Arts Spotlight: Public Art with Sabrina Hurtado

This pandemic might keep us physically apart, but the arts are still engaging and connecting our community. As part of our Get to Know Us series, Arts NC State will be featuring spotlight articles on students, organizations, and faculty/staff who are busy creating. This week we shine the spotlight on student Sabrina Hurtado who was selected to paint a public sidewalk mural for the Raleigh ArtBeats Project in October 2020.

For more information on the six visual and performing arts programs of Arts NC State, visit and sign up for our emails!

The artist, Sabrina sits next to her sidewalk mural: an image of a Black woman with hoop earrings shedding a tear painted with bold colors. There is dialog bubble that says "One day when the Glory comes, it will be will be ours"
The artist, Sabrina, sits next to her sidewalk mural: an image of a Black woman with hoop earrings shedding a tear painted with bold colors. There is dialog bubble that says “One day when the Glory comes, it will be ours…it will be ours”

Tell us about your art involvement at NC State 

I am currently in the Arts Studies Program with a Visual Arts Concentration and an Arts Entrepreneurship minor. My freshman year, I founded the Arts Club at NC State with Khalil Harrison and we are both in our second year of being Co-Presidents. Alongside that, I have two internships in social media content and digital design, one with Arts Engagement and Outreach at Arts NC State and one with the Caldwell Fellows Program. Outside of school, I enjoy making collages with magazines, oil painting, photography, bullet journaling, and yoga. This year, I participated in my first public art project for the City of Raleigh, the Raleigh Art Beats 2020, a project that selected artists to make sidewalk painting in downtown Raleigh.

How did you find out about/get accepted to this public art project?

I saw an Artist Call on the Raleigh Arts Instagram in the summer of 2020 and found that I met all the qualifications for the project. I applied for the position and submitted a couple of my past pieces and my proposal for what I would create if given the chance. I didn’t know what my piece would look like at the time, but I made it clear that I wanted it to be tied to the Black Lives Matter movement. About a month later I got an email saying I was selected alongside other artists in the Raleigh area. The following months were filled with solidifying plans, location, research, sketch of the piece, etc. I was able to begin the piece on October 2nd of 2020.

What did you like and learn during this process?

My favorite part of this process was when people came up while I was painting and told me that they loved the piece, or asked me questions about my work, or told me that they were artists too! I met a lot of great people who showed a huge amount of support for the work I was doing. Unfortunately, there were also a couple of people who weren’t so happy with the message I was sending. In one instance, a passerby was visibly unhappy with the work I was doing and spilled the paint I was using on top of the piece. Others were not as aggressive but simply voiced out their disagreements. One important thing I learned from this is that I have to be strong and have concrete values that I am willing to uphold during tough times. I know that I can’t let others’ words get to me because I will never be able to please everyone, but having a vision or reason that you can go back to when you are feeling down is helpful to ground yourself in your values and intentions. To get through the mental and emotional toll that comes with doing a public art project and being a socially conscious artist, I practiced reflection, meditation, and journaling.

What are you up to spring semester 2021?

Right now I am involved in a couple of organizations at NC State and do on-going art projects in my free time. For the Arts Club, Khalil Harrison (the Co-President of the Arts Club) and I are planning virtual events and opportunities for our members this semester. We are looking into offering an Arts Bootcamp for a couple of our members and a virtual Art Show for members to showcase their work. In my internship with Arts NC State, I focus on contacting student organizations to write blogs about them and research social media strategies and projects to keep engagement up on the Twitter and Instagram accounts. At home, I have been doing a lot of work on my sketchbook to experiment with portraiture and painting. In general, I am looking for small pockets in my day where I can do art and exercise creativity to de-stress and continue enriching my passion.

Anything else you want to share?

This is going to be corny but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to share your ideas. Before getting accepted to this project, I had applied to three other projects and competitions where I got rejected. I am glad that didn’t stop me from applying; I knew that at some point someone had to say yes to me. When I first got accepted, I researched the other artists that were also participating and the majority were out of college and already established in their fields. That was definitely intimidating at first, but this opportunity  gave me the experience and confidence I needed to keep sharing my artwork with others and get closer to where I want to be in my career. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to do this project and I can’t wait to participate in the next project.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about art my Instagram handle is @sabrivisuals!

Finally, enjoy this time lapse and commentary I made about this project.