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‘Stay Young Festival’ of the Arts Arrives in Downey

By Tammye McDuff

Stay Gallery is hosting the first annual ‘Stay Young Festival of Arts’ from May 24th to June 22nd.  Each week young artists from Downey’s’ elementary, middle school and high schools will be featured, bringing the best artists together.  “We are here to celebrate our local student art, culture and creativity,” says Val Flores, Gallery owner “Stay Gallery will host student exhibitions, field trip and workshops.”

In partnership with the Downey Unified School District, Stay Gallery created the ‘Stay Young’ initiative to stimulate and inspire creativity, while emphasizing a culture of excellence in the arts, providing the resources for student programs and activities. More than seventy students from Downey High and Warren High Schools submitted artwork, which were exhibited this past week at the Gallery. Among the pieces on display were pastels; watercolors; acrylics; charcoals and original sculptures.

Yessenia Rodriguez, a senior from Downey High School, is the first annual Stay Young Festival of the Arts winner. Students from both Downey and Warren High School submitted their best works of art in all mediums. Rodriguez was recognized Saturday May 31 for her ceramic masterpiece titled “Rooted, Running, and Rising.” Rodriquez her piece to represent herself and her beliefs. “I chose a tree to represent me because of its strength and ability to grow.” Rodriquez included a girl on top of the sculpture; books to represent education, and balloons; symbolizing love, which she feels comes above all things in life. The sculpture was fired with a patina green emphasizing the tree that worked well with the bronze detailing.  Rodriguez is an extremely talented ceramicist; however, she is interested in pursuing a major in biology at the University of Arizona and plans on attending dental school to become a maxillofacial surgeon. Rodriquez states, “I want to take art classes in college, join art clubs, and possibly minor in art, specifically in ceramics. I have no doubt that art will always be an interest of mine because it is something that has never failed to spark an interest in me.”

The Festival will also show case live music shows including a jazz choir; jazz band and up-and-coming disc jockeys. Interactive comedy sports; live all-day painting and chalk art are also part of the festival. Old River Elementary School will exhibit “Past, Present & Future” Wednesday, June 4th. This exhibit is comprised of an eclectic montage of mosaics representing the true essence of Downey, featuring trademarks and icons that have shaped and continue to fashion all that which is the city of Downey. A photography exhibition from Downey and Warren High Schools will open June 6th, running through June 15th.

“On behalf of  Stay Gallery, we would like to thank the art departments of both Downey and Warren High Schools, and Downey Adult School for working closely with our staff in making this first annual art festival a reality. We want to also thank our sponsors for helping the Gallery bring smiles to our community.” Quotes the plague amid the numerous art pieces.

Sponsors’ for Stay Young include The Downey Kiwanis foundation; Dr. Mary Stauffer; Financial Partners Credit Union; Porto’s Bakery; The Marketplace Grill and the law Office of Ricardo Perez.