With apologies to the regulars of Xela Cafe, we jammed about 25 people in their small coffee shop on Paramount Blvd nearby Warren High. A good crowd for a Saturday morning, and a lot of people who haven’t yet entered the conversation of building an arts community in Downey. The enthusiasm was clear– we don’t have many people striving to serve, protect, and stimulate the arts in Downey and our local south-east “562” neighborhoods. What cultural institutions we have left over from the 50s are slowly shrinking as their membership ages and young people fail to jump on board.
We had representatives with experience from the Downey Children’s Theatre days, advocates for the Downey Symphony, Pam and Joan from Downey Daily Photos (a lovely mention at their website), representation of the Downey Art Museum & Historical Society, Downey High theatre, musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, pastors, and absent but there in spirit we had voices from Downey Art Vibe, and even the City Council. We had all generations represented, from 4 months old (my baby), to college aged, middle aged and those in their golden years.
A lot of ideas are on the table, and organizing this enthusiasm into results for our city is now the challenge. There seems to be broad support to organize a “Downey Art Walk” focused on bringing artists, musicians and more to the downtown strip to take over, partner with local businesses, and show that arts and art appreciation are alive in this area. One of the big movements in downtown areas all over the country, is that they now should be centers for arts, culture and entertainment. Retail has moved out, but we’re moving in. More on that to come.
A second meeting will be in the coming weeks. If you would like to join, please contact us at this web page or ping us on facebook.