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May Flower Initiative Expanded for Second Year in Downtown San Luis Obispo

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA, April 27, 2021 – By popular demand, the May Flower Initiative returns to Downtown San Luis Obispo in May. The May Flower Initiative launched in May 2020 as a community art project during the first COVID-19 shutdown, a time of great uncertainty. The initial purpose was to give people a reason to safely visit and support downtown businesses and bring joy and hope to our district. This year’s May Flower Initiative will showcase the creativity, innovation, and resilience of local businesses, their employees, and local artists, transforming the windows of businesses and buildings into canvases on display for the public to enjoy.

In 2021, 87 locations will be decorated by 75 artists, who will create beautiful floral artwork in the storefront windows for the public to admire. The initiative will also include a Plaza Pop-Up featuring decorations and activities in Mission Plaza in partnership with the City of San Luis Obispo.

Downtown SLO was one of ten recipients in the nationwide Main Street Resiliency Grant Program from Main Street America, designed to help Main Street Organizations navigate the impacts of the pandemic and position their communities for a full recovery. This grant fund is made possible through the generosity of Joe and Marge Grills of Rapidan, Virginia. The grant will help support the overall program and provide a materials stipend for each artist.

“These grant recipients demonstrate the creativity and entrepreneurial thinking that have historically driven successful revitalization on Main Street and will be key to navigating recovery,” said Main Street America’s President and CEO Patrice Frey. “I’m inspired by the innovative projects these communities have proposed, and I know they will serve as models and sources of inspiration for Main Street programs across the country as they enter the next phase of reopening.”

Window Blossoms

Walk through Downtown San Luis Obispo to see business windows and light poles decorated with cheery blossoms. With more than 85 locations, visitors are invited to visit Downtown multiple times to see all of the May Flowers. A map of the May Flower locations will be on display in Mission Plaza and available online.

See below (page three on attached PDF) for a complete list of Participating Businesses and Artists. Downtown SLO would like to thank all of the business and property owners for their enthusiasm surrounding this project. Thanks also to the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council for their assistance with the Call for Artists. 

Downtown SLO is exceedingly grateful to the 75 artists who have dedicated their time, talent, and creativity to this initiative. Each window is a different and carefully crafted work of art.

“Spring represents a sense of new, fresh beginnings, which has made being a part of The May Flower Initiative so amazing! My daughters and I loved creating the window art for Hotel SLO! Miners Ace Hardware even donated paints to us to use. We are grateful to be among so many talented artists making downtown SLO bloom in May.” - Rani Shah, artist

“Habitat Home and Garden is so proud to be a part of the Downtown community and its commitment to bring everyone together again! Our artist, Laura Best, was a dream to work with and we are so grateful for all of her effort to make our storefront special. We can't wait to see all of the windows come to life!" - Rachel Ventura, Habitat Home and Garden 

Plaza Pop-Up

Downtown SLO is thrilled to partner with the City of San Luis Obispo as the May partner for the Plaza Pop-Up program. Recognizing their economic, social and intrinsic value of arts, the City of SLO pivoted their annual Cultural Grants-In-Aid program to reflect the current environment and provide a new avenue for nonprofits to partner with the City and connect with the community. These immersive events strive to create happiness, hope and love for San Luis Obispo from residents and visitors alike. Arts are an essential part of our city and improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors - and they have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. This program is a creative way to reignite interactions and put the arts front and center. The goal of this program is to provide safe ways for the community to experience downtown and support arts and the community. 

The Plaza Pop-Up in Mission Plaza will be the centerpiece of The May Flower Initiative. Guests are invited to order takeout and enjoy it at the tables and chairs, onsite daily from 11 am - 8 pm. The Plaza Pop-Up will include:

  • “Spring Wings,” an art piece designed and built by the Cal Poly Rose Float Team. With the theme of local love in mind, Spring Wings tells a story of resurgence and change, represented by an installation featuring a garden display centering around a giant butterfly poised to take flight. The Rose Float Team will be installing this in three phases, on May 8, May 15, and May 22
  • Colorful, interactive photo station created by Karson Butler Events, featuring ornamental horticulture butterflies designed by the Cal Poly Rose Float Team
  • A Map of all 87 Window Blooms with a suggested walking tour
  • Chalk Art Mural “The Progression of Motherhood” by Katy McGrath of Badger Branding, perfect for Mother’s Day celebrations on May 9
  • Chalk art by Trust Automation Children’s Center Volunteers Chalk Art Crew
  • 8-foot-tall lighted California poppy decoration perfect for photos

Scavenger Hunt — "Find and Protect the Monarchs"

Families can pick up a card with clues for the scavenger hunt at Mission Plaza. They will use their way-finding skills to walk around and find the butterflies in five different locations throughout downtown. Along the way, they will learn information about monarch migration and how they know which directions to fly. They will end up at the SLO Children’s Museum and children will receive a packet of milkweed seeds to plant in their garden to entice butterflies. Brought to you in partnership with the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.

