Collecting Collectors: Galería Las Americas Cultivates a Following
and a Roster That Span the Hemisphere
Los Angeles Downtown News
Vol. 22, No. 6
By Suzanne Lummis
February 8, 1993
“The Mexicans have an expression for it: yo soy en mi salsa,” says Linda Vallejo. I ponder the possible translations. Is that like when we say “he’s feeling his oats?”
“Yes, yes!” declares the gallery owner, “Yo soy en mi salsa—I’m feeling my oats—that’s it.”
Linda Vallejo has reason to be in her salsa. Her loft district-based Galeria Las Americas, formerly Galeria Nueva, has a spectacular nighttime view of the highrises that rivals any New York penthouse. Under the former name, the gallery carried only Mexican and Chicano artists, but since she bought out her partner, Vallejo has opened her space to whole continents of Spanish-speaking artists.
“Now,” she says proudly, “Chicanos are buying Cuban work, Cuban collectors are buying Puerto Rican work, South Americans are buying Mexican artists…” In order to encourage new collectors and those who aren’t wealthy, Vallejo has a low monthly payment plan. She rattles off some statistics.
“Fifty-five percent of my collectors have never collected before. 50 percent of my clientele are women; 90 percent of my collectors are Latin American. It’s incredible because people don’t believe that market exists. The say only rich people can buy art. I’m proving them all wrong.”