“It’s not all puppies and candy canes.”

Local Sacramento artist, Stuart Ratcliff, is gesturing towards his displayed artwork. He is describing the striking difference between his moody and mystical nightscapes and the black and white drawings of dragonflies and other small creatures living amongst plant life. Ratcliff explains how his art is not just the simple beauty of nature.

“I grew up in California, in the Sierras a lot too….yeah, I was used to getting lost in the woods a lot, and I think that a lot of this came from that time spent in the wild lands. But the night scenes are purely imaginary places..those I just pull out of my soul somehow. There’s a nature influence, but also a kind of loneliness.”

Many of the 225 artists at the 20th Sacramento Arts Festival have their own diversity of influence, just like Ratcliff. Although there are a multitude of artists from Sacramento and the outlying areas, there are also artists that hail from as far away as Arizona and South Carolina. Festival attendees are impressed by these showcases of artists from their own community and beyond. Lynn, a fourth year attendee and “dabbling artist”, gushed about what she had seen so far.

“I’m enjoying it immensely, there’s been quite a few exhibits that have really caught my eye. The gourds…just so brilliant! She has such an eye, to see a gourd and instantly know what she is going to create.”

Lynn is talking about Jen’s Wild Gourds, where run-of-the-mill gourds are sculpted into humorous fowl and regal giraffes pieces. Jen’s booth was surrounded by smiling customers that all seemed to find some joy through a medium they hadn’t seen before.

The Sacramento Arts Festival is an eclectic experience that constantly surprises. One minute, you’re looking at art made out of watches and time pieces and then around the corner, you see vases made of smooth stone. There’s jewelry made out of real leaves and flowers, fine art humor pieces that depict Trump’s flyaway hair, and wildlife photography that could almost be living and breathing.

Festival goers were able to see all sorts of mediums from their home state. Hillary William’s urban prints of San Francisco and New York are saturated in vibrant color and make the concrete jungle into a more dreamlike place to be. Local favorite, Little Relics, showcased their affordable, but stunning gold and silver earrings, pendants, and geometric pieces that are perfect for a night out in Midtown.

It can take quite some time to make your way through the many artists, but luckily, the festival has ample seating where patrons can relax and listen live jazz and blues music or munch on food from Spyro’s Gyros, Maui Wow, or some specialty Patrick’s Famous Pies. There’s also several booths that offer natural, homemade beauty products, which was a huge hit now that winter is coming and bringing dry skin with it.

Over by the scrumptious smelling Indian food booth, Sohee, an art student from South Korea, shares why she came to this festival while visiting Sacramento.

“I can see all these things in one place! And the price is not bad,” she says with a smile.

And with that, she walks away to another booth, and continues to enjoy all that the Sacramento Arts Festival has to offer.



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