When a city is your canvas, the exhibition must be equal in scale.
Welcome to Eureka, a town that lives up to its unique, authentic reputation by hosting the Eureka Street Art Festival (ESAF), another reason to visit this gem on the Northern California coast.
From August 1st through the 6th, structures throughout the Downtown and Old Town neighborhoods explode with color as artists create new murals that expand the existing city-wide gallery of public art that is both festive and free. Including the murals, 100+ installations, and public art works are found all over town! Touring Old Town is a visually-pleasing experience itself. Victorian-era buildings, some dating back to the 1800s, house quaint shops that contribute to Eureka’s old-world charm. Cool sea breezes sustain your energy level, creating a walkable and bikeable bayside adventure. By the end of the week, you’ll be ready to celebrate the experience at a waterfront party.
Ask an Artist
How do you create a massive mural? Art enthusiasts get a glimpse of artists in action and check on each mural’s progress during guided, daily art walks. Individual artists will share their inspiration and answer questions during the free mile-long tour that begins at 5:30 p.m. each of the festival’s first five days.
Eureka’s rich history includes a period of somber events that remain prominent in local Native culture. In recent years, the community has worked hard to heal and celebrate the Wiyot Tribal culture. These efforts are reflected in the Eureka Street Festival’s outreach. In 2020, Native artists Alme Allen, Carl Avery, Melitta Jackson, and Julian Lang created multiple murals on one continuous wall, embedding Native culture in the local art scene. While in town, be sure to check out the mural located at 2942 F Street. Stop by the visitor’s center and request a mural map to see more Native art created during the Street Art Festival.
An already impressive structure that is both functional and scenic, the three-span bridge that crosses Humboldt Bay to connect Eureka to the Samoa Peninsula gets an artistic upgrade during the Street Art Festival. Early this year, representatives from the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) contacted the ESAF team with a proposal to include the Eureka span of the bridge’s supports in the project. Artists will paint each of the four structures, and each will be a different color. They’ll provide the ideal backdrop to the festival’s conclusion beneath the painted piles on Saturday.
By the end of the week, visitors and locals celebrate the artists’ achievements with a full-blown block party that includes more than 100 vendors, local food offerings, and live music. If you’re inspired to try your hand at mural painting, local artist Mir de Silva will be available to guide would-be artists in creating a community mural.
Eureka Cultural Arts District
Eureka is the proud home of one of California’s 14 officially designated Cultural Arts Districts. From murals to movies, theater to traditional crafts, galleries to historical museums, fine dining to great bagels, the city has a lot going on. Skirting the Humboldt Bay, the mild climate encourages walking and biking tours of more than 100 pieces of public art, tours at fine chocolate makers and breweries, galleries, museums, artist studios, cafés, restaurants, markets, and hand-made ice cream.
In the summer, the city offers free Thursday night concerts, and Humboldt Made hosts Friday Night Markets. On the first Saturday of every month the city’s historic Old Town and waterfront offers Arts Alive!, a diverse celebration of local artistry where visitors can patronize more than 75 open cultural sites and businesses displaying local art and hosting exciting performances. Musicians, jugglers, clowns, crafts vendors, politicians, and community activists often line the streets.
The cultural district also hosts other events throughout the year. Learn more about the Redwood Coast Music Festival, Taste of Main Street, Summer Concerts, Tuba Christmas, Woofstock, Humboldt Marble Weekend, the Kinetic Sculpture Race, the Perilous Plunge, and much more!
Read about the Festival’s origins and organizers!
For more information on the Eureka Street Art Festival, visit https://www.eurekastreetartfestival.com/