Eureka is a remote artist community tucked into the north western ridge of California in its sixth year of the Eureka Street Art Festival, a week where artists paint public spaces with huge, colorful, expressive murals. Beginning its life as the DreamMaker Program project sponsored by Ink People Center for the Arts, the mural painting beautifies different sections of town each year with images soaring 20 feet high. This year artists will brighten 16 mural locations in the Broadway and South 101 areas of Eureka, including the Herrick Avenue Overpass in preparation for the new monument it will house. We might expect close to 16 artists, too, though only one artist has been revealed.
Over the years, the Eureka Street Art Festival painters have leaned into splashing the small town in the redwood forests with color while exploring the way humans interact with nature, brushing organic shapes onto concrete places. A Place to Land painted in 2022 by Justin Suarez on a truck-sized wall facing a large slab of parking lot pictures the majestic moose, hawk, and fox of the Pacific Northwest against a distant landscape of lush earth and rough mountains. Florid aqua mushroom caps and leafy sprigs wrap around a thickset bridge’s pillar in Jessica Cherry’s 2022 Err-Werh Son (meaning “It is like grass” in Yurok).
Visitors can watch the artists at work over the course of the week, seeing in real time how different painters convert large blank spaces into art. They can also attend artist talks, daily tours, and some special events in town. Embrace it all by going to the Block Party, which has a huge beer garden, live music, and family-friendly fun. This year it is from 12 to 6 pm on August 9 under the Samoa Bridge.
- It is unclear how many folks attend per year. The second year, 2019, saw over 15,000 people come through the town over the course of week.
- It’s FREE to attend.
- A couple of hotel options if you’re coming from out of town…
- If this article gave you a hankering for seeing some incredible street art, but Eureka, CA is a little too far for you, check out Fifty Grande’s most recent list of America’s Most Interesting Street Art Cities Right Now to get your fix.
What is the nearest airport?
Eureka is a remote town in Humboldt County, CA, an artist community tucked into the North Eastern ridge of California. It’s nestled on the edge of Arcata Bay, dipping into the water but also surrounded on three sides by redwood forests and mountainous terrains. This is all to say, it’s not a straight shot to this spot. The Arcata/Eureka Airport, which is 16 miles from the town, has direct flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Burbank, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Reno. The Eureka Street Art Festival is also just a mere 5 hours north of San Francisco and 6 hours south of Portland, Oregon, if you feel like a road trip is in order.
Will past murals still be available for viewing?
Yes. Many murals from past years are still presiding over various corners of Eureka for your viewing pleasure.
What else is there to do in Eureka, CA?
Humboldt County is full of nature, good food, and, yes, more art to see. Check out this county guide so get a sense of your surroundings.
Can I support even if I can’t attend?
Want to donate and support the project? Email [email protected].