History

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art began in the 1950s when a small group of artists, educators and enthusiasts whose collective talents, vision and support established the foundation upon which this organization has grown. Over the years, the San Luis Obispo Art Association evolved into the San Luis Obispo Art Center, which evolved into today’s San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

Important milestones:

 

1952 San Luis Obispo Art Association was formed with the idea of creating a central location where artists and patrons could meet to exhibit and enjoy artwork, teach the visual arts to all ages, and promote the visual arts in the community.

1958 Articles of Incorporation signed.

1952–1964 The Art Association used gallery space upstairs at Forden’s Hardware, and later used the Sauer Adobe on Chorro Street as a gallery and teaching space.

7/1965 Moved from Adobe Gallery to the Taylor Shop, 1020 Broad Street, next to the Otto Building.

2/1967 Purchased Otto Building at 1010 Broad Street for $28,000, and one year later held a groundbreaking ceremony for the addition of a main gallery to the building.

9/1968 Dedication ceremony for the gallery addition, naming it the Gray Wing in honor of Stanton and Gladys Gray, active supporters and donors to the building project.

10/1984 Ribbon cutting ceremony for the addition of a classroom and the enclosure of the First Gallery. The classroom was named the Nybak Wing, in honor of Arne Nybak, the Art Center’s volunteer curator for over thirty years.

5/1997 Organization’s name officially changed to the San Luis Obispo Art Center.

9/1998 First showing of the Art Center’s Permanent Collection, followed by the Board’s endorsement of the preservation of its Permanent Collection.

8/2001 Board of Directors voted to design a new Art Center facility on its 1010 Broad Street location. After a wide search for architects, the Board hired Barcelon & Jang, San Francisco architects, for the first phase of this three-phase project—the conceptual design and its approval by the City of San Luis Obispo.

10/2008 The Planning Department of the City of San Luis Obispo, after 8 years of deliberations, agreed that the proposed new building design was appropriate for the downtown cultural core and that fundraising efforts for the project could begin.

11/2008 Art Center awarded a $225,000 James Irvine Foundation Arts Regional Initiative #1, a 3-year grant for capacity building.

2/2011 Name changed to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

10/2011 Museum of Art awarded a $225,000 James Irvine Foundation Arts Regional Initiative #2 grant, for financial sustainability and the deepening and broadening the Museum’s audience.

9/2013 An anonymous donor kicked off the Quiet Phase of The Capital Campaign with a pledge of $1 million dollars to be made in three payments, beginning in September 2013.

11/2013 The Museum’s Sustaining Society was launched at a one-hour free luncheon. 

11/2014 The Museum’s second annual Sustaining Society luncheon added many new people who added their five-year pledges to help sustain the Museum.

10/2015 The Museum’s third annual Sustaining Society luncheon added more five-year pledges to help sustain the Museum.

 

Updated 11/2015