Look! Up in the sky!

A local group has a project it hopes will fly —or at least get off the ground: mobiles.

The Foundation for San Luis Obispo Public

Libraries is looking for people to make mobiles based on book titles, authors or characters. Clubs, groups, classrooms and individuals are urged to get involved.

Mobiles are not just something to hang over babies’ cribs for entertainment. They’ve been considered an art form since American kinetic artist Alexander Calder created them in the early 1920s. Calder is among those who influenced San Luis Obispo artist James Jacobson.

Jacobson turned a 30-year-old mobile-making hobby into a profession six years ago. Jacobson’s work is now situated around town as public art. He’s lending his expertise to the current project, a collaboration between Friends of the Library groups, the SLO Arts Council, local artists, kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and Cal Poly.

"I’m sort of the token mobile artist," says Jacobson, who is on the project’s steering committee, along with foundation president Robert London.

Many libraries already host art exhibits, but as wall space is often scarce, mobiles should fit right in, according to London, who notes, "There’s still room on the ceiling."

Once completed, the movable art works will hang in local libraries until National Library Week in mid-April, when they’ll be auctioned off to benefit the foundation.

Constructing the units, however, requires more than dangling doo-dads from sticks with fishing line.

"Mobiles take some engineering," says London. "Most of us think that mobiles are made from the top down. They’re actually made from the bottom up." The more sophisticated mobiles are, at least, to obtain the best balance.

"I find this to be true in everyday life," London continues, noting the power of people "living near the bottom of the pyramid of society" coming together to resolve a community problem, rather than waiting for an official to solve it. It gives people the chance "to bring balance into our lives," he says.

For the balance-challenged, Cal Poly Liberal Studies students will be available for in-class mobile-making workshops. The project gives groups, especially children, a way to make money for a good cause.

"They have a chance to be creative instead of selling wrapping paper or cookies," London points out.

He and others involved hope that everyone will give the idea a whirl.


Lesson plans and submission guidelines for the mobile project are available by going to www.slolibrary


Call 781-5785 for details.