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Sacramento is Randomly the Best City I've Ever Lived

Chat-GPT: What brought you to Sacramento in the first place?

  My wife and I had been bouncing back and forth between living in LA and the Desert North of LA trying to make that work. We loved the desert and had some family there and some good friends in LA but we were both teaching art as adjuncts all over the place and didn't feel like we were getting any closer to a stable tenure-track position. We also were feeling pretty isolated and just weren't in love with the culture and weather in LA outside of our immediate social group.

  Anyway we had a check-in and decided we needed to be in a place where we could see ourselves living long term rather than temporarily and started looking in Northern California where my family was from. I was born in San Francisco but my mom who was also an artist grew up in Sacramento and went to school in Davis before moving to San Francisco, Marin and eventually Nevada City up the 80. I started looking at apartaments in Davis because it seemed like it had an interesting culture and we were immediately encouraged by folks there to check out West Sacramento and Midtown, Land Park etc. We did and it immediately felt like it made sense. It was the green, full of hip restaurants and hip young families, a lot of galleries and arts institutions, centrally located with easy access to everything and everyone we loved, ideally positioned for commuting / potential jobs and affordable enough for two teachers / artists to have a sustainable dignified quality of adult life which felt impossible in San Francisco, LA and New York where we lived before living in the California desert.

  Long story short between the two of us we had lived and / or worked and tried really hard to make a lot of places make sense for us. New York, New England, LA, all over the Mojave desert, Madison, Milwaukee, Bakersfield and all over the Bay Area in Marin, San Jose, the Sunset, the Tenderloin, Daly City, The Richmond, The Marina, The Presidio, Bernal Heights. And we had tried to make those a good fit in terms of culture, work and sustainability but all of them failed on one or more of those parameters. Sacramento immediately met and exceeded all our needs in those catagories and I dont think we were expecting that after such a long journey.

Chat-GPT: What was your first impression of Sacramento?

My first impression was that it was green and idyllic. There were big healthy trees everywhere along with more hip restaurants and shops than we had time to check out. And maybe more importantly it seemed really clearly to be a truly diverse working-class / middle-class town full of young families who were our age, and it seemed like a huge percentage of folks we met were from the Bay Area. And surprisingly a woman we had gone to graduate school with at Yale School of Art had a partially subsidized studio space in a huge arts building in midtown that she had been connected with while teaching a class at UC Davis

Chat-GPT: What are some of your favorite aspects of living in Sacramento?

I already mentioned the diversity, the working class culture of the town, the excellent restaurant / cafe / brewery scene, the arts community etc, but the access to nature is a really huge positive that was also very unexpected. You're only about an hour and a half away from the High Sierras, Pont Reyes, Mount Tam, the Delta, South Lake Tahoe, Lake Barryessa, Napa, Sonoma and everything in-between. A real relationship with the High Sierras is one of the biggest benefits of being in Sacramento, Davis or the Sierra foothills. The Science Fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson is based in Davis and writes about this in his non-fiction book "The Sierras".

Chat-GPT: What are some challenges you’ve faced while living in Sacramento?

During and after COVID we did struggle with problems related to homelessness but it felt like it was very in line with the struggles the rest of California and increasingly the rest of the country. We chose to live in Land Park / Midtown knowing we would encounter these problems but there were times where it felt like it was crossing a real line that it might not recover from. But the good news on that front is that the local government seems abnormally committed and capable of finding solutions to this problem and we've seen a huge improvement in the last couple of years and we expect it to continue to get better.

Chat-GPT: How has Sacramento influenced your personal or professional life?

Chat-GPT: Are there any local events or festivals that you look forward to?

Open Studios is a really important annual event for artists here. It's how we've met most of our friends in the art community here. It feels much more accessible and beneficial that the open studios I've experienced in other cities. Maybe because the art community is an optimal size here. It's not small enought that you could ever possibly know or meet every serious artist making good work here, but it's not so large that a single open studios event can't accommodate the entire community.

Chat-GPT: What advice would you give to someone considering moving to Sacramento?

Don't come here if you're single unless you're a student, there are plenty of great places to go on dates but it just doesn't feel like that kind of town. But if you're a young hip couple get a job connected with the state or UC Davis, find a cute mid-century house in midtown on a green street with a backyard, build or rent a studio space for a creative practice, get an ebike and focus on being a healthy individual, a good partner, a good parent and a good artist.

Chat-GPT: What’s one word or phrase you would use to describe Sacramento, and why?

To me these words describe Sacramento. Green, Educated, Diverse, Creative, Sustainible, Healthy, Utopic, Working Class, Middle Class, Connected to Nature, Connected to Reality.

[June 4th 2024]