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Nostalgia @ First Street Studios

“I see myself in her,” said Lilia Ramirez when talking about guest curator Maria Elena Hernandez. Seeing Hernandez work diligently to organize and produce the current “Nostalgia” exhibit at First Street Studios reminded Ramirez of when she was in the same position as Hernandez.

Ramirez and Hernandez met each other at the opening reception of FSS and have been running into each other at other galleries since then. Through those meetings and talks, Ramirez knew that she wanted to help Hernandez further her career as a curator and art lover in Los Angeles. Hernandez in turn is receptive to Ramirez and her advice and welcomes the opportunity to work together.

The idea for the exhibit came about when Ramirez was planning out the studio's calendar year with her partner Francisco Alvarez. They both trade off every other month and July was Ramirez's turn to curate a show. Given the lazy vibe of the month, and the feelings summer can invoke, Ramirez decided that the next exhibit should be one focusing on nostalgia. At the same time she also thought that it would a great opportunity for Hernandez to be a guest curator at FSS.

Ramirez says that art is a powerful medium that can get a message across to others and leave an impression at the same time. Her drive to do this comes from her own personal experiences growing up and not having many positive influences in her life outside her family and friends. She said that she didn’t have a boys and girls club, mentors or artistic after school programs to help nurture her love for art. She did, however, have support from teachers who saw her talent and encouraged her to continue furthering her artistic abilities.

By providing opportunities and encouraging the next generation of kids to pursue their artistic passions, she’s continuing a cycle that helps to nourish and expand her immediate community in Boyle Heights. The opening reception on Saturday had a high attendance as artists were selling their works along the galleries side entrance, which included Zan loves e.l.a., Ivan Godinez and various others. “Nostalgia” will be on display through July 26. FSS is located on 2026 E. 1st Street, Los Angeles 90033. The gallery can be reached at (323) 268-0005. Hernandez is also a co-curator of Gallery 1919.

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