Stay Gallery hosting toy drive Friday

DOWNEY - Stay Gallery's goal is simple, to give people in Downey a reason to "stay", rather than having to go to other cities for art, culture, and a little bit of fun. Our group is comprised of young and motivated professionals that seek to express the pride and love we have for our city through art and cultural programming and events. We have artists, designers, urban planners, lawyers, real estate developers, politicians, entrepreneurs, and students to name a few of the professions behind our vision. We want the younger generations in Downey to feel the pride that we hold for Downey. Everyone from Downey carries this pride; we just can't seem to put our fingers on it. Yes, we have a great school system, our own police and fire, but there is something more that no one can really explain. What is it about our community that makes us so proud? This is what we are trying to figure out as a movement. We want to identify this organically, through art and culture.

It might sound corny to many but we genuinely want to make this city better, more fun, a place that people talk about in a positive light. We want to make Downey a destination place where people come for art, music, food, and entertainment. We are sitting on something much bigger than what is on the surface.

We are much more than just an art gallery; some people don't understand that, others completely grasp our concept. We do understand that our overall vision of revitalizing the downtown will take years, even decades. The only way we are going to accomplish this is by instilling pride within our youth. We want everyone to feel the pride and love that we as an art movement feel for Downey. We seek to inspire the future generations to "STAY" in Downey and one day open up small businesses in our Downtown (restaurants, cafes, bike shops, boutiques, non-profits, etc.). We want to continue to work with the vision the city has in developing our downtown.

The point of all this is to create a Downtown with enough options that keeps people coming and enjoying Downey. We want them to Stay Downey. Collaborations with Downey Unified School District and our youth will allow us to continue to build momentum as a movement.

Our long-term goals are a bit more complex: we seek to become the 'cultural hub' of not only Downey but the Southeast LA County. We believe that we can become a catalytic force for change in the creative placemaking of our downtown. We cannot do this alone, we are going to need the support and help of an entire community to succeed. We are not afraid of failing, we are more afraid of not giving it our all.

This Friday, Dec. 14, we are hosting another community event at Stay Gallery. Come enjoy a festive night of visual art, live art, live music, and holiday food! Enjoy the holiday spirit, wear the ugliest Christmas sweater you own, and give back to our community. We will be accepting toys with the following requirements:

*New and unwrapped *Minimum value of $10 *and/or a donation of $10 to Stay Gallery. Any donation given to Stay Gallery will go to the development of youth art programs in collaboration with TLC.

Toy drop-offs will be accepted at Stay Gallery beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday. We are teaming up with TLC (True Lasting Connections) for the toy drive. They will distribute the toys to children in need for the holiday season. Toys that don't get distributed during the holidays will be stored at TLC headquarters and given to children during their birthdays or other special occasions.

"It truly is about a village. It's about bring a community together. It's not just about survival, it's about fun and art, enjoying life. Giving back doesn't have to be depressing," said Luz Perez, coordinator at the TLC Center. "We want to offer the kids a little culture through our collaboration with Stay Gallery."

TLC is a non-profit organization and is proud to be part of Downey Unified School District. For more information, please visit

********** Published: December 13, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 35