Skip to main content
Press Release

Outdoor ‘Generosity’ Mural Debuts with Artist’s Talk, Ribbon-Cutting Sept. 30

Contact: Catherine J. Trujillo


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly will debut its first commissioned outdoor mural, titled “Generosity,” with an artist’s talk and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 30, on campus.

Three people painting the mural
Muralist Oscar Pearson with mural volunteers Assistant Professor Briana Ronan, School of Education and advisor for Spanish Authorization for Bilingual Educators (SABE) program; and Cal Poly alumnus Oscar Velasco (History, ’19 / Social Science Credential Program, ’22) and current curriculum and instruction master's student.

Central Coast-based artist Oscar Pearson painted the mural, located in the newly renovated Via Carta Plaza adjacent to Campus Market. He will give a talk at 11:10 a.m. Sept. 30 in Room No. 0001 in the Advanced Technology Laboratories Building (No. 7). The ribbon-cutting will follow the talk at 12:10 p.m. near the Campus Market on Via Carta. All are welcome to the talk and ribbon-cutting.

To help beautify, inspire and grow the collection of campus public art, the Cal Poly Corporation commissioned the mural following a thorough proposal process that included a selection committee comprised of Cal Poly students, faculty and staff and a member of the community.

The mural has transformed a divided triptych wall into a vibrant mural that encourages student and community interaction. It is located on the Food Processing Building (No. 24) at the intersection of Highland Drive and Via Carta.

The mural ​​speaks to several themes, including recognizing the valuable contributions of farm laborers on the Central Coast and Cal Poly’s student contributions to the field of agriculture.

Painted in a triptych fashion, the central panel celebrates the agricultural bounty of the Central Coast. The left panel is an indirect and unexpected way of taking a figurative look at the life of farm laborers and agricultural workers — showing another side of their essential work that makes the agricultural bounty of the Central Coast possible.

The viewer sees the workers’ car and lunch cooler, which indicates communal experiences of daily work and serves as a visual tribute demonstrating generosity and reciprocity. The workers themselves are unseen.

“The omission of the figures is a visual metaphor, addressing their often underrecognized contributions to society,” said Catherine J. Trujillo, curator at the Robert E. Kennedy Library. “Oftentimes their labor and the vital role that they play in maintaining our food systems is overlooked. The scene humbly honors them for the contributions they make to our daily lives.”

The right panel emphasizes the artist’s interpretation of Cal Polyʼs hands-on curriculum, exemplifying the Learn by Doing ethos of the university. The panel introduces livestock, animal husbandry and rodeo, an activity that arose out of the working practices of cattle herding and has been part of the university's history since 1939. This panel was inspired by historic photographs found in Kennedy Library’s University Archives.

The mural is part of the university’s permanent collection, which serves as a resource to support teaching and scholarly activities at Cal Poly and to enrich the cultural life and aesthetics of the university. Through acquisition, display and preservation, the collection benefits the Cal Poly community of students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as the community of the Central Coast.

Parking for the artist’s talk and ribbon-cutting is available in lot H2, located at Highland and University drives. Visitors should park in metered spaces and use the ParkMobile App for hourly parking. General parking permits are available for purchase at parking pay stations for lot H12. More parking information can be found on the Transportation and Parking Services website.

About Cal Poly

San Luis Obispo, California, known for its Learn by Doing philosophy. Each year, about 22,000 top-tier students come to Cal Poly to put knowledge into action, taking their learning outside the classroom as they prepare for careers in areas such as engineering, agriculture, science, business, humanities and the built environment. Cal Poly’s hands-on approach, small class sizes and close student-faculty mentorships result in graduates ready from Day One to impact their communities, California and the world.