Busy month looms for downtown's Stay Gallery

DOWNEY - On Thursday night, Stay Gallery hosted the USC Alumni Club of The San Gabriel Valley as they held a fundraiser to give scholarships to students currently attending USC. Legendary football coach John Robinson and former USC All-American and New England Patriot Hall of Famer Sam 'Bam' Cunningham were among a group of 100 in attendance.

"This is a part of a bigger initiative where we want to create a strong partnerships with reputable local institutions that we believe will further our mission of bringing people together through art and culture," said Valentin Flores, executive director of Stay Gallery and Downey Art Vibe.

On Friday, May 3, Stay Gallery will open its doors to the public to showcase their latest collaboration with Downey Museum of Art (DMOA).

"We have named the exhibit 'A View from Our Past' to highlight what we consider is an incredible collaboration that lives here in our city," said Stay Gallery creative director Gabriel Enamorado.

While the event is free, donations are encouraged. All donations will go to DMOA as they seek to program their collection.

"I think this exhibit represents a link to the past, but at the same time will hopefully be a launching point for future events in the community," said George Redfox, a museum board member. "I think the arts are alive and well in Downey and I am confident the DMOA will be part of this movement. "Thanks to Stay Gallery for hosting our show."

The exhibit will be showing at Stay Gallery until Wednesday, May 8.

This Tuesday, Stay Gallery will be issuing a progress report to the City Council where they will offer details on the gallery's development. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

"Lots of people want to know what we have done over the last six months since our grand opening, this is your chance to hear all about our progress and where we are planning on going during this next year," said Joseph Manacmul, operations manager at the gallery.

Stay Gallery will be trying several new concepts in May. On May 10, they will be hosting their first 'pop-up shop' concept with a local clothing company, Heavyset.

This is part of a bigger initiative in which the gallery hopes to attract local designers, innovators, and creators to use the gallery space as their boutique shop to bring to market creative concepts.

"We are way more than just photographs and paintings, we want our space to be used for all creative and innovative concepts. We are even working on hosting a show with robots in the near future," said Flores, the executive director.

Heavyset is a collective of friends, artists and thinkers. Their products are inspired "by our city and the people around us."

On May 17, female artist Jessie Nelson (also known as "Changes") will be featured in Stay Gallery's monthly exhibit, dubbed "Gold, Guns & Girls." Her work highlights honest feminine emotion and is inspired by street art and her surroundings.

"Women have stories to tell and they need to be heard," said Nelson. "Painting and creating art is more about a connection and helping people out than anything else."

The exhibit will be up through May 29.

On May 28, Stay Gallery will deliver their first pilot program titled "Downey Doodle-icious", a partnership between the gallery, local artist Don Lamkin, Gallatin Elementary, the city of Downey and local businesses to help a third grade class "experience Downtown Downey."

Students will enjoy a field trip that begins with a tour of City Hall, a tour of Downey's downtown, and ends with a history and art lesson at Stay Gallery. Kids will engage in a scaled painting project in which each student paints a portion of Lamkin's "Downey Doodle-icious" painting, eventually coming together as a group effort mural.

"We want to instill a sense of local pride in our youth by showing them the power that community and creativity can have in city," said Flores.

Lamkin said he was approached by Stay Gallery to help instill community pride in Downey kids.

"I am looking forward to helping with this project because I think it will be a lot of fun working with the kids of Downey educating them about our city and putting together a group art piece that we all come together to produce," Lamkin said. "If this pilot project is as successful as we hope, it could turn into a regular activity between the schools and our arts community."

The month of May will end with Stay Gallery exhibiting the work of a local Greek artist, done in conjunction with the Downey Greek Festival. The exhibit will be displayed May 30 to June 5.

The gallery will host two back-to-back "Greek Nights" June 1-2. Admission to the Greek Festival will be free with a physical or digital Stay Gallery flyer.

More details on Greek Nights will be announced soon.

********** Published: May 2, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 03