The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in partnership with The City of San Luis Obispo announces the completion of a monumental mural installation in downtown San Luis Obispo. Created by Boston-based artist Maria Molteni, it is located on the back wall of the historic Fremont Theater as well as the accompanying Laird Building wall. Molteni’s enormous mural on the Fremont Theater is 85’ by 40’, and faces Higuera Street, the main street of the downtown business district. The smaller portion on the Laird Building is 60’ x 20’.
The project is ambitious in scope and the largest of its kind in San Luis Obispo. Maria has a deeply developed process of working on the ground and is known for painting beautiful and complex basketball court installations that are rooted in the communities they serve around the U.S. Their work is conceptual, formal, socially engaged, deeply researched, collaborative, contemplative and mystical.
This is the largest vertical piece that Maria has completed. The inspiration behind the piece is rooted in the environment, ecology, and energy that San Luis Obispo holds. The colorful work depicts the area’s beloved and iconic volcanic peaks known locally as the “The Seven Sisters,” as well as references to Greek mythology’s Pleiades constellation, also known as “The Seven Sisters.” The Laird building wall features a nautical theme, depicting a large wooden ship with seven sails.
Installation officially began on Saturday, October 9th. The artist who is widely known for their immersive and collaborative installations, worked with two assistants, two hydraulic lifts and used nearly 60 gallons of paint during the process.
The City of San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art entered into a Community Partnership Agreement in July of 2021. Through this unique agreement the Museum identifies and engages regional and nationally-acclaimed artists to present their work in the “Art in Public Places” program. The Museum selected Maria Molteni because of their in-depth work with partner communities.
Funded through .5% of eligible City projects in the Capital Improvement plan and a “payment in lieu of art” program established in 1990, the program seeks to deliver creative public engagement.
“We’re thrilled to be doing this work with the City. It allows us to enhance our mission by bringing art to the community beyond our four walls, especially during COVID,” stated SLOMA Executive Director Leann Standish. “We have wonderful opportunities because of our projects and relationships with artists, and dreams we want to see realized.”
The inaugural project in the “Art in Public Places” series, is Mamma Mobius, a 4-ton sculpture created by Presidential Medal of Arts recipient Mark di Suvero. It can be seen on the Mission Plaza lawn outside of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and is on view through August 2022. SLOMA’s other public art projects include a new mural on the Marsh Street bridge done by local artist Amy McKay. Future pieces in the works will be installed throughout the City of San Luis Obispo.