May Flower Initiative: Local Artists Paint Downtown San Luis Obispo Businesses

Downtown San Luis Obispo will be much more colorful this month thanks to local artists. More than 50 San Luis Obispo businesses have partnered with local artists to paint floral artwork on their storefront windows.

This is the third year of The May Flower Initiative community art project, created by Downtown SLO. In an effort to bring positivity to San Luis Obispo during the first COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, Downtown SLO has launched The May Flower Initiative. The project connected business owners and artists in a simple and light way.

After painting for the May Flower Initiative for the first time this year, Amanda Garcia said she has “never been so proud to be a part of San Luis Obispo.”

“The community here is so nice, so beautiful…While I was working, people would come by and say the nicest things to me, or they would just smile, and I could see their reflections in the glass,” Garcia said.

The artists had the creative freedom to lighten the windows. Many artists painted flowers, but some painted waves, animals, or abstract art. The time it took to complete the project also depended on the individual artist.

“Some started as early as mid-April, others are still painting,” said Rachel Lackmann, Downtown SLO’s marketing and communications coordinator. “Some artists did it in a day, some in a week or so.”

The popularity and positive feedback from The May Flower Initiative has resulted in the project taking place every year. With this year being the project’s third consecutive year, people can expect to see more than just Window Blooms this year.

The addition of two events will take place during this year’s May Flower initiative. Throughout the month of May, families can participate in the sugar snap pea hunt. Parenting with the Children’s Museum, the scavenger hunt offers kids a sweet pea grow kit, aligning with the museum’s sweet pea programming this month.

Another event that started on Friday is Skate Mission Plaza, a pop-up skating rink at Mission Plaza, across from Mission San Luis Obispo. Skate Mission Plaza will feature theme nights and special guests.

A map of participating businesses and artists is available here.

“Being able to inspire others to spark their own creativity and give kids a confidence boost was an unexpected and deeply inspiring experience for me,” said May Flower Initiative artist Kelly Knox. “I look forward to this initiative every year now.”