Avenue Meander, May 2013

Seven Beauties and Underground Gallery

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The woman at Avenue 50 Studio offers me a palm frond flower. She’s sitting behind a small garden of palm frond flowers, bottles and stapled saints. It’s opening night of ”Seven Beauties”: An eclectic mix of work by an amazing group of L.A. artists brought together by Jose Lozano at the gallery space and the room is packed.

The featured artists are Lili Bernard whose work is vibrant and immediately catches the eye, along with Stephanie Mercado, Poli Marichal, Terry Konrath, Rochelle Botello, Linda Arreola, Leigh Salgado and Kim Abeles.


In the annex room is Frank Guttierez’ “Explain Yourself” – a surreal take on Alice in Wonderland. Or is describing Lewis Carroll and surreal redundant?

Art night is electric in that so many different talents and ideas can materialize, bringing together all sorts, many of who want to get lost in their own neighborhood. Yancey Quinones, owner of Antigua Cultural Coffee House, set out to make coffee for the area around his cafe and just so happened to convince the city to open one of the access tunnels under Figueroa Street. I wrote an article on what Quinones went through to get the tunnel reopened and what he plans for its future.

Underneath Figueroa Street in Cypress Park

Underneath Figueroa Street in Cypress Park

Saturday night Quinones, along with Parks and Recreation, and a slew of local help, hosted an underground gallery, replete with paintings and lots of people fascinated by the art and the tunnel’s confined space. It’s all ambitious for an area of Los Angeles that lived in gang activity in the early 1990s and well into the 2000s. Today is no different, though for that night a band played, children passed on their bicycles and artist Lalo Alcaraz sold posters. The area has come a long way since Antigua was the ice cream shop, the neighborhood gravitating toward the spot as a community pillar. Here’s to hoping for more galleries in the area, above and underground.