Sacramento’s 2019 Wide Open Walls festival will debut 30 new large-scale outdoor murals around town from Aug. 8–18. The nation's largest mural festival will feature 44 artists' work along with happy hours, live music, block parties and more (view the schedule here). Although visiting the capital city during the festival means you might get to see the artists in action, the murals are "really meant as a gift to the city and they’re meant to be here forever,” says David Sobon, the founder and producer of Wide Open Walls.

We asked Sobon to tell us more about the festival and give his insider tips on the California Now Podcast. Host Soterios Johnson asked him to share what makes Sacramento’s mural festival special.

“There are a lot of festivals out there that create art and that art gets buffed out, meaning it gets painted over, year after year," Sobon said. "We've created 90 murals in the last three years and 86 of them are still around.”

The 2019 lineup features local and international artists, including graphic artist Shepard Fairey, who is most well-known for his Barack Obama "Hope" poster. “[Last year] we helped him by finding an 18-story wall in Sacramento—the Residence Inn Downtown Sacramento—and he created an image of Johnny Cash celebrating 50 years at Folsom prison. It was an incredible project. It is really a brand-new landmark for Sacramento.”

Fairey also noted two artists to watch at the 2020 festival and beyond: Raphael Delgado, a Sacramento art gallery owner who painted a 40-by-60-foot bear above Jalapeños Restaurant on 21st Street, and Molly Devlin, a fine art painter who's going to create a mural on SouthPaw Sushi, a new restaurant on Del Paso Boulevard. "She uses oils and acrylics with just the finest detail of very exotic figures and creatures," Sobon said. "We are very excited to see what kind of creatures that she can create in the ocean."

Want to tour the murals? Sobon notes that there are walking, running, cycling, and scooter tours available, or you can do a self-guided version using the Wide Open Walls app. For more information on what to look for at this year's festvail (and beyond), visit the new Wide Open Walls website and listen to the full episode on the California Now Podcast.