The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA) received a $400,000 grant from the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors Sept. 15 after a unanimous vote to further continue their $15 million three-story museum project.

The small nook at 1010 Broad St. embodies the true essence and soul of San Luis Obispo County. SLOMA has served the community for 65 years, showcasing various projects that promote inclusivity and celebrate the variety of cultures that make up San Luis Obispo.

Established in 1952, SLOMA has curated top quality work as a museum. As the city of San Luis Obispo began to grow, SLOMA’s art scene flourished, but the museum staff felt limited in what they could take on.

“We had outgrown our space,” SLOMA Executive Director Karen Kile said. “That’s when the expansion plan was born.”

The plan is intended to create a three-story, triple exhibition museum that would include art classrooms and other community-oriented amenities.

Beginning the project in 2001, Kile was an initial orchestrator in acknowledging the need for a bigger museum to keep up with San Luis Obispo’s growing community. Kile put together a team to ensure contracts continue, deal with budget costs and mitigate leasing issues. The initial design was ultimately approved in 2008 by the Board of Directors, but was immediately placed on hold due to the economic recession.

However, Kile was not deterred from pursuing her vision. With the help of Howard Caroll, a trustee of the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust, a grant was guaranteed to the project that later became the true foundation for the enterprise.

“He approached us. He said, ‘I think the time is right, Karen. Let’s go out there and get it,’” Kile said. “More commitments and pledges began to come in — everyone was starting to wake up.”

With decades invested in the project, the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors recently encouraged and pushed to make the project more tangible for the near future.

“Our plan is to break ground at the end of 2019 if we raise all the money,” Kile said.

The $15 million cost of the project includes $12 million for the actual building and a $3 million reserve to ensure full operation of the facilities once the building project is completed.

Kile accredits the success of the expansion plan to the San Luis Obispo community’s support and their desire of maintaining the cultural landscapes SLOMA offers.

“We don’t want to do easy for the sake of convenience,” Kile said. “We curate and work for quality first to ensure the best representation for the community.”

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