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Art and cycles

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“If the full moon ride and Art After Dark had a baby, they would name it Velonotte,” claim the organizers of an upcoming new bicycle, architecture, and art experience in San Luis Obispo. Originally conceived in Rome as a nocturnal bike tour of the city’s architecture, Velonotte (“bike night”) has since spread to Moscow, London, and New York City, attracting thousands of cyclists, history nuts, and architecture enthusiasts alike.

On Saturday, May 19, San Luis Obispo will have a go. But in addition to architecture, the local incarnation of this global trend will feature outdoor art works, with special emphasis on sculpture, installation, projections, performance, lights, explosions, and interactivity.

“The halls of the gallery are our city streets,” explains artist, architecture professor, and organizer Tom di Santo.

Stops on the tour include a show of di Santo’s watercolor paintings—displayed via projector—and a project called FM Venue, a converted shipping container which will be transformed into a food and music venue. (FM Venue was created by a group of Cal Poly students who intend to bring the project to San Francisco after graduation, using it as a platform to serve up whatever is lacking in a neighborhood: food, coffee, live music, whatever.)

Organizers di Santo, Carmen Trudell, Vanessa Amerson, Pancho Herrera, and Jeff Spaulding are hoping the event, timed to coincide with Bike Month, will bridge the artistic and cycling communities of San Luis Obispo while encouraging both camps to take responsibility for their experience. There are no leaders on this tour, and artists are responsible for setting up and taking down their exhibits.

“We’re just providing the framework,” Amerson explains, ”but artists are going to make it happen.”

It all begins at 6:30 p.m. at Flanders Bicycle Shop, located at 1951 Santa Barbara St. Interested cyclists—with working lights and a helmet, of course—can pick up a map of all of the locations on the ride before setting off. An awards party will take place at Flanders after the tour.

There’s still time for student, amateur, and professional artists to enter their work by Friday, May 18, by e-mailing velonotteSLO@gmail.com.

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