Painting the Town: The Bright Underbelly Project

By Rachel Smith, Photography by Chantel Elder

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There are many things that make Sacramento special. Its history, its culture…Low Brau’s patio on a hot August night (or hell, a Tuesday morning).  And while everyone has their own list of what makes Sacramento unique, there is a new public art project in the works that will undoubtedly make yours. The proposed mural, cleverly coined “Bright Underbelly,” is a 70,000 square foot piece of public art that would cover the underpass of the W/X Freeway where the largest Farmer’s Market in the region is held.

Local artists and owners of L/C Mural & Design, Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel, are set undertake this amazing project, which they hope to debut in time for the fall harvest.

The idea for this project came about when Tre Borden, partner and artist manager for Bright Underbelly, was inspired after seeing a beautifully painted underpass during a trip to Buenos Aires three years ago. He was so moved by its beauty and originality that he wanted to bring a similar concept to his hometown, Sacramento. He then reached out to Lacin and Christophel knowing that they were the perfect team for the job. After all, they are insanely talented and experienced having painted over 50 high-profile murals together.28 “The goal is to create a project that is the first of its kind in this district, and one that is a replicable template for community-based improvement. Bright Underbelly will bring much-needed warmth and a sense of permanence to an established community-gathering place, and visible support for our region’s identification as the Farm-To-Fork capital of the world” Borden said. Lacin and Christophel want this project to be timeless, evoke emotion, and also surprise people. The Farmer’s Market is a huge communal space which attracts hundreds  of people every Sunday and they recognize the importance of this space and want this mural to be cherished. “It’s like going to Church for people,” Lacin said of the Farmer’s Market. “We want to create a spiritual sanctuary in this space.”

Girls on the Grid were given a sneak peek at some of the early renderings. The ladies are looking at dictating seasons, nature, and agriculture to honor the theme of the Farmer’s Market. The duo is currently working on the 12th Street underpass which would bring light and add vibrancy to the currently dark and gloomy tunnel.

In addition to their public art projects, murals and installations, they also have additional creative passions that they work on. Lacin creates wearable art, turning her original works into jewelry and Christophel draws calligraphy for invitations, books, and jewelry cards that she creates.

The team has been working with the Farmer’s Market and Caltrans, both very supportive of the project. They will need to raise $150,000 to make this dream a reality. For more information and how to donate, please visit:  http://brightunderbelly.com/ For more about their work, visit: http://www.lcmuralanddesign.com/ 40

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