Our Dormant Downey Museum of Art

At Furman Park on Rives Avenue, you can find a building with double-doors that read “Open Thurs-Sat 1 to 5PM.”  Unfortunately, if you peer through the tinted glass you can see the truth: empty walls.  This was the Downey Museum of Art, once a tour stop for vans of local art lovers looking for a day trip.

The museum was forced to shut down and put its art in storage because of a lawsuit pending against the organization.  The group running the museum fell into disarray, and the space went dormant, under lock and key by the city staff.  The city of Downey owns the land, however the building was donated originally for specifically the purpose of housing the art museum.


Currently the city claims that if the museum organization can show that it has new board of directors, and can prove that it is financially stable, then it will open the building again.  These things are on their way to happening– there is a new board that will meet soon, and some funds from Don Knabe in the bank.  Hopefully all the details can be arranged and volunteers found to help put this piece of art back together again.

Hopefully this rebirth will mean new things for the aging museum and it’s collection of 60’s & 70’s contemporary work.  There are new local artists to be found and promoted, new events to be held, and a new generation of arts enthusiasts to engage with.

And speaking of “Art in Public Places,” here is a piece that sits outside of the museum, unnoticed, and unlabeled.  Does anyone know the artist, or when this was installed?

Update: The sculpture below is the work of famed American sculptor Betty Gold, click here to visit her website.

By Downey Arts Coalition

Downey Arts Coalition is a movement of several people, however this website is currently managed and updated by Andrew J Wahlquist.


  1. Hello, I hope the museum is up and running again soon.

    I have a question about one of my paintings which the museum acquired in 1966. You can see an image of it on my website. The image is labeled “Grey #3. Zolatone on canvas, 60″x60″x1″, 1966.”. I would like to know if the painting is still in the museum’s collection, and if not, where it might be.

    I realize that this may a difficult time right now considering the collection is in storage but I would very much appreciate any information about my painting.

    Thank you, Jim DeFrance

    1. Hey Jim,

      We are just starting to get back on our feet here at the DMOA and are hoping to be back up with a working museum soon. As for you work, I believe it should still be in the collection which is now in storage until we obtain our building. I just recently took over as president and was told that the collection should be intact, and if I remember right I think I remember seeing your piece during our recent move. I will do some searching and see what I can come up with to help you.

      Have a good day,
      George Redfox

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