Two year stay


Karen Ariciaga

In front of the Stay Gallery, former Downey High graduate, Cindy Macias takes pictures of the people that assist at the event, while her work is on display as well. “ Being there made me realize that you never know who you’re going to meet or come across,” Macias said. “It was just amazing seeing the support of the community.”

Serene Gallardo, Community Section Editor

On Oct. 10, Stay Gallery, located on Downey Ave., celebrated its two year anniversary with an opening ceremony, from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m., for its exhibit of their best artists thus far. Stay Gallery is Downtown Downey’s official art gallery that encompasses and supports local artists.

The opening ceremony was accompanied by the appearance of most featured artists, socializing naturally with their audience. Orange Country pizza vender Urban Pie set up at the gallery to sell to the crowd, meanwhile bartenders handed out free refreshments and alcoholic beverages to those over 21. Towards the end of the night, singer-songwriter Josh Jetson played a set in honor of the gallery’s two year anniversary. All the while, spectators wandered the small space and talked amongst each other, admiring the legacy of Stay Gallery.

Though the success story being large in part with Flores’ and Enamorado’s ambition, they showcase artwork from all across a local scale, with no discrimination or prohibition on age, race, etc.; they are kind to their respective artists. A young artist exhibited, Cindy Macias, is a recent Downey High School graduate who excelled in her photo and journalism classes.

“Have they been kind? Yes! I don’t mean to brag,” photographer Cindy Macias said, “but let’s just say they have something amazing for me planned.”

The exhibit features the works of other artists such as Rita Labib, Don Lamkin, Yesenia Rodriguez, and Ana Godinez. The artists ranged from Downey locals to the Northern California city of San Francisco.

The birth of Stay Gallery was in 2006, when now-executive director of Stay Gallery, Valentin Flores, went on a long trip to his native country, Argentina. As an aspiring photographer, he snapped picture after picture of his homeland. Flores decided he wanted to share how he saw the world through his lens, but there was nowhere to display it locally—so he hosted his own art show in 2007 in a district that is now known as Downtown Downey.

In 2009, he met fellow photographer Gabriel Enamorado, and they clicked instantly. With every word they spoke to one another, they founded more and more of a budding art culture in the city of Downey.

“When I met Val [Valentin Flores], we got along so well that within an hour, we turned to each other and said, ‘Dude! We should have an art show together!’ – and so we did,” creative director Gabriel Enamorado said.

In 2010, Flores and Enamorado hosted their first show together, located at the Civic Center on Firestone Blvd. It was a Thursday evening, rounding in 850 people into the theatre, making the event a success on a large scale.

“I took so many pictures I wanted to exhibit, but I had nowhere in Downey to do that! So we [Enamorado and Flores] held an art show together at the Civic Center. It was a hit!” executive director Flores said. “Afterwards, the city of Downey council approached us, and they gave us this space to do our thing right here in the heart of the city.”

The display will be up until Sat., Oct. 25.