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Familiar face takes over Stay Gallery

By Alex Dominguez, May 2, 2019

DOWNEY – After a several year absence, 29-year-old Gabriel Enamorado has returned to Stay Gallery as the new executive director. Enamorado is no stranger to Stay Gallery, as he was part of its inception back in 2012. “This place began very organically. It started with my ex-partner Valentin Flores. He and I met through mutual friends,” said Enamorado. “Long story short we started to host pop-up art shows around town, and we even were individually doing it without knowing each other before that…it’s super ironic how the whole thing began.” IMG_8001 web.jpg Enamorado and Flores decided to hold a photography exhibit of their work at the Downey Theatre in 2010, bringing out a staggering and surprising 800 people. “After that show, people were really excited; there was a huge buzz around arts Downey,” said Enamorado. Feeling that Downey lacked a certain entertainment and arts value when he grew up, Enamorado said that he felt the community was behind this new venture. “We were asked to be a part of the Taste of Downey and all of those events. The city was asking us to create installations of artists, so we kept doing those,” said Enamorado. Not long after, Stay Gallery came into fruition, finding its space on Downey Avenue. Enamorado stayed involved with the organization for four years, however eventually decided to part ways with Stay in order to pursue other endeavors in graphic design and photography. “I wanted to do my own thing,” said Enamorado. “I’ve been living in Long Beach since, and I started my own freelance graphic design business. It’s been really awesome. I think that leaving for these past three years has been the best thing for me personally. I needed to get out of my town and I needed to experience running my business. The irony of the name: Stay.” However, a recent inquiry of the wellbeing and activity of Stay Gallery unexpectedly opened a new door. “It stemmed from first being asked to join the board,” said Enamorado. “I contacted Val…he’s on the board now, and I said, ‘What if I have my show [at Stay]?’” “Kirk [Cartozian], who is the chairman of the board, got wind that I came here. We went out to have lunch and he asked me if I wanted to take over as director…It happened so fast.” Now stepping into his new position, Enamorado says that Stay may have missed the mark in connecting with the community. 14890580_1216176441761278_8120419021804983278_o.jpg “As much effort as Stay has put, there’s been something that’s been missing in connecting with the community that’s here,” said Enamorado. “Now that I’m back, I got to see the perspective from being in Long Beach and seeing Downey from over there. I think the community and the demographic has shifted in those first few years.” “As far as why we haven’t been able to connect, I think it’s just the messaging and the events haven’t been as welcoming…it’s definitely lost the excitement that it had the first few years that we were open. Naturally, I think people got used to having a space here. People walk by and don’t even know what this is…people don’t know that it’s a nonprofit organization that supports the arts and education and community.” Now, Enamorado is leading the charge to reconnect with the community, starting with an almost total revamp of the website, mission statement, vision statement, and programming. “We’re thinking of it as we’re going to start from the ground up and reestablish ourselves as the arts organization in town.”

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