By popular demand, the May Flower Initiative returns to Downtown San Luis Obispo in May. The May Flower Initiative launched in May 2020 as a community art project during the first COVID-19 shutdown, a time of great uncertainty. The initial purpose was to give people a reason to safely visit and support downtown businesses and bring joy and hope to our district. This year’s May Flower Initiative will showcase the creativity, innovation, and resilience of local businesses, their employees, and local artists, transforming the windows of businesses and buildings into canvases on display for the public to enjoy.

In 2021, 87 locations will be decorated by 75 artists, who will create beautiful floral artwork in the storefront windows for the public to admire. The initiative will also include a Plaza Pop-Up featuring decorations and activities in Mission Plaza in partnership with the City of San Luis Obispo.

Downtown SLO was one of ten recipients in the nationwide Main Street Resiliency Grant Program from Main Street America, designed to help Main Street Organizations navigate the impacts of the pandemic and position their communities for a full recovery. This grant fund is made possible through the generosity of Joe and Marge Grills of Rapidan, Virginia. The grant will help support the overall program and provide a materials stipend for each artist.

“These grant recipients demonstrate the creativity and entrepreneurial thinking that have historically driven successful revitalization on Main Street and will be key to navigating recovery,” said Main Street America’s President and CEO Patrice Frey. “I’m inspired by the innovative projects these communities have proposed, and I know they will serve as models and sources of inspiration for Main Street programs across the country as they enter the next phase of reopening.”


Walk through Downtown San Luis Obispo to see business windows and light poles decorated with cheery blossoms. With more than 85 locations, visitors are invited to visit Downtown multiple times to see all of the May Flowers. A map of the May Flower locations will be on display in Mission Plaza and available online.

See Page Three for a complete list of Participating Businesses and Artists. Downtown SLO would like to thank all of the business and property owners for their enthusiasm surrounding this project. Thanks also to the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council for their assistance with the Call for Artists.

Downtown SLO is exceedingly grateful to the 75 artists who have dedicated their time, talent, and creativity to this initiative. Each window is a different and carefully crafted work of art.

“Spring represents a sense of new, fresh beginnings, which has made being a part of The May Flower Initiative so amazing! My daughters and I loved creating the window art for Hotel SLO! Miners Ace Hardware even donated paints to us to use. We are grateful to be among so many talented artists making downtown SLO bloom in May.” – Rani Shah

“Habitat Home and Garden is so proud to be a part of the Downtown community and its commitment to bring everyone together again! Our artist, Laura Best, was a dream to work with and we are so grateful for all of her effort to make our storefront special. We can’t wait to see all of the windows come to life!” – Rachel Ventura, Habitat Home and Garden


Downtown SLO is thrilled to partner with the City of San Luis Obispo as the May partner for the Plaza Pop-Up program. Recognizing their economic, social and intrinsic value of arts, the City of SLO pivoted their annual Cultural Grants-In-Aid program to reflect the current environment and provide a new avenue for nonprofits to partner with the City and connect with the community.

These immersive events strive to create happiness, hope and love for San Luis Obispo from residents and visitors alike. Arts are an essential part of our city and improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors – and they have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. This program is a creative way to reignite interactions and put the arts front and center. The goal of this program is to provide safe ways for the community to experience downtown and support arts and the community.

The Plaza Pop-Up in Mission Plaza will be the centerpiece of The May Flower Initiative and will include:

  • “Spring Wings,” an art piece designed and built by the Cal Poly Rose Float Team. With the theme of local love in mind, Spring Wings tells a story of resurgence and change, represented by an installation featuring a garden display centering around a giant butterfly poised to take flight. The Rose Float Team will be installing this in three phases, on May 8, May 15 and May 22
  • Colorful, interactive photo station created by Karson Butler Events, featuring ornamental horticulture butterflies designed by the Cal Poly Rose Float Team
  • A Map of all 87 Window Blooms with a suggested walking tour
  • Chalk Art Mural “The Progression of Motherhood” by Katy McGrath of Badger Branding, perfect for Mother’s Day celebrations on May 9
  • Chalk art by Trust Automation Children’s Center Volunteers Chalk Art Crew
  • 8-foot-tall lighted California poppy decoration perfect for photos

Families can pick up a card with clues for the scavenger hunt at Mission Plaza. They will use their way-finding skills to walk around and find the butterflies in five different locations throughout downtown. Along the way, they will learn information about monarch migration and how they know which directions to fly. They will end up at the SLO Children’s Museum and children will receive a packet of milkweed seeds to plant in their garden to entice butterflies.

