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San Luis Obispo seeks to increase public art over next 10 years 

San Luis Obispo art at the SLO Skate Park – photo credit the City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department

City wants more murals and modern art, requests public art be a priority

– The city of San Luis Obispo’s public art program will expand significantly over the next decade, according to the new San Luis Obispo Public Art Master Plan, reflecting the community’s desire to, “make public art a priority.”

The city’s first art master plan, which was approved 5-0 by the council at a recent meeting, was developed during a year-long public engagement campaign and includes major goals that will serve as a roadmap for the present and future. In the first three years of the 10-year plan, the city will focus on preserving the 76 art pieces currently on display while launching an expansion of temporary art projects. Long-term goals include the possibility of creating city staff dedicated to public art, along with exploring creative partnerships and unique ways to increase funding for the program.

Credit: City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department

SLO City Utility Box Art – Credit City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department

San Luis Obispo public art history

The city established a public art program in 1990, according to the plan, with a goal of procuring public art that is accessible and reflects the city’s culture and residents. To get a sense of the community’s current desires, the city received feedback from over 400 people, who participated in multiple public meetings, interviews, online surveys and community workshops. Based on their input, the plan was devised to include five goals, which include celebrating public art more; preserving existing public art; making it easier for public art to be integrated into private development; encouraging new art forms and exploring different staffing and community partnership models.

Types of public art wanted

As for the types of art the public wanted, participants overwhelmingly supported adding murals to the city’s art collection. Modern, temporary and functional art were also favorably viewed. The city’s existing art collection includes murals, mosaics, oil and watercolor paintings, sculptures and more. There is currently around $420,000 available in the public art fund. The city contributes between $18,000 and $35,000 to the public art fund annually. Other public art funding comes from matching grants, private donations and developers, who must include art in new projects under a private development ordinance.

To donate artwork to the city, please fill out this application.



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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at