Downey art gallery profiled on 'Vista L.A.'

DOWNEY - "Vista L.A.," the long-running ABC-7 news magazine highlighting Southern California's dynamic Latino community, will feature Stay Gallery and its efforts to galvanize Downtown Downey on its show this Sunday. The program airs at 11:30 a.m.

"Vista L.A." is produced by Jessica Dominguez, a Warren High graduate who grew up in Downey and now lives in Whittier. She said she hadn't heard of Stay Gallery until her younger brother discovered the facility on Facebook and prodded her to look into it.

"My brother told me they were doing interesting things and that it looked exciting," Dominguez recalled. After researching the gallery, she was inspired by what she saw.

"I heard their passion and saw three people who wholeheartedly, 100 percent believed in this," Dominguez said, referring to executive director Valentin Flores, operations director Joseph Manacmul and creative director Gabriel Enamorado. "It made me excited for them.

"These kids - I call them kids but they are young men - are coming back to Downey instead of leaving, and contributing back in a way that is really relevant and forward-thinking. They are trying to engage their generation, which from a business perspective makes a lot of sense."

Stay Gallery opened last October with financial support from the city of Downey, which was looking to harvest the city's artistic talent.

The segment on "Vista L.A." will show how the gallery is driving a cultural resurgence downtown through its hosting of art exhibits, plays and community gatherings, Dominguez said.

"I saw a story that was relevant, a story that would entertain people and a story that would hopefully inspire people," she said. "The fact that I grew up in Downey, I feel proud. I thought, 'How awesome is it that these kids are trying to come back to Downey.' They believe that through art and culture, the downtown will succeed.'"

Flores, the executive director, said the gallery just completed its first capital fundraising campaign of $20,000. A $2,800 donation from Dominicis Dental Center put the campaign over the top.

"He is someone that is grounded in our community and believed in us from the very start," Flores said of dentist Dr. Luis Dominicis. "He's all about Downey."

In its first six months of operation, the gallery has already formed strategic partnerships with local businesses, non-profits and residents.

Flores said the gallery is now entering "the most challenging phase of our development," launching "key community programs that will civically engage all sectors of our community." The gallery has plans to partner with the Downey Unified School District, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and the city's Parks and Recreation Department for joint programs and special events.

"We are thrilled with the community support we have received, which is allowing us to develop and coordinate these high impact programs for our community," Flores said. "It's about to get really fun in Downtown Downey."

Meanwhile, the gallery's latest exhibit, "Barely Even Human," celebrates its opening night Friday, March 22.

The exhibit features work by prolific graffiti artists Made Rindu and Matthew "Nacho" Ward, who "manage to warp what is perceived and natural into something terrifying and surreal."

The grand opening is from 8 p.m. to midnight and will feature food, drinks and live entertainment. "Barely Even Human" will be exhibited through April 12.

Stay Gallery is located at 11140 Downey Ave., diagonally across the street from the new Downey Gateway project.

The ABC story will be available on Vista LA's Facebook page starting Monday at

********** Published: March 21, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 49