Brought to you in partnership with the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.

About the presenting organization

Downtown SLO is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(6) membership organization working to foster an economically vibrant Downtown. Downtown SLO coordinates events and programs to activate public spaces in downtown, including the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market, returning May 6, from 6-9 pm. Friends of Downtown SLO is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable foundation supporting a clean, safe, and beautiful downtown. Connect with Downtown SLO on Instagram & Facebook or visit


1122 Green Cures, 1122 Chorro | Artist, Crystal Williams
Achievement House Boutique, 553 Higuera | Artist, Heather Cruce
Active Church at Fremont, 1035 Monterey | Artist, Katharine Tompkin
Active Coffee Co, 570 Higuera | Artist, Julian Hart
Ambiance, 737 Higuera | Artist, Staff/Family
Apropos, 1021 Morro | Artist, Heather Hiramatsu
Avanti, 796 Higuera | Artist, Kelly Knox
B. Anthony & Company, 674 Higuera | Artist, Josie Redberg
B.Studio, 570 Higuera, Suite 140 | Artist, Jocelyn Medina
Big Sky Cafe, Inc, 1121 Broad | Artist, Molly Paulick
Black Sheep Bar & Grill, 1117 Chorro | Artist, Staff/Family
Blackhorse Espresso and Bakery, 1065 Higuera, Suite 101 | Artist, Sara Rianda
Blackwater, 705 Higuera | Artist, Adrianna Domingo
BladeRunner Salon & Spa, 741 Higuera | Artists, BladeRunner Staff
Bluebird Salon, 742 Marsh | Artist, Kristiana Daly
Boo Boo Records, 978 Monterey | Artist, Jennifer Stephenson
Buen Dia, 1023 Broad | Artist, Staff/Family
Cal Poly Downtown, 767 Higuera | Artist, Crystal Williams
Central Coast Surfboards, 855 Marsh | Artist, Sarah Appleman
Chinelo, 1131 Broad | Artist, Laura Lozano
City Hall, 990 Palm | Artists, Jenny Chang, Hannah Stephens & Linnaea Marks
City of SLO Utilities Department, 879 Morro | Artists, Jenny Chang, Hannah Stephens & Linnaea Marks
Downtown Baby, 1250 Osos | Artist, Downtown SLO Staff
Downtown SLO, 1135 Chorro | Artist, Emily Allis
EcoBambino, 863 Monterey | Artist, Cindy Burnside
Finders Keepers, 1124 Garden | Artist, Judy Maynard
Finney’s Crafthouse, 857 Monterey | Artist, Sequoia Wolfe
Flip Flop Shops, 716 Higuera | Artist, Jackie Nguyen
Flour House Inc., 690 Higuera | Artist, Olivia Andersson
Garden Street Goldsmiths, 1114-1118 Garden | Artist, Cindy Burnside
Growing Grounds Downtown, 956 Chorro | Artist, Merrilee Donald
Habitat Home & Garden, 777 Marsh | Artist, Laura Best
Hands Gallery, 777 Higuera | Artist, Sophia Brody Hemp Shak, 781 Higuera | Artist
Abbey Onikoyi Hepkat Clothing, 785 Higuera | Artist, Staff/Family
Hotel SLO, 877 Palm | Artist, Rani Shah
HumanKind Fair Trade, 982 Monterey | Artist, Piper Bean
Ike’s Love and Sandwiches, 1028 Chorro | Artist, Carey Lynch
Jamba, 890 Marsh | Artist, Ruth Collis
Joliene Bakery, 570 Higuera, Suite 180 | Artist, Alysia Hook
