Golden 1 Center Will Feature New Public Art Selection By Respected Sacramento Art Collective

SACRAMENTO, CA – As part of an ongoing commitment to invest in public art, The Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) announced a new piece of Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF) art will join the public art collection featured at Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons (DOCO.)

On June 13, 2016, SMAC unanimously approved RCAF members Esteban Villa, Juanishi Orosco and Stan Padilla to work on two pieces of art: a new mural that will be displayed inside Golden 1 Center and a restoration of their 1977 mural titled “Metamorphosis,” located on the downtown parking garage on 3rd and L Streets at the West entrance of DOCO. The unveiling of the new art in the arena and restoration will coincide with the Commission’s 40th anniversary in 2017.

“Promoting arts and culture are central to our role in revitalizing downtown Sacramento and the Royal Chicano Air Force represent the city’s long-standing tradition of cultivating thought and inspiring action through the arts,” said Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger. “We’re honored to have an opportunity to add a unique piece by three respected artists that reflects the passion and values of Sacramento.”

Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna (District 1), whose father, former Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna, Jr., was a member of the RCAF, identified the funds for this project. “The Royal Chicano Air Force represents one of our region’s great arts traditions, and it is entirely appropriate that their contribution and legacy be in full public view,” said Serna. “The envisioned artwork will not only grace the space within the new Golden 1 Center, it will also serve to tell the story of change and who we are as a proud, diverse community.”

SMAC Chair Rebecca Garrison noted that, “The RCAF has been deeply rooted in the Sacramento community for almost 50 years with a long history of using art to communicate ideas and issues specific to our community. It is for this reason and many more that the entire Commission is so pleased to support this important project at Golden 1 Center.”

“It is an honor and a great creative opportunity for us to be able to bring to Golden 1 Center a new artwork,” noted RCAF artist Stan Padilla of the opportunity. “We will express our vibrant cultural roots and the seeds of our common humanity in an innovative project respectfully dedicated to the Sacramento community and region.”

The artists are expected to begin work on designing the mural for Golden 1 Center as soon as full funding for the project is identified. Supervisor Serna’s office will be making the lead contribution in the range of $75,000 – 100,000, and will work closely with SMAC to identify and raise additional funds for the project’s completion.

While the RCAF member artists Villa, Orosco and Padilla and the site have been approved, SMAC will make recommendations on the budget and artwork design once completed.

The Kings and SMAC partnered in 2014 to charge a nine-member panel of prominent artists, curators and community members to create an art plan for Golden 1 Center. Through the partnership, the Kings donated previously existing art located in the Downtown Plaza to SMAC. The Kings also contributed an initial $5.5 million of the Golden 1 Center construction budget to the “Art in Public Places” program – the largest public art investment in city history.

In 2015, Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadive led an effort to bolster the initial contribution with $4 million dollars, securing the first publicly-owned and permanently displayed original sculpture by world-renowned artist Jeff Koons. Three more projects, created by local artists and selected by the panel, will welcome visitors at the main entrances to the arena and DOCO.# # #

ABOUT the Arts Commission:
The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (Commission) is a public agency devoted to supporting, promoting and advancing the arts in the region.  Funded by the Sacramento City and County, the Commission provides funding to local artists and arts groups; promotes the arts through marketing, outreach and education initiatives; provides resources to support and increase regional arts education activities; and serves as a community partner and resource. For more information, visit

Royal Chicano Air Force:
Originally named the Rebel Chicano Art Front, this artist collective was founded at California State University, Sacramento in 1970 by Esteban Villa and Jose Montoya to foster the arts of the Chicano/Latino community, educate young people in Chicano culture, promote political awareness and foster support for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. The RCAF was instrumental in leading the Chicano Movimiento’s push for social and political rights and is best known its murals and art posters, though they were also active in music and the literary arts.  Montoya’s posters helped define the United Farm Workers Movement in California’s Central Valley from the 1960s to 1980s and collections of RCAF posters have been donated to CSU Sacramento and CSU San Jose. At CSU Sacramento, Montoya and Esteban taught silkscreen printing, drawing and mural painting to a generation of artists. Their Barrio Art Program continues today at the Washington Neighborhood Center in downtown Sacramento. The RCAF also established programs that bring the arts to youth offenders within the California Youth Authority. The La Raza Galeria Posada continues to operate in Sacramento.  In 2014 artworks by Villa, Orosco and Padilla were featured in an exhibition at the Matsui Gallery in Sacramento City Hall.

Esteban Villa is a professor emeritus at California State University, Sacramento who also taught at Washington State University and University of California, Davis. He has conducted art programs in the prisons system and his artwork played a key role in the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and 70s. In addition to “Metamorphosis,” Villa has created murals for Sacramento’s Southside Park, and Chicano Park in San Diego. His work has been exhibited at the Crocker Art Museum and the Galeria Posada, both in Sacramento.

Juanishi Orosco taught with Villa and Montoya at CSU Sacramento and created numerous poster designs for the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. In the 1995 documentary on RCAF entitled “Pilots of Aztlán,” Orosco stated “Cesar (Chavez) recognized early on the importance of the artists’ community and how to best utilize them for the United Farm Workers movement.”

Known for his vivid murals depicting his Mexican, Chicano and indigenous cultural roots, Orosco is also an arts educator who has provided outreach and training to hundreds of young artists throughout Northern California. In addition to his work on the mural “Metamorphosis,” Juanishi helped to restore the Chicano Park mural in Barrio Logan, San Diego. He completed the mural “Capaces,” for the Chicano Service Center in Woodburn, Oregon in 2013.  Orosco’s paintings are in permanent collections at Harvard, Yale and the Smithsonian Institution, and he has overseen mural projects in New York, Chicago and Miami, among other cities.

Stan Padilla is a multi-media artist whose disciplines include drawing, painting and silversmithing. Stan is also an educator and social activist who for many years has worked to promote multi-cultural and cross-cultural exchange. He is an arts coordinator for a Chicano and Native American gallery in northern California and maintains an art studio in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northeastern California.

About the Author