Capital Stage in midtown Sacramento stays strong amid Black Lives Matter mural vandalism

·3 min read

Keith Riedell, the managing director of Capital Stage Co., says his downtown building was vandalized on Tuesday morning with black and yellow paint covering the majority of its structure.

He says it wasn’t just an attack on the building, but the community.

Capital Stage, now in its 17th season, is a performing arts venue at 2215 J St. in midtown Sacramento. Its mission, according to Riedell, has been to engage and challenge its audience by addressing contemporary social justice issues through thought-provoking shows and productions. That commitment extends off-stage, too.

Outside near the theater’s entrance, Capital Stage has a Black Lives Matter mural painted by Leon Willis in bold black letters with golden yellow shadowing, a red outline and a green background to contrast the crimson color of the building.

The top half, which read Black Lives, was partially covered in black and yellow paint.

“A bunch of paint was thrown on it,” said Riedell. “It covered a pretty good portion of the mural. We were devastated and disheartened by it.”

The two have since been in contact with one another and worked together to have it cleaned off and repainted.

The mural has been on the building since the spring. Riedell said he and Willis prepared for something like this to happen because the building has been tagged in the past. A clear coat was placed on the mural for protection, but it wasn’t enough to stop the amount of damage done on Tuesday.

“Four years of the Trump administration brought the white supremacists and white nationalists right out of the closet, the reality is we know that these people exist in Sacramento and they’re on our streets,” said Riedell. “When we put a mural up like that and make a statement like that, some people take that as an insult.”

Riedell was not surprised by the destruction. His message is to stay Sacramento strong. Riedell and Sacramento police continue to seek help from the community to find those responsible for defacing the property.

“There is no ticket for hate here at Capital Stage theater. We will continue to produce the kind of art that we produce — which is bold, thought-provoking plays that address social justice issues that create conversations,” said Reidell. “We will continue to invite diverse audiences into our theater, we will not be deterred.”

There were reports that linked the colors, black and yellow, with the Proud Boys, an alt-right and neo-fascist group that promotes, insinuates and engages in political violence.

Sacramento City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela, who represents the city’s core including midtown she says this does not reflect our city and that racism and bigotry is not tolerated in Sacramento.

“That is not welcome here and we know that this isn’t something that we’re going to sit idly by and not say something about,” Valenzuela said. “This is not who we’re going to choose to be as a city.”

For its part, Capital Stage hopes to install more surveillance cameras in the front to deter more vandalism.

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