalizing the design for that phase of the mural project and those murals on the lower retaining walls,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ mural design and color choices for the project were approved by Merlone Geier, the property owner/manager of the shopping plaza.

“I’m collaborating with (Merlone-Geier’s) property manager Tiffany Clement in the approval and design of the murals and the specific themes they address,” Lewis said.

Lewis especially wanted to recognize a fellow Tulare resident, Layla Splawn, a commercial real estate broker who recommended his mural work to Merlone-Geier for their consideration.

“I’m excited to be working on this project,” Lewis said. “There’s a sense of visual movement throughout the mural I’m painting.”

The mural content will reflect the stores located in Sunrise Village with a general theme of “food and fabric.” Specific whimsical touches that Lewis said he had yet to add, will include a black and white hopscotch field.

“The murals are going to be an important focal point for shoppers entering Sunrise Village from Uplands Way,” Clement said.

The choice of a mural project also sought to address past issues of vandalism and periodic graffiti tagging along the length of the block retaining wall, she said.

The Sunrise MarketPlace Business District is assisting Merlone-Geier with some funding for the project, said Kathilynn Carpenter, its executive director.

“Our goal has been to bring more public art to the Sunrise MarketPlace District,” Carpenter said. “We currently have five completed murals in the District, along with our art-wrapped utility boxes.”

Overall construction plans for a sports gym and a retail grocery store also to open in Sunrise Village are continuing to move forward, Clement said. “The owners of (City Sports) gym have revised their original construction plans to a higher-end, branded facility,” she said. “I can’t comment concerning the retail grocer as that’s subject to a non-disclosure agreement at this time.”

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