Dear Editor: In a letter to the editor of this newspaper several weeks ago, a writer suggested a change to the headline “Stay Gallery Marks Two Years”, indicating his concern about the Gallery receiving a subsidy from the city of Downey.
This piqued my interest about finding out what this subsidy was all about. My findings were a nice surprise, indeed.
Back during the year 2012, our City Council wisely voted to allocate funding from a public ordinance to fund art in public places. Many large and small towns across the country are really places that we just pass through on the way to work, or a place to go to sleep at night. Our Council recognized that Downey is unique and a terrific small town. Art and culture are forces that can help bind the city together, enhancing the experience of living here. Helping Stay Gallery to get established was the beginning of the Council’s efforts, and their support of this new venture could not have been better invested.
In more than two years of its existence, Stay Gallery has provided this city with a public space for civic engagement, entertainment, education and more. It has evolved into a place where we can enjoy the benefits of a local arts and cultural program that many other cities would love to claim as their own. Hundreds of people attend their events every week. Art exhibits, poetry readings, live music, all showcasing local talent, along with revitalizing art programs in our schools, contributing to reinvigorating business in Old Town Downtown Downey. Downey has gained national attention for being a forward moving community, a place where people would like to live or emulate. The Gallery has been a catalyst for much of the recognition we now enjoy.
In retrospect, I think all of us who live in this city can share a sense of pride our little town. The Gallery is really our gallery, a place where we can all go and feel welcome and for free.
Gee, I think we got a bargain for our subsidy investment. You agree?
Gary L. Castagnola Downey
Published: Oct. 30, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 29