I really enjoy and look forward to attending events and meetings at Smalltown Society, The atmosphere is one of friendship, acceptance, and fun. Especially the end of month gatherings are high energy and big fun with great live music. It's also a generous place for hosting civic, social and artistic presentations and talks. I really appreciate the efforts of Paul, Cathy, Emily and all who contributed, for making this a very special and much-needed meeting place in Castro Valley.
- Roy Estrada
We were stopped by a sign on the door that read“Byrne After Reading Collective”, and a date.
“ Shall we go?,” my daughter asked. Without hesitation I said “YES.”
We went, and nothing has been the same since.
It’s been an awakening to the good one hopes for, the good you know must be going on somewhere that turns out to be going on right here under your nose. There was an immediate sense of inclusion, and we found community, companionship, intellectual stimulation, an expanding appreciation of music, and a growing list of activities and events that are thought-provoking , rich and sometimes pure fun. We found an amazing sense of welcome, creativity, humor, joy, refreshing world view, art, fresh ideas and some of the sweetest, brightest, kindest most talented people you’ll ever find.
Yesterday I asked my daughter what Smalltown Society meant to her. She answered with one word, “HOPE.” That pretty much sums it up for me. Smalltown Society banished a sense of malaise and is evidence that there is every good reason for hope for the future, not in some far off place and time, but right here, right now.
The world is abuzz with the idea that we are being brought closer together through technology. Yet, how many of us or facedown in our electronic devices, physically isolated while we swipe and click for likes, to connect with some sense of community? Small Town society is becoming a real social switchboard.
Like many, I stumbled upon the space after finishing up grocery shopping next door. I saw a hot band playing to what looked like a private party in the space vacated by a former business. As I peered in the window, people inside motioned for me to come in. Unsure, but curious, I crossed the threshold, set down my grocery bags, and stepped into place where stories are shared, memories are made, and people are connected.
I have seen music, art, ideas, and work all be shared in the space Small Town Society has built. In a suburban setting where it is too easy to become isolated by busy work and family life, it is a portal to the possible. Just by being right in our midst, it has begun to grow a crossroads of personal and community connections. In the year it has been here, it has created many opportunities for accidental discoveries, and chance meetings that found friendships, and foster new ideas. Here's to many more years!
- Matt Turner (Community Liaison for County Supervisor Nate Miley)
There is nothing “small” about Smalltown. In just 365 days, it has created an important and cherished community space. It brings together community members whose paths might not ordinarily cross. It celebrates voices that are not readily heard. It creates a dialogue for Castro Valley, a community lacking formal civic institutions. Smalltown is community. Smalltown is building community.
- Mike Kusiak (CVMatters)
Smalltown has given me aconfidence boost as an artist that I never thought I would have. They made an amazing space accessible to me to display my work in and a platform to tell my story and why I do what I do. They've given me an active role to play in developing my hometown in a way I also never dreamt possible. They've let me be a part of the big picture of community and family style networking with no judgements or strings attached. It's a place I always feel welcome and always feel heard. You could say that this means the world to me especially as a creative and humanitarian. I would love to see everyone be able to find a place where they feel so at home like Smalltown Society feels to me.
- Cherie Zulim
Ever since getting introduced to Smalltown I feel like I had encouraging support in the artforms I work in, photography and painting. I never thought I would display any of my work for people to see since I've always been afraid to do so. I'm thankful for the Space and Smalltown and the opportunity it's given me to share within the community where I live and meet new people. It's been really inspiring to see the artists that have come in to share their music or art. I appreciate the inclusive nature of the events as well. There have been really meaningful, important subjects and conversations taking place that involve the community and us as human beings. It's important to keep those conversations alive so solutions can arise. Paul Keim and Cathy Keim have given so much of themselves to others and they do it out of love and purpose. I think all involved owe them a huge thank you for being the catalysts' for this community space - thank you. I look forward to next year.
- Cia Gould
Smalltown Society represents a break from the norm in the Castro Valley / Eden area. Not just a physical place for people to gather but a collective of people with a heart for community building and outreach.
The Space has been an inspiring place to connect and to create. In the early days, particularly before there was a thermostat, I spent a lot of time alone in the cold writing or recording.
It has been amazing to see new faces, artists, and passers-by leave a part of themselves with every gathering or casual hang at the Space.
- Ted (Blyss) Gould