Karen Nichols wasn’t sure if San Fernando was ready for an art gallery when major developer Severyn Aszkenazy approached her about the project. Ready or not, with the opening of La Galeria Gitana (The Gypsy Gallery) in 2008, the city got its first taste of what might (hopefully) become a downtown arts district.
Karen, a former Reseda High School art teacher and lifelong San Fernando resident, manages all aspects of the gallery. She decides which five exhibits will be featured throughout the year and stays after hours either crunching numbers or working on her own paintings.
La Galeria Gitana lies hidden behind retailers on Maclay Avenue; it’s large enough to house plenty of artwork yet small enough to casually stroll through in less than an hour. The clean simple gallery is perfect for showcasing the bright colors featured in past exhibits, such as “Celebrating Our Mexican Culture” and “Cars.”
For the first display of 2011, Karen kept in mind the city’s centennial with “Rediscovering San Fernando at 100,” a love letter of sorts to the streets and characters of the area. “This is our people, our places,” says Karen, who makes a point of featuring local artists.
This month, La Galeria is exhibiting “Favorite Weekend Getaways: Where L.A. Gets Away to Play.” The exhibit runs through June 18 but come May 7, La Galeria Gitana will be participating in “Paint the City Purple,” a Relay for Life event in collaboration with United Threads and Youth Speak Collective.
Show support for local art throughout the year at La Galeria Gitana. More information regarding “Paint the City Purple” will be posted as details are released.
La Galeria Gitana is located at 120 N. Maclay Avenue Suite E. (behind Caramelo Boutique). Open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.