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Downtown Windows “Bloom” with Public Art

San Luis Obispo, CA-Since the public health emergency that has shut down retail shops and closed many restaurants, with others offering reduced service, the vibrance of our quaint and charming city center has quieted. The normal hustle and bustle of Downtown San Luis Obispo city sidewalks has slowed while our community shelters at home. April was a quiet, rainy month, and with plans underway to move into the nextphase of restrictions, Downtown SLO created the program to showcase the creativity and resilience in our Downtown. In May, many windows of Downtown SLO will be transformed into art galleries displaying the creativity of local businesses, their employees, and local artists lending their talents to put some cheer on display.

The May Flower Initiative launches May 1, with colorful floral artwork and displays appearing in more than 50 Downtown SLO storefront windows, with more being added throughout the month.

Downtown SLO, the nonprofit Business Association coordinated the effort, asking businesses to participate. Arts Obispo, the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council, sent a call for artists, and Downtown SLO Staff matched artists with businesses.

“We are looking forward to the time when it’s appropriate to welcome all visitors back to Downtown, but for now, we just want you to take a minute to remember that spring showers bring May Flowers, and the creativityand resilience of our community shines bright even while we are not able to gather,” Downtown SLO CEO Bettina Swigger said.

The May Flower Initiative will continue to evolve through the month of May, as businesses and artists continue to become involved. As of May 1, 52 businesses have agreed to participate. The Initiative has been well-received.

Paula DeLay, artist, expressed her gratitude, “Thank you for organizing such an uplifting cultural event for our wonderful downtown.” DeLay’s flowers are on display at HumanKind Fair Trade and Passport on Monterey.

1135 Chorro Street| San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 | Phone: (805) 541-0286 | Fax: (805) | DowntownSLO.comThe Initiative has also resonated with downtown business owners and employees. Lauren Christensen, co-owner of Sidecar Cocktail Co. and The Penny, said, “I contacted our staff that are on furlough at Sidecar and some of them are so excited and inspired by the idea. I’ve also shared with my kids who smiled so big when I told them they get to paint our windows! This will undoubtedly bring joy to all patrons who see it, but it will also brighten the dayand give hope to many of our staff who really need it at this time. I don’t think we all really appreciated our downtown and its streets, its cast of regular characters, and the hum of its ‘aliveness’ until now, and the May Flowers remind us all of what was and what will be again.”

To view the May Flower Initiative completed works, see a map of locations. Interested people are encouraged to view the works from the safety of their vehicle, from a bicycle, or on foot, while maintaining proper 6’ physical distancing from other people.

Downtown SLO, the organization, is responsible for coordinating many large public events, including the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market, Concerts in the Plaza, and Holiday Activities like Santa’s House and the Annual Holiday Parade. These programs are on hold until further direction is given from the State and County Departments of Public Health.

May Flower locations, as of May 1.

*Check for a frequently-updated map.

  • Ambiance Boutiques, 737 Higuera, “We are SLO Stronger Together” by Sadie Rogers
  • Bambu Batu1023 Broad, Art TBD
  • Basalt Interiors766 Higuera, “CA Poppies, whimsical, Rooted” by Heraldo Family Photo
  • Big Sky Café1121 Broad, by Sara McGrath
  • Black Sheep Bar & Grill1117 Chorro, “May the flowers remind us why the rain was so necessary” by@lil.nicky@jessrost
  • Blackwater705 Higuera suite E, “Flowers of Hope” by Blackwater
  • Creeky Tiki782 Higuera, by Christine Marie
  • Downtown SLO, 1135 Chorro, “We Are Downtown SLO” by Bettina Swigger, Karl Deardorff, Niesha Johnston &SLO Repertory Theatre’s Dave Linfield
  • EcoBambino, 863 Monterey Street, “At Home Together” by Charlotte Bysshe
  • Fanny Wrappers799 Higuera Street, “Woman is like a rose, if you treat her well, she'll bloom” by Fanny WrappersStaff
  • Frog & Peach Pub728 Higuera Street, by Ami Lynn Usrey
  • Hotel SLO, 877 Palm, “Growing Forward” by Skye McLennan ofSLO Film Fest
  • Hunter Salon, 1421 Monterey Street, by Bri Vaghn & Family
  • HumanKind Fair Trade982 Monterey, by Paula DeLay
  • Junkgirls870 Monterey, by Jenny Chang
  • Len Collective715 Higuera, Art by Shannon Len& Staff
  • Linnaeas Café1110 Garden, “Spring on Garden” by Lauren Birkhahn
  • Maison Marianne970 Chorro, by Maison Marianne
  • McCarthy’s Irish Pub, 600 Marsh, Art by Katy McGrath
  • Moondoggies Beach Club837 Monterey, Art by Jennifer Randall
  • Old San Luis BBQ670 Higuera, Art by Bailey Nichole
  • Quaglino Properties Office1075 Court, Art TBD
  • Mon Ami Crepe Bar1075 Court Street #130, Art by Natalie Gann
  • Passport968 Monterey Street, Art by PaulaDeLayRogers Jewelry Co720 Higuera, Art TBD
  • San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce895 Monterey, Art by Frank Walker
  • San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, 1010 Broad, Art TBD
  • Sauer Adobe, 964 Chorro, Lynn Hessler & Merrilee Donald
  • Sidecar Cocktail Co., 1127 Broad, Art by the Christensen Family
  • SLO Children's Museum, 1010 Nipomo, “Sun Flowers of SLO” by C.L. Smith Elementary Students
  • SLO Repertory Theatre, 888 Morro, Art by Suzy Newman & Lisa Langere
  • SLO History Center, 696 Monterey, Art byLiz Maruska
  • SLO Swim, 795 Higuera, “April showers bring May flowers” by Shelly Filips
  • SLO Yoga Center, 72 Higuera St. #200, “We are resilient” by Kaya Stackhouse
  • Summerland Co.1019 Morro, Art by Summerland Co. with paper flowers from Molly Kern
  • Stephen Patrick Design888 Monterey Street, Art by Catherine Panofski
  • The Blade Runner, 741 Higuera, Art by Joey Salazar
  • The Library Bar, 723 Higuera, Art TBD
  • The Mountain Air667 Marsh Street, Art by Chloe Tinglof
  • The Penny, 664 Marsh, Art by The Penny
  • The Sock Drawer, 852 Higuera, Art by Jess Tringali