The Cultural Hub that is Avenue 50 Studio
By Patrick Quinn
Through April 6th
It wasn’t that long ago that the neighborhoods that make up N.E. Los Angeles were unknown to most Angelinos. Eagle Rock was just a big boulder you drove by on the way to Pasadena. Highland Park was where the Sparklets Water truck came from, and Mount Washington might as well have been Mount Fiji. But to paraphrase Woody Allen, Gentrification was as inevitable as Death and Taxes. These days, Eagle Rock is home to a major music festival and Highland Park is ground zero for the Hipster Nation. It also supports a thriving creative community which comes out on the 2nd Saturday of every month for the NELA Art Walk. But long before the art walk took its first step, the Avenue 50 Studio was an integral part of Highland Park. The studio first opened its doors in 2000 and has grown from a small single space to a venue that includes two galleries, a community art space, and three residential artist studios. Along with monthly art openings, there are lectures, workshops, and poetry readings. Currently, there are four shows on display. Two group show and two solo shows. Taken as a whole, it’s a great example of why this vibrant and exciting venue has managed to stay relevant and successful for nearly two decades.
Featured in the main gallery is Las Chingonas, an all-female group show curated by artist Marissa Magdalena. The show explores universal themes of femininity through visual art and personal narrative.
Taking over two other rooms is At Risk, a solo show by Ralph Massey. This is the painter’s first ever solo show and there’s a lot to take in. His work confronts the dilemma of second generation migrants in an ever changing environment. Animals are used as metaphors mixing colorful images both harsh and humorous.
A smaller room is dominated by the work of Mark Verrillo. The show, entitled We Are Not All Of The Same Color, is a series of paintings deconstructing the rainbow colors of the now iconic Pride flag.
Finally, in the back room is what the studio is calling “Adopt an Art Piece”. Not so much a show as a chance to do a little spring cleaning. Over the past 20 years, Avenue 50 Studio has collected numerous works of art as contributions and some “orphans” that have been stored at the gallery. There are over 150 pieces of quality art ranging from drawings, etchings, paintings, prints and three dimensional assemblages. This room also serves as a community center. On the day these photographs were taken, a free seminar for artists applying for grants took place in the morning and a poetry reading was scheduled for later that day.
All four shows will on display until April 6th.
The gallery hours are: Tue-Thurs, 10am-4pm | Sat-Sun, 10am-4pm | or by appointment
Avenue 50 Studio, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts presentation organization
131 North Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA 90042
Ph/Fax: (323) 258-1435