Downey feels the vibe


Bustling with local artists and citizens, the Downey Civic Theatre hosts the annual Art Vibe on Nov. 10. Local artists sold their work, like Jenny Vargas’ piece “ The Lost Rabbit,” that went for $200.

Gustavo Ramirez, Opinions Editor

With their eyes imbued by the works of art created by Downey residents, patrons to the Urban Renaissance Art Show gained insight into the creative endeavors of the community on Oct 10, 2011 at the Civic Theater. Art Vibe, a long-since established organization, has held such an event for the past four years. The group has continuously gained much more attention and attendance—factors that are not only essential, but beneficial for the organization.

The art shows are created for a simple purpose: to foster the artistic talents of residents and empower others to create beautiful artistry. The group strives to support the unique talents that Downey residents may have—and have, in fact, been successful in proudly giving recognition to the people that most need it. The other goal is to raise the standard of the citizens by filling their life with the various forms of art that exist. As their website states, this is all in an effort to close the gap between the individual and the community. If a bridge is established, free “trade” between the two ultimately creates a mutually beneficial relationship that raises fulfilling and positive attributes that art can posses.

This year, the Art Vibe has garnered more people than ever through successful promotional strategies. A clever method was to utilize the small number of schools in Downey that continue to support the fine arts. In Downey High School, representatives made rounds throughout art classes and passed out flyers giving the information of the event and a small story as to what their organization is and what they plan to do. Senior Sarah Henson, an aspiring free-hand pencil artist, learned about it solely through this manner.

“I learned about the Art Vibe thing in my art class. They came in and talked to us about it and told us it was free if we showed them this,” she held up the small, rectangular paper sheet with the event’s information, “and so of course I was going to go.”

The organization took drastic steps to bring in every level of citizen, ranging from as young as fourteen to eighty. The group does not lie when it says it wants to bring the complete and total community together for an event.

As a result of their work, the Urban Renaissance Art Show did, in fact, attract the attention of various groups of people. Teachers from Downey made appearances, students from other, non-artistic classes stopped by to enjoy the event, and older couples too could relax in the atmosphere provided. Art Vibe provided guests with free samples of cheese and water, adding a sense of sophistication and elegance to the event. The dim lighting and soothing music emanating from the upper level of the building swathed the area in an even greater aura of poise. Abstract and modernism was the definite theme of the art show.

“Honestly, I thought the show was great,” senior Jose Velazquez said. “I really liked looking at all the art because it just looks so cool. There are so many things you can take away from seeing just splashes on canvas.”

A stunningly odd thought that permeated the minds of almost every attendee followed along these lines: is all of this art really created by Downey residents? And this is exactly what the group seeks to do away with. Art Vibe wishes to create a massive shift within the community to one where everyone can say, with pride and evidence, that Downey is artistic and a city chockfull of not only surprises, but talent within every nook and cranny.

“I will come to more events if they have them for free,” junior Vanessa Medrano said, “but in all seriousness, I will come because seeing what we can create is just so inspiring.”

When asked if a community can function without art, she responded with the following:

“They can, but it would be so boring. What’s life without art? Art is free expression, it’s the ability to show who you are without directly saying so. Paintings and photographs all capture life and tell stories. If we are deprived of that, then what is life?”

Art Vibe could not agree more. As it continues to hold events, to cultivate creative talent, and to bring to light the necessity of art, Art Vibe will never quit. And that’s a message that is applicable and relevant to all. The importance of art on a singular level is astounding, but the implications it has on a community are also important and cannot be stressed enough. The benefits of fulfilling a person’s artistic sense are invaluable; the beauty and power of art are insurmountable.

The Art Vibe holds events in the community throughout the year. Galleries and other such public events can found on their website.