When Stay Gallery first opened its doors, our initial approach with operating a gallery was to host a variety of exhibitions that included both visual and performing arts. We had large turnouts for the events, at times even exceeding capacity. Our audiences that attended was predominantly in the age group between 19-25. As, we continued to host these programs, we discovered that there was a larger need in the community that we miscalculated.
Stay Gallery opened in a time period where there was less opportunities for children being exposed in the arts. Schools were offering little budgets in order to have true lasting impact in our community, we needed to inspire the next generation of creatives. This is how the ‘Stay Young’ Initiative was created.
Our focus has shifted from primarily being an art gallery, to becoming a creative space for our community where ideas - and not just ours - flourish. We see firsthand the ripple effect of providing creative outlets for the children of our community, and believe wholly that it improves the quality of life for everyone who lives in it.
Our most prominent program, the ‘Stay Young’ Art Education initiative, is comprised of a vast network of partnerships within Downey Unified School District.
Stay Young is an arts education partnership with Downey Unified School District comprised of student art exhibits, festivals, field trips, and student-run volunteer programs. We believe the arts help students ignite the inner creativity that is necessary to succeed in the 21st century.
This year alone, we are hosting a total of 8 student art exhibitions within 3 months and the second annual STEAM Festival in partnership with Downey Federal Credit Union. More than 5,000 parents, teachers, and community members are expected to enjoy these student exhibitions. The STEAM Festival celebrates science, technology, engineering, the arts and math in a day for kids to experience the future of education through engaging activities and interactive demonstrations. Last year, we hosted over 1,200 students and their families. This year, we plan on doubling its attendance as families are beginning to see the importance of engaging their children in creative activities.
The Stay Young program has given our organization a breath of new life in the past couple of years. Because of Stay Young, hundreds of art works have been created. Thousands of stories have been told. The children of our community know more about the history of the city they live in, and the most important part is, they are ready for more.
Although our team is small, our ambitions are large. On any given day, you will find one of our in-house artists teaching design lessons at a local elementary school, other team members hosting a meeting to plan for upcoming student exhibits and festivals, and another working with local students brand identity project for a local organization. Stay Young’s approach is to engage with every grade level in Downey in different ways to ensure that our children continue to have creative outlets to express themselves. The truth is, we love what we do. Starting next year, we will be working directly with the local high schools to create a robust apprenticeship program to give students the opportuity to learn how creavitity can affect the local economy through branding, design, and strategic marketing.
Now more than ever, we need your help. In order to keep Stay Young alive to ensure that all students are given a chance to think, learn, and play creatively, we ask that you help us as we continue to build the foundation for the City of Downey to become the creative capital of Southeast Los Angeles County.
For more information on how you can support Stay Young, visit: www.staygallery.org/
By ensuring that all students are given a chance to think, learn, and play creatively, we can build the foundation for the City of Downey to become the creative capital of Southeast Los Angeles.