In July 2021, the Museum of Art entered into a community partnership agreement with the City of San Luis Obispo to coordinate various public art projects for San Luis Obispo for the next two years as part of the Art in Public Places Program. Led by SLOMA’s Chief Curator, Emma Saperstein, the Museum is engaging regional and national artists to complete various projects as part of the program.

The City’s Art in Public Places Program helps maintain San Luis Obispo’s community identity, connecting community members and visitors to San Luis Obispo’s shared history and cultural heritage. Currently, the City’s Art in Public Places Program consists of more than 70 unique pieces of art, ranging from murals, mosaics, oil and watercolor paintings, utility box art, stained glass, sculptures, benches, bridge railings, and more.

A large-scale steel sculpture painted bright red. Loops of metal remiscent of a mobius strip. Museum beyond.

Mark di Suvero: Mamma Mobius

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is thrilled to present Mamma Mobius, an iconic and transcendent sculpture displayed on the Museum’s lawn. This sculpture references the Mobius band, a surface that only has one side and one edge. This work demonstrates di Suvero’s deep commitment to mathematics and science, as he intentionally finds ways to integrate a diverse curiosity into all aspects of his work. This sculpture will be on view on the Museum’s lawn area until February 2022.

The installation of Mamma Mobius is the first installment of the Museum’s new partnership with the City of San Luis Obispo as part of the Art in Public Places program.


Close up image of Maria Molteni's mural in downtown SLO. Quilt-like patterns of semi-circles falling down before a minimalistic water background. Geometric mountains with braids of lava, symbolizing the seven sisters of SLO. Seven stars in quilt-like patterns representing the Pleiades are above the mountain peaks.

Maria Molteni: Seven Sisters (Celestial Subduction)

Many a night I saw the Pleiades
risin’ thro’ the mellow shade
glitter like a swarm of fireflies
tangles in a silver braid
—Alfred Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall

Seven Sisters (Celestial Subduction) is an ambitious mural project whose inspiration emerges from an unusual intersection of “Seven Sisters” phenomena and mythology. The beloved series of Central Coast peaks, known by this name, sparked the original idea. This piece time travels to the origin of their formation, when a sub-aquatic geologic event called “subduction” led to powerful volcanic eruptions.

In another time and space the “Seven Sisters” star cluster would pique the interest and devotion of numerous global cultures and faiths. The Pleiades, in Greek mythology, are also known as “sailing ones” or “crying stars”, said to have caused the great flooding of earth with their celestial tears. They were the seven daughters of the sea nymph Pleione, and later changed into birds to protect them from Orion’s advances. As the story continues, these seven doves flew toward the heavens and became stars that greatly aid sailors in nautical navigation. A Chumash myth of Seven Boys/Geese/Stars offers a beautiful parallel narrative. Find this mural on the back of the Fremont Theater and the accompanying Laird Building wall on Higuera Street between Santa Rosa and Osos.

Maria Molteni (They/She, b. 1983, Nashville) is a transdisciplinary artist, educator, organizer, and mystic. They received a largely formalist art education, studying oil painting, printmaking, and dance at Boston University. Molteni’s work features a systematic, intentional, and site-specific approach requiring a laborious process of paint mixing and complex design systems often rooted in cosmic quilting motifs (such as “the friendship star” and “seven sisters” patterns present in this work). They engage in extensive research to gather imagery from academic, folkloric, and mystical/spiritual sources.