While strolling around San Luis Obispo these days, you may have noticed new murals on several downtown facades.
The murals are the result of a variety of artistic endeavors.
A Marsh Street Bridge mural depicting a floral scene was coordinated by the SLO County Arts Council and the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and painted by Marmalade Mural Co., a creative firm comprised of artists Amy McKay, Missy Reitner and Neal Breton.
McKay, a former landscape architect, came up with the idea and cited her favorite native wildflowers on the Central Coast as the inspiration, according to a press release.
Reconstruction of the bridge was completed earlier this year, strengthening and improving the city’s roadway.
In a separate project, Marmalade Mural Co. also created another mural at 2640 Broad St., the building owned by the Natural Healing Center, showcasing familiar landmarks throughout SLO County, including the Mission, settlements vineyards and the coastline.
Fremont Theater and Woodstock Mural
Additionally, SLOMA commissioned Boston-based artist Maria Molteni to transform the back of the Fremont Theater with a mural that wraps around Woodstock’s Pizza, featuring a colorful depiction that draws inspiration from the peaks of the Seven Sisters Mountains.
Molteni, who identifies with them/their pronouns, uses a “really intentional research process and wants to make sure the work reflects the community, and their style in general is that they include a really intentional use of color” , Emma said. Saperstein, chief curator of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
Saperstein added: “Maria has brilliantly connected this to the Pleiades, the star cluster of Greek mythology, and much of the symbolism that develops on the mural wall connects the seven Morros to the seven Pleiades.”
“If you look at the picture, you can see there are the seven peaks that are painted, and then the ship on the wall in Woodstock has seven sails, and that’s in reference to how the cluster of Pleaides star was used for ocean navigation,” Saperstein said.
Saperstein said the public art planning, which took place in coordination with the municipal government of SLO, strives to find ways to represent community identity through the work.
“As you walk downtown, a lot of people take Higuera Street, and we really want the murals to feel like they identify with downtown and the city,” Saperstein said. . “There is a similar dialogue happening with roundabouts. We want to do to show, ‘How do you know when you enter San Luis Obispo and what can we do to identify our city?’