Artistic passions revisited

Until Oct. 11, Stay Gallery closes due to its reconstruction, to add and raise the ceiling, creating the illusion that it is larger. The re-opening event will be Bones of Steel, an industrial sculpture exhibit by Christian Castro.

Rodas Hailu, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Downey’s Stay Gallery has been under reconstruction since the beginning of September, just a year shy of the one year anniversary of the gallery opening to the public.

Throughout the summer of 2013, the gallery was mostly inactive, due to all the construction supplies filling the space needed for regular shows and exhibits. Because of this, artists did not get an opportunity to showcase their works. However, the reopening of the gallery is convenient because it coincides with the one year anniversary of Downey’s art mecca. Stay Gallery is hosting an event on Thursday, October 10, to not just celebrate how the gallery exceeded expectations, but also to thank the City of Downey and anyone who assisted along to way to make the gallery possible.

When Gabriel Enamorado, the Creative Director, and his friends decided to open the gallery, they had certain visions in mind as to what the gallery could look like and functions it could serve. It was decided then that reconstruction was the best possible idea to expand the horizons for the future of the gallery.

“Since we opened, we always liked to frame the gallery as a ‘multi-use space,’” Enamorado said. “A place in which you can come and see the newest art exhibit. A place that you can enjoy an intimate setting for an acoustic band. Open mic nights. Movie nights with a big projector screen and surround sound. Yoga workshops. Painting workshops. It’s infinite. So, we designed our gallery around those possibilities. We are doing everything in stages, and the framework/renovations is part one.”

Enamorado has ambitious expectations for when the gallery soon reopens to the public.

“During our off time, we’ve been rethinking the way we go about exhibits, events, and workshops,” Enamorado said. “We ARE a startup business, so we’re figuring it out as we go along and constantly getting better at what we do. We have very cool exhibits, events, workshops, and collaborations cooking up. You’ll definitely be hearing about them!”

Since October of 2012, the Stay Gallery has grown in popularity, not just within the city, but within the art community throughout Los Angeles. Because the gallery promotes local artists, even high schoolers have shown their works at the gallery. Shelby Sanchez, a Downey High alumni, participated in a competition that was between Advanced Photography students from both Downey and Warren. Sanchez believes that the gallery provided her not just with the opportunity to showcase her works for the community, but also a sense of improvement.

“Stay Gallery helped me to continue to drive me to compete and helped me to improve with their feedback,” Sanchez said.

Ronda Cordova, the Advanced Photography instructor, was thrilled that her students could participate in the competition hosted by the Stay Gallery, especially because the curators spoke to her photographers individually about their works.

“They sat down with the kids and one-on-one they discussed their portfolios,” Cordova said. “They selected one or two of their pieces to be shown in the gallery.”

Enamorado believes that the public’s response so far to the gallery, whether it be good or bad, has only improved its stature.

“The great thing is, we’re not just here for a specific crowd,” Enamorado said “We are here for everyone to enjoy. From hosting field trips from local elementary schools, to fancy business mixers, we are getting the exact response we’d want and expect.”

The Stay Gallery was created by a few local citizens who realized that Downey was lacking an artistic vibe that the whole city could feel. Enamorado and his friends, successfully did something about this problem. They started to host art events within the city, ranging from the Downey Civic Theatre, to friends’ offices. Eventually, the city noticed how successful Enamorada and company had been with their art exhibits, so they gave an offer: To open up a permanent art gallery in the heart of Downtown Downey that would eventually become the Stay Gallery. Enamorado did not anticipate that this opportunity would ever occur, let alone that this opportunity would lead to their future success within the city.

“Excitement ensued, and we began planning,” Enamorado said. “We honestly never imagined we’d have the impact we have now. Our mindset was very, very humble.”

The next exhibition, “Bones of Steel,” premieres on Friday, October 11 and will be the first official gallery since the reopening. Because of what the Stay Gallery has done so far for the community, ranging from art exhibits to hosting high school competitions, the reopening of the gallery can usher in more success for the future.