By Nicholas Ibarra | OBSERVER Staff Writer

Malik Seneferu is shown working on the portrait of Jacob Lawrence, adding texture and color to his vibrant suit. Nicholas Ibarra, OBSERVER.

A paint-by-numbers event Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – invited Sacramento County residents to Another Look Beauty & Barber to participate in kicking off the Mack Road Valley Hi Community Gallery.

The Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum and the 8th District of the City of Sacramento came together for a Community Mural Paint Day event. Nearly 400 participants helped begin the two-month process of finishing the mural by helping paint its bottom border.

The mural, which designer and lead artist Shonna McDaniels called a “celebration of the diversity in the Sacramento community,” depicts five figures gazing into the distance, dazzling with vibrant colors, shapes and patterns.

Walter Anderson stands next to and reflects on the mural he contributed to.

“I wanted to create this mural depicting people walking through an art gallery looking at images of influential visual artists in the frame,” McDaniels said.

McDaniels chose to feature artists on the mural whose works have greatly influenced and inspired her work with public schools. They include:

  • Miguel “El Chamaco” Covarrubias, a Latino visual artist known for painting Latinos and Blacks during the Harlem Renaissance;
  • Yayoi “the Princess of Polka Dots” Kusama, a Japanese artist known for her use of colorful polka dots;
  • Jacob Lawrence, a Black painter known for his portrayals of Black historical subjects and contemporary life during the Harlem Renaissance; 
  • Shirin Neshat, an Iranian artist, filmmaker, photographer, and activist; and 
  • Georgia O’Keeffe, “Mother of American modernism,” a white American artist known for her paintings of enlarged flowers.

“This will be a platform for children and their families — in, around, and outside of the community — to be able to come and learn history about these five amazing artists,” McDaniels said. “Folks will have an opportunity to get an educational experience right in the heart of their community.”

Lee mcCormick, Shawana Low, and Walter Anderson come together for a mural they took part in painting. It was their first time collaborating.

A plaque will be placed alongside the mural to commemorate the featured artists and highlight their achievements.

McDaniels and her team of artists — Lee “Leecaso” McCormick, Walter Anderson, Shawana Low, David Washington, Judah Pimentel, Israel “Izzy” Low, Tayler Johnson, “Urban Sunshine,” Henry “Fisko,” and Malik Seneferu — completed the mural, which took almost 200 hours, after the community’s contribution.

McDaniels is working with the city to incorporate an annual community festival that brings to life the important individuals depicted in the mural, including a performance involving people dressed as the artists’ silhouettes and having the performers talk about each artist’s legacy. The event also would include visual artists painting some of the featured artists’ important and famous works.

“Our goal is to put up more murals, address different issues in our community through the arts, bring images to life, and to celebrate the community while inviting them to be a part of the process and fun,” McDaniels said. 

Lee mcCormick, Shawana Low, and Walter Anderson come together for a mural they took part in painting. It was their first time collaborating.

For more information, contact Shonna McDaniels at