Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

August 15, 2008
A surprising art find inside a Sacramento home for sale


Buyers of a Pocket-area home were delighted to find that two fireplaces have metal murals by artist Fred Uhl Ball. (AUTUMN CRUZ / acruz@sacbee.com)

Buyers of a Pocket-area home were delighted to find that two fireplaces have metal murals by artist Fred Uhl Ball. (AUTUMN CRUZ / acruz@sacbee.com)


We like surprises, and the buyers of a Pocket-area home got a nice one. Inside are two very distinctive metal murals done by a Sacramento artist who died 23 years ago and is considered one of the city's greatest. He died at 40 in 1985. His name is familiar to an earlier generation of Sacramentans - Fred Ball.

He's considered one of the nation's finest for this kind of art. The story is here.

As part of reporting it I learned something about the public spaces of the city and made a good personal connection to Sacramento's heritage. Since arriving here in 2001 I've driven many times past the colorful metal artwork on the west side of the Downtown Plaza parking garage. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. It's the work you see on the right as you swoop up the J Street exit off I-5 (when going north). I always saw but never thought about what I was looking at or the story behind it.

 That's the signature piece of this artist, Ball,  who did the piece inside the home we wrote about today. I got a chance to look at it up close one morning this week and walk through the bushes to touch it and see how it was put together.

It's pleasant to suddenly learn the story behind a scene that's part of the city's life. I shot a little video of the piece and set it to music.

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