Junk Girls, 870 Monterey | Artists, Jerry & Kim Scott
Karson Butler Events at the Ah Louis Store, 800 Palm | Artist, Karson Butler Events
Kult, 1035 Chorro | Artist, Anisha Arellano
La Esquina Taqueria, 1051 Nipomo | Artist, Carolyn Adams
Linnaea’s Cafe, 1110 Garden | Artist, Katie Tam
Maison Marianne, 970 Chorro | Artist, Virginia Butcher
Mannikins Tailoring, 1016 Morro | Artist, Travis Koch
McCarthy’s Irish Pub, 600 Marsh | Artist, Katy McGrath
McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream, 868 Monterey | Artist, Charmaine Martinez
Michael’s Optical, 719 Higuera | Artist, Natalie Emma Stanfield
Mint + Craft, 848 Monterey | Artist, Downtown SLO Staff
Mon Ami Crepe Bar, 1075 Court | Artist, Natalie Gann (Owner)
Moondoggies, 837 Monterey | Artist, MJ Johnson
Mr. Michaels, 746 Higuera, Suite 2 | Artist, Juan Manual Perez Salazar
Novo Restaurant & Lounge, 726 Higuera | Artist, Kelly Knox
Old San Luis BBQ Co., 670 Higuera | Artist, Allison Feigin
Park 1039, 1039 Chorro | Artist, Ellery Lewark
Patrick James, 641 Higuera, Suite 100 | Artist, Annette Adamski
Ragtag Wine Co., 779 Higuera | Artist, Nicki Nysven
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 848 Higuera | Artist, Jenny Chang
Rogers Jewelry Co., 720 Higuera | Artist, Rachel Corvese
Salon62, 1112 Garden | Artist, Staff/Family
San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, 895 Monterey | Artist, Frank Walker
San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, 1010 Nipomo | Artist, Brigette Parzych
Scout Coffee Co., 1130 Garden | Artist, Cason Schirmer
SeaBreeze Cupcakes & Sweet Treats, 570 Higuera, Suite 135 | Artist, Erica Stewart
Sequoia Sandwich Company, 893 Higuera | Artist, Travis Koch
Sheila Kearns Chocolate & Confections, 722 Marsh | Artist, Staff/Family
Shift Hair Salon, 1050 Broad | Artist, Kelly Knox
Shin’s Sushi, 1023 Monterey | Artist, Missy Reitner Cameron
SLO Swim, 795 Higuera | Artists, Hannah Stephens & Linnaea Marks
SLO Yoga Center, 672 Higuera | Artist, Rachel Corvese
Sloco Health + Wellness, 1957 Santa Barbara Ave | Artists, the Sloco Crew (Natasha, Ryan, Karina, Devyn, Keli, Emily & Madison)
Stephen Patrick Design, 888 Monterey | Artist, Jena Peralta
Summerland, 1019 Morro | Artist, Casey Yates Super Silver, 850 Higuera | Artist, Noah Erenberg
Sweetie Cup Tea House, 1118 Chorro | Artist, Priscilla Wilson
The Mark Bar and Restaurant, 673 Higuera | Artist, Amy Smith
The Mountain Air, 667 Marsh, Suite D | Artists, The Family Care Network
The Ritual, 787 Higuera | Artist, Staff/Family
Tigerlily Salon, 659 Higuera | Artist, Briana Zacarias
Tom’s Toys, 682 Higuera | Artist, Laura Borjon
Urban Optics, 1001 Higuera, Suite E | Artist, Joey Salazar
Urbane Cafe, 952 Higuera | Artist, Dana Dimalanta
Vacant Storefront, 1126 Chorro | Artist, Rachel Hamaan
Vacant Storefront, 1115 Broad | Artist, Christine Marie
Vacant Storefront, 1023 Morro | Artist, Christine Marie