Dear Editor:Since a child, I've been of the artistic type. I never joined any sports teams, or school clubs. I always found myself secluded with a small group of friends, and I'd spend a lot of my alone time painting graffiti in Los Angeles train yards, or photographing the city. My senior year at Warren High School, I befriended my photography teacher, George Redfox. He noticed my passion for digital photography, in turn excusing me from the film photography projects, and assigned ones more fitting to me. One day during class, he invited several of us to visit the now non-existent Boeing site, and we were given a personal tour of the whole facility, and were allowed to photograph anything and everything we wanted. My obsession with Downey's history began there. Not long after, he proposed an interesting project: paint one of Downey's extinct 'welcome to Downey' signs that towered over the borders of our city, in my own style, on the walls of the Downey Museum of Art. I excitedly took the offer, and it coincided with a student photography exhibit entitled 'A Day In Downey' in which some of my photographs were featured. A photo recently taken by Councilman Alex Saab inside of the museum confirms that the painting on the wall has gone untouched. I did several other projects at the DMOA before its closing, including a sidewalk chalk drawing, and other student related activities. Displaying my work in a museum gave me the confidence in my artwork to believe that I can show anywhere else. From being featured in group shows at galleries across Los Angeles, and getting picked up for freelance gigs for companies I look up to, I credit my confidence to the DMOA. It makes me happy to see that there are people that genuinely care for the survival of the DMOA. Being one of them, I selfishly want to see it flourish within Downey's downtown district. It reminds me of euphoric visions we had when we first opened Stay Gallery. Art walks, music festivals, live/work lofts, galleries and museums along the street. We envisioned a thriving downtown full of art, music, food and entertainment. I am happy to see the conversation slowly steering towards that. Whether the DMOA continues its story at Furman Park, or begins a new chapter within our downtown, I'll feel good knowing that a part of my OWN history will not perish. Gabriel Enamorado Downey Gabriel Enamorado is creative director at Stay Gallery.
********** Published: Nov. 28, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 33