When I first saw Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, I instantly recognized how it got its name. I wasn’t sure whether to be grossed out by the sight of so much used chewing gum or amazed that so many people had contributed to this representation of public art. My reaction was mixed — a bit of “oh, gross” and a lot of fascination.
For reasons known only to college students, San Luis Obispo (home of California Polytechnic State University) sports a brick alley between 733 and 734 Higuera Street that has been (literally) gummed up since the 1960s. A visit here will give you something to chew on.
This sticky landmark is worth the drive. Walls on both sides are covered with thousands of pieces of chewed gum in a rainbow of colors. Perusing the walls is akin to a treasure hunt. I’m awed by the myriad examples of gum art. I discover hearts, peace signs, names, flowers and faces.
If you feel inclined, leave your mark on this zany wall. There are several gumball machines on Higuera Street. Just chew and apply.