About the presenting organization

Downtown SLO is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(6) membership organization working to foster an economically vibrant Downtown. Downtown SLO coordinates events and programs to activate public spaces in downtown, including the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market, returning May 6, from 6-9 pm. Friends of Downtown SLO is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable foundation supporting a clean, safe, and beautiful downtown. Connect with Downtown SLO on Instagram & Facebook or visit





1122 Green Cures, 1122 Chorro | Artist, Crystal Williams

Achievement House Boutique, 553 Higuera | Artist, Heather Cruce

Active Church at Fremont, 1035 Monterey | Artist, Katharine Tompkin

Active Coffee Co, 570 Higuera | Artist, Julian Hart

Ambiance, 737 Higuera | Artist, Staff/Family

Apropos, 1021 Morro | Artist, Heather Hiramatsu

Avanti, 796 Higuera | Artist, Kelly Knox

B. Anthony & Company, 674 Higuera | Artist, Josie Redberg

B.Studio, 570 Higuera, Suite 140 | Artist, Jocelyn Medina

Big Sky Cafe, Inc, 1121 Broad | Artist, Molly Paulick

Black Sheep Bar & Grill, 1117 Chorro | Artist, Staff/Family

Blackhorse Espresso and Bakery, 1065 Higuera, Suite 101 | Artist, Sara Rianda

Blackwater, 705 Higuera | Artist, Adrianna Domingo

BladeRunner Salon & Spa, 741 Higuera | Artists, BladeRunner Staff

Bluebird Salon, 742 Marsh | Artist, Kristiana Daly

Boo Boo Records, 978 Monterey | Artist, Jennifer Stephenson

Buen Dia, 1023 Broad | Artist, Staff/Family

Cal Poly Downtown, 767 Higuera | Artist, Crystal Williams

Central Coast Surfboards, 855 Marsh | Artist, Sarah Appleman

Chinelo, 1131 Broad | Artist, Laura Lozano

City Hall, 990 Palm | Artists, Jenny Chang, Hannah Stephens & Linnaea Marks

City of SLO Utilities Department, 879 Morro | Artists, Jenny Chang, Hannah Stephens & Linnaea Marks

Downtown Baby, 1250 Osos | Artist, Downtown SLO Staff

Downtown SLO, 1135 Chorro | Artist, Emily Allis

EcoBambino, 863 Monterey | Artist, Cindy Burnside

Finders Keepers, 1124 Garden | Artist, Judy Maynard

Finney's Crafthouse, 857 Monterey | Artist, Sequoia Wolfe

Flip Flop Shops, 716 Higuera | Artist, Jackie Nguyen

Flour House Inc., 690 Higuera | Artist, Olivia Andersson

Garden Street Goldsmiths, 1114-1118 Garden | Artist, Cindy Burnside

Growing Grounds Downtown, 956 Chorro | Artist, Merrilee Donald

Habitat Home & Garden, 777 Marsh | Artist, Laura Best

Hands Gallery, 777 Higuera | Artist, Sophia Brody

Hemp Shak, 781 Higuera | Artist Abbey Onikoyi

Hepkat Clothing, 785 Higuera | Artist, Staff/Family

Hotel SLO, 877 Palm | Artist, Rani Shah

HumanKind Fair Trade, 982 Monterey | Artist, Piper Bean

Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, 1028 Chorro | Artist, Carey Lynch

Jamba, 890 Marsh | Artist, Ruth Collis

Joliene Bakery, 570 Higuera, Suite 180 | Artist, Alysia Hook

Junk Girls, 870 Monterey | Artists, Jerry & Kim Scott

Karson Butler Events at the Ah Louis Store, 800 Palm | Artist, Karson Butler Events

Kult, 1035 Chorro | Artist, Anisha Arellano

La Esquina Taqueria, 1051 Nipomo | Artist, Carolyn Adams

Linnaea's Cafe, 1110 Garden | Artist, Katie Tam

Maison Marianne, 970 Chorro | Artist, Virginia Butcher

Mannikins Tailoring, 1016 Morro | Artist, Travis Koch

McCarthy’s Irish Pub, 600 Marsh | Artist, Katy McGrath

McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, 868 Monterey | Artist, Charmaine Martinez

Michael's Optical, 719 Higuera | Artist, Natalie Emma Stanfield

Mint + Craft, 848 Monterey | Artist, Downtown SLO Staff 

Mon Ami Crepe Bar, 1075 Court | Artist, Natalie Gann (Owner)

Moondoggies, 837 Monterey | Artist, MJ Johnson

Mr. Michaels, 746 Higuera, Suite 2 | Artist, Juan Manual Perez Salazar

Novo Restaurant & Lounge, 726 Higuera | Artist, Kelly Knox

Old San Luis BBQ Co., 670 Higuera | Artist, Allison Feigin

Park 1039, 1039 Chorro | Artist, Ellery Lewark

Patrick James, 641 Higuera, Suite 100 | Artist, Annette Adamski

Ragtag Wine Co., 779 Higuera | Artist, Nicki Nysven

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 848 Higuera | Artist, Jenny Chang

Rogers Jewelry Co., 720 Higuera | Artist, Rachel Corvese

Salon62, 1112 Garden | Artist, Staff/Family

San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, 895 Monterey | Artist, Frank Walker

San Luis Obispo Children's Museum, 1010 Nipomo | Artist, Brigette Parzych

Scout Coffee Co., 1130 Garden | Artist, Cason Schirmer

SeaBreeze Cupcakes & Sweet Treats, 570 Higuera, Suite 135 | Artist, Erica Stewart

Sequoia Sandwich Company, 893 Higuera | Artist, Travis Koch

Sheila Kearns Chocolate & Confections, 722 Marsh | Artist, Staff/Family

Shift Hair Salon, 1050 Broad | Artist, Kelly Knox