There’s something about the tranquil setting of Los Osos, with its freshwater ponds, wetlands and cypress trees that is a source of inspiration for Barbara and Robert Rosenthal.
“I can open my garage door and watch the fog creep up into the hills,” said Barbara Rosenthal. “The open spaces and rural setting help me to create. We love living here.”
Barbara and Robert “Rosey” Rosenthal are both nationally known artists who have lived for more than 30 years in Los Osos, a community rich with creative residents.
“There are more artists per capita living here than anywhere in SLO County,” Robert Rosenthal said. “Besides the art community, we live near colleges and we have a lot of culture nearby. We’re close to everything, but we’re tucked away.”
The Rosenthals, who lived in Long Beach before coming upon the small coastal town three decades ago, knew they had found their home as they drove down Los Osos Valley Road.
“We felt that the beauty of the place was perfect for our art,” Barbara said. “It’s less expensive than other places in the county, and it has that laissez-faire type of feeling. You can be a free spirit here.”
Barbara said the charming town is not without its debates.
“We’re in the process of healing over the sewer controversy,” she said referring to a 30-year debate over installing a sewer system in Los Osos. “It’s a complicated town.”
When it finally becomes operational in 2016, the $183 million system will replace septic tanks that contaminated the groundwater supply. Fifty miles of pipelines were installed last year, and construction of a treatment plant is now underway.
The Rosenthals have seen their neighborhood change through the years — mainly more homes built and growing trees that have blocked their view of the bay — so they are moving closer to the water.
They will move from a neighborhood near Montaña de Oro State Park to a home in Baywood Park, overlooking the Morro Bay National Estuary. Their house, which includes their studio, is next to one of the preserve’s bird-watching platforms.
They couldn’t be more excited to find new inspiration for their art, which they will continue to share with those who haven’t discovered their community.
“This isn’t really a town that is filled with stores and tourist traps, it’s a town where you enjoy the outdoors,” Robert said. “Which is the reason, of course, that the place is just crawling with artists.”