Public art abounds in San Luis Obispo

Check out 16 painted utility boxes downtown

Special to The TribuneOctober 5, 2012 

‘MCA’ is a tribute to the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch by Stenzskull, who is participating in the BoxArt program.


“Box art.”

Sounds like something your favorite kindergartner might give you — probably an empty 8-ounce milk carton painted a single drab color.

Turns out you’ve probably seen box art when riding on the passenger side through downtown San Luis Obispo or while waiting to cross the street. The 16 painted utility boxes sponsored by the city of San Luis Obispo in 2010 for its visual arts in public places program are far from childish or drab.

Download a map ( and go for a stroll if you haven’t already admired each one.

The city called for additional artists earlier this year and enticed them with stipends of $1,500 for the large boxes and $1,000 for the smaller boxes. Four of the artists, Amy McKay, Marcie Hawthorne, Ryan Williams and Marcia Harvey, are returning participants from 2010.

Others selected for the second round of the box art project are Jeff Claassen, Abbey Onikoyi, Stenzskull (Dan Woehrle), Forever Stoked (Chris Pedersen and Charlie Clingman), Julie Frankel, Jane Pomeroy, Alister Dippner, Ryan Williams, Lena Rushing and Rachel LaBonte.

Each of the artists has a web presence and their work runs the gamut from murals to stencil art to fine art to pop art. Take a peek while you’re waiting for the new boxes to be unveiled this month. The tentative day for painting was Saturday (Oct. 6).

While I’ve got you thinking about public art … have you picked up the brochure put out by the San Luis Obispo Gallery Association? It’s a guide to galleries and public art. Guess how many public art pieces they rounded up. I’ll get you started with Elizabeth MacQueen’s Puck sculpture at the Downtown Center. How many of the other 78 (!) can you name? Grab a copy at your favorite downtown gallery. I think I got mine at The Gallery at the Network.

Bubblegum Alley was deemed public art. Discuss.

I missed the statewide juried printmaking exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Art Museum earlier this year, but I won’t want to miss the return of the first place artist Masha Schweitzer. Looks like she’s the real deal. The Museum of Art and the Central Coast Printmakers Society will present “Journeys and Reflections” Oct. 12-28 in the McMeen Gallery.

The exhibit, in recognition of her first place showing, will highlight her different printmaking techniques and subject matter.

“My motivation comes from direct visual experience, including memories, dreams or nightmares I have that reflect aspects of the human condition,” Schweitzer said in press materials.

She has exhibited internationally and is a board member of the Los Angeles Printmaking Society and the Los Angeles Printmaking Society Foundation.

Schweitzer will talk about her work and techniques at 2 p.m. followed by a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the museum, 1010 Broad St., San Luis Obispo.

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