Elk Grove artist Anthony “Tony” Byrnes is commissioned to create a $5,000 mural along the Laguna Creek Trail, in the vicinity of Elk Grove City Hall.
His mural’s site is Laguna Springs Drive’s bridge over the Laguna Creek Trail, between Swanbrook Court and Starlily Drive.
Funding for this project will be paid through the annual budget of the Elk Grove Arts Commission, which is dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the city. These funds will cover artist fees and materials.
Byrnes, who has lived in the city for more than 20 years, was selected for this project through a resolution unanimously adopted by the Elk Grove City Council on Dec. 8. The vote tally was 4-0, with Council Member Kevin Spease absent from the meeting.
This artist has already completed more than 40 large-scale murals at local schools, including Irene B. West Elementary School, Harriet Eddy Middle School, and Franklin and Laguna Creek high schools.
Byrnes’ background in art also includes earning bachelor’s degrees in drawing and painting and digital imaging at California State University, East Bay.
During the Dec. 8 City Council meeting, a rendering of Byrnes’ future mural was shown to the council.
Lana Yoshimura, the city’s community event center manager and liaison to the city’s staff for the Elk Grove Arts Commission, mentioned that the actual artwork will be painted directly on the lower edge of the bridge.
The artwork will feature animals, flora and fauna that one might see along the Laguna Creek Trail.
Yoshimura mentioned that the future mural will be visible from multiple locations.
“Basically, when you cross the street or you’re on the bridge itself, you’ll see (the mural) as you move through the bridge,” she said. “There is a pedestrian and walker crosswalk that goes across (the bridge). The commission felt like this would be a highly visible area to invest in some beautification.”
The mural proposal was presented to the council upon the recommendation of the city’s staff and Arts Commission.
Interest in having a mural to beautify the Laguna Creek Trail dates back to last year when the Arts Commission requested that the city’s staff research this process.
Following a request for proposal for this artwork, three local artists responded by the March 2021 deadline.
A review panel later reviewed artwork submitted by these artists. That panel consisted of two members of the Arts Commission and one Elk Grove Trails Committee member.
Prior to voting in favor of this project, Vice Mayor Darren Suen commended the selected artwork for the mural.
“I just wanted to say it’s a beautiful mural,” he said. “I can’t wait to see it. It will look fantastic on that bridge, so I look forward to it.”
Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen noted that she agreed with Suen.
“I’m familiar with the artist and (his) great work at the (Elk Grove Unified) School District, so looking forward to seeing this mural,” she said.