Monthly art pop-up shows coming to Mission Plaza in SLO


“Through the Flowers” is one of a planned series of art installation pop-ups to occur monthly at Mission Plaza.

City of SLO Facebook page

A series of monthlong popup installations will bring colorful, interactive art to Mission Plaza through the summer in partnership with cultural nonprofits.

The first of the downtown San Luis Obispo pop-ups is called “Through the Flowers,” created in collaboration with the city and the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA).

The creation of artist Laurie Shapiro will be up through the end of April.

Additional plaza pop-ups will be posted each month this summer featuring a different cultural nonprofit.

SLO city funding will contribute to the art installations, which will be unique to each of the nonprofits’ missions.

“Arts are an essential part of our community and improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors,” said Molly Cano, SLO’s tourism manager. “We are thrilled to be able to support community partners through this pilot program while safely welcoming people to experience our beautiful downtown.”

Shapiro used “drawn screen prints and layers of painting on transparent vinyl to create an immersive, outdoor environment for San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza,” the news release noted.

“We have all experienced the separateness of isolation due to COVID this past year,” Shapiro said in a statement. “This installation is meant to invoke creativity and play — a safe way for us to come together and be inspired. I anticipate this installation drawing many visitors to the city center, creating an inspiring space that uplifts, motivates and brings joy.”

“Through the Flowers” by artist Laurie Shapiro is one of a planned series of art installation pop-ups to occur monthly at Mission Plaza. City of San Luis Obispo Facebook page

Art installations bring joy

The initiative comes in response to “great enthusiasm over the (winter) holidays with the Mission Plaza activations.”

“SLOMA strives to make art accessible for any and everyone, and this passive art experience is a beautiful extension of the museum, itself just steps outside of Mission Plaza,” the Chamber noted in its release.

Visitors are encouraged to look at and interact with the playful exhibit, which has a custom-lit interior and is “rich in layers of color and paint.”

“The museum is honored to be invited as the first partner in this program,” said Leann Standish, SLOMA’s executive director, in a statement. “The opportunity to present this joyful installation is particularly meaningful right now as we begin plans to reopen.”

May’s activation will be a partnership with Downtown SLO and the nonprofit’s “May Flower initiative.”

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.