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Stories from the valley

Painting the River City

Contributed by Jim Morris

One of my favorite communities in our valley is Red Bluff. Located along the Sacramento River, it has a great mix of old and new, from its history and architecture to expanding public art.

The new influx of art is where Lacy Wilson fits in. She has painted nearly 20 murals (and counting) in and around town, and has new projects in the works. If you visit Red Bluff and keep your eyes open, you can’t help but see her work, marked by her enthusiasm and talent, melding bold colors with a wide variety of vibrantly-portrayed subjects. 

“Red Bluff has so much character,” she said. “It’s small and cozy, yet has a bigness to it. The murals add to the culture that is here, and I hope will draw more visitors to town.”

Lacy’s murals include landscapes, a lion, mermaid and this amazing view of the Sacramento River, a dominant part of the city.

river mural

“Red Bluff is a river city, so it’s extremely important to celebrate that though art,” she said. “When I did the river painting, it brought back special memories; how gorgeous it is with the clouds overhead. Everyone loves the river. It’s something that makes living here really special.” 

river mural

The pandemic has led to dramatic changes for people, who have had to isolate and massively disrupt their normal interaction. Lacy believes public art can help.

“Art is therapeutic,” she remarked. “It can bring happiness, which in turn can help people feel safer. It brings life to a town, and is something that be shared during these difficult times – a bright light at the end of the tunnel.”

Lacy was born in Quincy and spent time along the Central Coast before moving to the Sacramento Valley. After adjusting to her new surroundings, she said she appreciates its rural feel and central location. It’s now home, which is a classic win-win.

“I needed walls and Red Bluff needed art,” Lacy told me. “Now we’re together forever!”