Downtown San Luis Obispo will look a lot 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 the windows of their storefronts. 

This is the third year of The May Flower Initiative Community Art Project, created by Downtown SLO. With the purpose of bringing positivity to San Luis Obispo during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Downtown SLO launched The May Flower Initiative. The project connected business owners and artists in a simple, lighthearted way. 

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

“The community here is so kind, so beautiful… While I worked, people would pass by and say the most lovely things to me, or they would just smile, and I could see their reflections in the glass,” Garcia said. 

Artists were given the creative freedom to lighten up storefronts. Many artists painted flowers, but some painted waves, animals or abstract art. Time to complete the project was also up to the individual artist. 

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

The popularity and positive feedback of The May Flower Initiative resulted in the project to occur annually. With this year being the third consecutive year of the project, people can expect to see more than Window Blooms this year. 

The addition of two events will occur during this year’s May Flower Initiative. During the entire month of May, families can participate in the Sweet Pea Scavenger Hunt. Parenting with the Children’s Museum, the scavenger hunt gifts children with a sweet pea growing kit, aligning with the museum’s sweet pea programming this month. 

Another event that started Friday is Skate Mission Plaza, a pop-up roller skating rink in Mission Plaza, in front of Mission San Luis Obispo. Skate Mission Plaza will feature themed nights and special guests. 

A map of the participating businesses and artists can be found here

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