Self-described workaholic and graphic communications junior Mia Lew put the skills she’s learned through her event planning minor into her “Bitchin’ DIY Pop-up” event, meant to bring artists in San Luis Obispo “out of their funk” and back into the art world.

Lew brought together a group of friends and designers to create a pop-up where Cal Poly students and San Luis Obispo locals can sell and display their work, as well as come together with other artists. 

The pop-up — the first event Lew planned herself — hosted multiple vendors selling items from prints to jewelry to ceramics. There were also student photographers taking photos.

“I wanted this to be like you feel you’re part of this artistic community and possibly get out of that bubble or that feeling because you’re surrounded by a lot of people who are just as passionate as you are,” Lew said. 

Lew said she had many of the ideas for the event for quite some time. She went through one of her professor’s lectures on event planning to make sure she was creating not just an event but also an experience. 

“Instead of just buying stuff there was other things that you could do to spend time there,” Lew said. 

Aside from purchasing items, shoppers could add to the community collage table, have their tarot cards read and take polaroid photos. Seeing everyone’s work come together on the collage table, Lew said, was her favorite part. 

“There’s so many funny things on the collage that people did and spent time on,” Lew said. 

The event, which was hosted in a friend’s backyard, brought in roughly 200 or so shoppers, according to Lew. Her team made 120 flyers, one for each group, which they ran out of.

Attendees wore masks while hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies were available. 

Graphic communications junior and Lew’s friend Elisa Monroe was University Graphic Systems’ (UGS) representative at the event. At her table, attendees could make pins and tumblers using their own print designs or choose from a pre-made selection. 

Monroe said she most enjoyed watching people socialize. 

“Everyone was smiling the entire time,” Monroe said. “Everyone I looked at was just in a good mood.”

Both Lew and Monroe said the process of creating the pop-up was overwhelming but they felt the event was successful.

They agreed that both the attendees and vendors had fun. Whether or not the vendors had prior experience working an event, they were “super stoked” with how it turned out, Lew said. 

Aside from the wind, the one complication Lew said she ran into was when the welcome banner fell down. 

“When things did happen, it was definitely taken care of in like two seconds,” Lew said. “Everybody was so on board.”

There was also a hygiene drop-off station, where people could bring hygiene products that they will put in bags and deliver to the homeless community, as well as a raffle. Ten percent of the event’s proceeds also went to the Gala Pride and Diversity Center in San Luis Obispo, Lew said. 

“If I have this power to bring people together I might as well use it to get people to bring toothbrushes,” she said. 

Graphic communications senior Rachel Gorban worked on the graphics for the event. She took inspiration from the 60s springtime to create a flier with orange and pink flowers and mushrooms. 

“We wanted this to be a really bitchin’, cool place that people can come together and experience art and music and have a really nice weekend,” Gorban said. 

Gorban said she missed the community atmosphere that comes with art events and felt the pop-up would reconnect artists to one another.

Working with others who “speak the same language” as her has helped Gorban realize that graphic design is exactly what she wants to do with her life, she said.

“We’ve all taken from Mia’s event planning skills and Elisa’s management and printmaking skills combined with my design skills, and our cumulative aesthetic ideas and love of all of this,” Gorban said. “It’s been really rewarding to see it come together.”

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