Artist tabbed for second bank location, this time in Grass Valley |

Artist tabbed for second bank location, this time in Grass Valley

Submitted to The Union
Sarah Coleman painted this mural on the back wall at Kitkitdizzi in Nevada City.
Submitted photo

Artist Sarah Coleman has just completed a mural at River Valley Community Bank in Grass Valley, the second of two she has painted for the bank, according to a release.

The first is in Downtown Auburn.

Other recent murals by Coleman are at Kitkitdizzi and The Onyx movie theater, both in Nevada City.

“People are realizing that you can really change a space and you get a lot of attention, whether it’s in your business or your home,” Coleman said.

Coleman studied art at Placer High School in Auburn and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She went on to work with a high-end painting crew doing faux finishes and specialty painting in the Bay Area.

While some of her work is guided by a specific plan, other times the artist is asked to impart her own ideas to complement a space.

The bank had a specific plan.

“They wanted a painting of a river,” Coleman said. “In Auburn I just guided them toward No Hands Bridge on the confluence.”

In Grass Valley, Coleman painted the 49er Bridge at the Yuba River.

“The murals are amazing. They’re both so beautiful,” said Amanda Connell, vice president and director of customer relations at River Valley Community Bank. “I couldn’t ask for a better vision. She really listened to what we wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I can’t wait for our customers to see it.”

For more about River Valley Community Bank, go to


At Kitkitdizzi, they knew they wanted Coleman to create a mural, but working directly on a wall was not an option in the leased space, so a thin wood paneling affixed to a wall was her canvas.

“We had a vague idea of what we wanted,” said Carrie Hawthorne, co-owner of Kitkitdizzi. “It was completely centered around Sarah’s style.”

“We agreed on a rough sketch, a general plan,” Coleman said. “Then I kind of free-styled as I went along.”

Hawthorne said Coleman is one of her favorite artists.

“I knew I wanted a lot of metallic and gold leafing,” Hawthorne said. “She’s the expert when it comes to that for sure. I love her color palette. Her paintings are so dreamy … heavenly. They’re celestial, they make you feel like you’re floating in the sky. She has a few different styles, one where she uses layers of glass … 3D. It almost looks like you’re going through a galaxy.”

For more about Kitkitdizzi, go to

The Onyx theatre

At The Onyx Theatre, Coleman’s work is somewhat of an opus. Every room in the theater features her art.

“The Onyx is plush and comfortable,” Coleman said. “I painted two large-scale original artworks on canvas for the ceiling. One for each auditorium. They’re about 7 feet by 15 feet.”

Reproductions of Coleman’s art are in the bathrooms and the lobby.

“My personal art has a real airy, cosmic feeling,” Coleman said. “One of the auditoriums at the new Onyx is fashioned after the original Magic Theatre … red interior, red seats. The art is more spacey, cosmic, with a heart shaped constellation. Sort of a love letter to the community. The mural I made for the other auditorium at the Onyx is airy and dreamy as well, but incorporates a lot more local elements, flora and fauna.”

Onyx owner Jeff Clark was happy with the results.

“It’s just incredible. It’s remarkable, really, we get so many comments, it adds a whole dimension, particularly in the two screening rooms.”

For more about the theater, and to see a glimpse of Coleman’s art there, go to

Artful vision

In all of these venues, Coleman infused the idea of the business owners with her creative talents.

She is further driven by the feedback she gets from people who are inspired by her art. “I really enjoy people’s reactions when describing the feeling that my paintings give them. It’s fuel for me to hear that people are resonating with my intentions,” Coleman said.

And her future plans? “I would love to be involved in a mural project in downtown Nevada City. It would be my honor.”

Coleman hired a friend and fellow artist, Brianna French, as an assistant to work on the bank murals. “Brianna brought her skills to the table and lit up different aspects of the job,” Coleman said. “We work well together. It was great for both of us.”

Coleman thinks it’s a smart move for the banks or any business to commission local original artwork. “It’s a step in the right direction,” she said. “I give them props for investing in local art and their community. It’s a real gift for all.”

Source: Akim Aginsky, Fifthframe Photography

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