Painting By Numbers: South Sacramento Residents Join Local Artists to Create Mural Thanks to Clean California


Clean California Logo

District: District 3
Contact: Kevin Murphy
Phone: (530) 812-7282


Sacramento – South Sacramento residents and business owners joined artists on Saturday, July 8, to create a mural along 21st Avenue near Franklin Boulevard. It is one of several public artworks being created by local artists along Highway 99 that are funded by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a sweeping $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and engage communities to transform public spaces.

“The creation of this vibrant mural in South Sacramento exemplifies the power of art and community engagement in transforming public spaces,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “This mural, along with other public beautification and artwork efforts supported by Governor Newsom’s Clean California initiative, symbolizes our commitment to building stronger communities and revitalizing neighborhoods throughout California.”

The public painting event was hosted by the city of Sacramento and the Franklin Neighborhood Development Corporation. In addition to public art, the $13.8 million Caltrans beautification and safety improvement project includes new landscaping, renovated pedestrian bridges, and vehicle overpass improvements from Broadway to Mack Road.

The mural on 21st Avenue will link the South Sacramento neighborhoods of North City Farms and South Oak Park through an undercrossing of State Highway 99. The mural will be painted under the highway and on the outside walls. Sacramento artists Jaya King and Uli Smith designed the mural after meeting with area residents and business owners for inspiration and input.

“A community mural is different from a commercial mural or residential mural or even a festival mural because it totally engages the community and that was a huge part of the thought process and inspiration with the design,” King said.

Engaging nearby residents and business owners in the painting of the work was also part of King and Smith’s plan. The artists sketched the design on the undercrossing walls in advance. Participants were provided with brushes and paints in numbered cups and directed to a location on the wall with the corresponding number. Through community surveys, working with neighborhood associations and local businesses, and attending services at a local church, the artists developed the concept of a multicultural story cloth connecting the two neighborhoods.

“The feedback from the community was that they wanted to showcase that melting pot, that mixed cultural heritage in the community,” King said.

Another element of community feedback was a focus on the children who use the underpass to attend area schools. Students from Oak Ridge and Ethel Phillips elementary schools and Christian Brothers High School regularly use the underpass. King and Smith integrated the school mascots in the mural design.

As part of the same project, a second mural will be painted further north along the 2nd Avenue undercrossing of Highway 99 connecting the neighborhoods of Oak Park and Curtis Park. Artists Jose Lott and Shonna McDaniel's are expected to begin work on the mural later this year.

Caltrans awarded $296 million in Clean California Local Grants to remove litter and transform public spaces in underserved communities. The approved 105 community projects will generate an estimated 3,600 jobs. The City of Sacramento received five of the initial grants, the most of any city statewide. In February, Governor Newsom announced a new round of $100 million in grants for local beautification projects.

Since launching Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans and local partners have removed 1.7 million cubic yards of litter from state highways – the equivalent of more than 28,500 tons or enough trash to fill the Rose Bowl over 3½ times. Caltrans has hired more than 850 team members as part of Clean California, and grants have funded 231 projects to revitalize and beautify underserved communities, some of which are already complete and now sources of community pride. For more information about the Clean California initiative, visit

Event Photos

image man painting wall

Assembly member Kevin McCarty of District 
7 talks with lead artist Jaya King as he helps
paint the 21st Avenue Mural.

image of group painting the wall
Residents of South Oak Park and North City Farms assisted artists in
painting the new mural along 21st Avenue in South Sacramento.

image women talking to man

Artist Jaya King shares the historical and cultural influences in the design
for the mural with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg who also
helped in painting the artwork.

image of women and children gather at the table

Volunteers were provided with paints and brushes to assist local artists Jaya King
and Uli Smith in painting the new mural along the 21st Avenue
underpass of Highway 99 in South Sacramento.

image of finish wall painting 1


image of finish wall painting 2


| | | #BeWorkZoneAlert | Facebook | YouTube |