A woman in blue overalls uses spray paint and a large stencil to work on a mural


SLOMA is pleased to announce Erin LeAnn Mitchell as the artist commissioned for its next outdoor mural. It is the second in a series of murals which cover all four sides of the museum’s building in downtown San Luis Obispo. Scheduled to change on an annual basis, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art selects emerging artists with diverse backgrounds from across the country.

“Following the overwhelming success of museum’s first mural project Pacificcaribean by Juan Alberto Negroni, this second mural has been much-anticipated,” said SLOMA Executive Director Leann Standish. “As a result of the first mural which was necessitated in many ways by the pandemic, the level of public engagement for the Museum has increased beyond our expectations. Mitchell’s work will continue this beloved program and hopefully engage our community even more meaningfully.”

A Birmingham, Alabama native, Mitchell attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011 and a Master’s in Art Education from Columbia College in 2016. Mitchell works in a variety of medium including textile design.

Most recently, Mitchell was included in a group exhibition All Things Bright and Beautiful at the Birmingham Museum of Art alongside Amy Sherald (known for the Obama Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery) and the influential painter Kerry James Marshall. Mitchell’s work has a robust following and has even been featured on the nationally syndicated television show, Empire.  She was recently commissioned to create a portrait to honor Dr. Angela Y. Davis’ prolific humanitarian achievements.

Erin LeAnn Mitchell’s work, Calafia Was Here references the fictional black warrior queen and the unrecorded histories of Black Americans in the West. The design is a nod to Erin’s existing textile practice and utilizes quilting motifs and ornamented designs.

It will be painted by Mitchell with the help of two assistants beginning on February 3 and concluding on February 24, 2022.  It is Mitchell’s third large-scale mural project.

Calafia Was Here is presented thanks to these generous sponsors

Candace and Bert Forbes

The Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust

Shirley and Mike Ritter

Liz Mason and
Todd Peterson

The National Endowment for the Arts \ arts.gov
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The City of San Luis Obispo
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