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.