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Tapigami joins emerging art scene at Downtown Plaza

Sacramento social media was abuzz on Tuesday with news that local artistic darling Tapigami had secured a place in Downtown Plaza, one previously occupied by a Hyundai dealership.

Tapigami is a collaboration between business partners Danny Scheible and Tre Borden – Danny, the artist, creates works of art out of masking tape while business manager Borden brings entrepreneurial acumen to the project.

“It’s almost unbelievable how fortunate we are to have this opportunity,” said Borden. “This is just an example of the support we’ve gotten from the community. Danny has been doing this for eight years. He came back to Sacramento from Santa Cruz for the sole purpose of changing things, and to prove that one person can make a difference through art. To be part of this revitalization is huge. With things like Turn Downtown Around you really feel the energy that this is the time that Sacramento has been waiting for, and we are excited to be a part of that.”

Demetri Gregorakis is cofounder of TDA, a community-led initiative to bring vibrancy back to the central city.

“Personally I think this is great,” he said. “Midtown has Second Saturday, but there is no artistic focal point downtown for people coming in to go and experience local art. I think Tapigami might draw other artists, so hopefully we can get something going that’s like Second Saturday but for downtown.”

Tapigami will be joining ranks with a couple of other local art collaboratives that currently call Downtown Plaza home. ZuhG Life Store, run by members of the local band ZuhG, started out as a stationary merchandise booth for the group but has evolved into what store owner Bryan Nichols (also vocalist and guitarist for the band) describes as, “an outlet for anyone doing anything crafty in Sacramento to sell their stuff and make some money.”

“I think it’s awesome that (Tapigami) is moving in,” continued Nichols, “but all of this talk about an arena – I can’t imagine trying to open a store here right now. Assuming the mall stays open though, that’s awesome if it will go in that general direction – local art and music, local shops. That would be great to see.”

Downstairs from ZuhG Life Store is Flywheel, the Arts & Business Coucil’s artist incubator, which provides not only coaching but a space to sell to a variety of local artists – including Tapigami.

“The Downtown Plaza has been a huge supporter of the Flywheel program,” said Executive Director Michelle Alexander. “We are really excited to see one of our incubator clients able to benefit from that connection as well. They will be able to get exposure to a huge new audience and have space to work. It’s like the whole family is moving in, so we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Alexander is optimistic that space for art and a new arena needn’t be mutually exclusive.

“Artists and members of the creative community are helping to activate vacant spaces and contribute value right now. Being a hopeless optimist, I believe there will be a place for that activity as these new developments evolve and become reality.”

Nichols is prepared to roll with the punches.

“If they want to build an arena here,” he said. “I’ll be excited to see what other projects I can take on. But if the arena doesn’t come, I would be excited to be a part of what is going to happen next, hoping the new owners fill it with local art and businesses instead of empty spaces and little foot traffic. I’ve been here for two years, so I’m ready to either get out or to see things pick up. I’m just waiting to see what happens – I’ll accept either outcome.”

“Whether they get kicked out or not,” Gregorakis concluded, “just the fact that they are in there right now – I think that’s what matters.”

Borden, Scheible and friends got to painting the space as soon as it was theirs. Now Scheible is working on moving his entire body of work into one location – the first time he’s been able to do so in many years. The duo has their spot until January 31st of next year.

“I’m not really concerned about the arena,” Borden said. “We’re just going to knock this out of the park in the next year, hopefully building a model that other developers can use as a good example of urban revitalization – partnering with artistic startups and creative professionals.”

Regardless of what happens to Downtown Plaza, Borden is optimistic about the potential of Tapigami’s new space.

“We get ten months to prove that we can do this. Who knows what other doors and opportunities it can open.”

Editor’s note: The “News Digest” goes out every Tuesday morning and highlights our best stories, photos and videos from the week prior. Sign me up.

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