Taft Filipino Festival

The Taft Community Center/Park, 389 W. Downing, is having their 2nd Filipino Festival today from 10 am – 4 pm.  The festival honors Larry Itliong’s legacy of improving the lives of workers. Morning activities take place inside the Taft Community Center starting at 10 am with opening remarks and the film “Delano Manongs” at 10:30 am. Guest speaker Anita Bautista, Former President and Vice President of the Filipino American National Historical Society, Stockton Chapter shares insights about Filipino culture from 11:30 am – noon followed by lunch.

Afternoon entertainment starts at 1:30 pm in Taft Park.  Activities include youth games/contests for ages 8 – 10, Filipino folk dances, Hawaiian dance and line dancing until 3:50 pm when there will be closing remarks.

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Planter Or Sundial?


The first step to relocating the spire, rescued from the demolition of the Hunter Square Fountain, is for the public to cast its vote for what the spire will become – planter or sundial.  Voting continues through the end of September.  To learn the history of the project, see plans being considered and to cast your vote, link here.

Once voting has concluded the Save Downtown Stockton Foundation, who has adopted the Hunter Square spire relocation as its 2015 project, will lead a fundraising campaign to raise funds to place the spire as a new feature in the fountain area of Martin Luther King Plaza.

The spire remains one of my favorite Stockton memories. One First Night (a family friendly celebration of the arts taking place on New Year’s Eve in numerous cities) everyone gathered at the south end of the Hunter Square Fountain spire at midnight and looked to the sky seeing firework bursts launched from the San Joaquin County Courthouse to bring in the new year. What a magical sight – water cascading from the spire illuminated by colored firework light!

It is time for the spire, a treasured part of Stockton’s past, to find a new home so that it can be part of new memories.  Since the spire is public art being relocated in a public park, the public has the right to choose – planter or sundial.  Please cast your vote.

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“The Anatomy Of A Community Activist”

What motivates community activists?  Why do they fight the fights that others ignore?  Ernie Johnson attempts to answer these questions in his new play entitled, “The Anatomy Of A Community Activist” based on the life of Ralph White taking place tonight at the Valley Brewing Company, 157 W. Adams Street at 7 pm. Tickets are available at the door only – $10 Adults, $5 Students.  Doors open at 6:30 pm.

This promises to be an evening not to be missed.  Ernie is the consummate storyteller weaving narrative and music together with charm, humor and insight.

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Grant Meetings

Lead Artist Dolly Sellars With The San Joaquin Street Mural That Received A Stockton Arts Commission Grant

The Stockton Arts Commission is holding two informational meetings discussing how to apply for an art grant this year.  Anyone wanting to apply for a Stockton Arts Commission grant must attend one meeting.  Meetings will be held at the Oak Park Senior Center, 730 E. Fulton.  The first meeting is scheduled for tonight (Thursday, September 10) at 5:30 pm and the second meeting takes place this Saturday, September 12 at 9 am.

The grant program has created dozens of exceptional art projects since its inception.  If you need funding for an art project please attend a grant meeting.  Grant applications are due no later than October 5, 2015, at 4 pm. Mail or deliver your application to the Community Services Department, Cesar Chavez Library, 2nd Floor, 605 N. El Dorado Street, Stockton, CA 95202.

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Unity in the Community

Have you ever wanted to learn more about what is happening in South Stockton?  Today Stand presents a free event called “Unity in the Community” which takes place at the Williams Brotherhood Park, 2010 S. Airport Way (just south of the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds between 6th and 7th Street) from noon to 3 pm.

The goal of this event is to help build relationships between the community and the police.  There will be a free throw competition and basketball challenge for police and girls, K-9 dogs, a low rider police car and fire truck, face painting, children’s activities and a BBQ.

To learn more about all STAND is doing to improve South Stockton, link here. Note: The Reinvent South Stockton Education Committee working to improve educational opportunities in South Stockton (that I have been attending) has been meeting at STAND headquarters located at 1209 E. 8th Street.

More about the area where today’s event is located – this part of South Stockton includes three community resources next to each other.  Williams Brotherhood Park is a beautiful green space for children and families to gather from the surrounding neighborhood. Just east of the park is the Dorothy L. Jones Family Resource Center offering a variety of services and events.  For more info, link here.  Further east is the Merlo Institute (high school) that shares its gym with the community after school hours.  The gym is managed by The Table Community Foundation.

Don’t forget Art Break Day, a day when venues worldwide offer free art activities.  This year is Art Break Day’s 5th anniversary and its 3rd in Stockton. The Stockton Art Break Day takes place on the patio behind the Dorothy L. Jones Family Resource Center next Friday, September 4 from 9 am – 5 pm.  There will be drawing and painting stations and a butterfly kite painting activity with Draw It Out for all ages. The first 100 people to attend will receive a free Art In Your Pocket drawing set.

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Pride Festival

Photo from Stockton Pride on FB

Are you looking for something fun to do?  The Pride Festival, in its 4th year, is the place to be today. The free festival ($6 parking fee) takes place from 11am – 6 pm at Oak Grove Regional Park and features a full schedule of entertainment, food, music, vendors, info booths and activities for the kids.

New this year – the Stockmarket pop-up, sampling some of Stockmarket’s best vintage and makers (Note: the next Stockmarket takes place on Saturday, September 12 at 630 E. Weber from 10 am – 4 pm) and a Kids Zone Rainbow Reading area (11:30 pm – 2:30 pm) with local authors Gayle Pitman, Margaret Baker and John Padilla reading from their books with themes of diversity, being bullied and finding acceptance. For more info link here.

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August ArtSplash Tonight

The Mexican Heritage Center (111 S. Sutter) proudly presents a one man show by Carlos Perez now through August 28.  Hours are Tuesday – Friday from noon to 5 pm.  Meet Carlos and hear him talk about his art during an Artist Reception today from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. The reception is part of the August ArtSplash. Other venues include the Elk’s 5th floor group exhibit at Afinastar, the Transit Center student exhibit with interactive music, the Pride Center fab event, the County Administration Building display of Ron Leonardini mixed media and glass art, the Hotel Stockton lobby group exhibit with live music, furniture, henna, hair designs and lots of art mediums, Stockton Community Federal Credit Union (across from Misaki by the Regal Cineplex) with artwork by Riri Nakasone and St. John’s Episcopal Church with art and music by local artists.

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Obon Festival

Stockton Bukkyo Taiko At The Opening Ceremony

This weekend is my favorite Stockton festival, the Obon (a Japanese Buddhist custom honoring the ancestors) at the Buddhist Church of Stockton, 2820 Shimizu Dr. The festival opens today at 11 am with the Stockton Bukkyo Taiko drum performance in front of the chapel followed by a full day of events including a Japanese vocalized poem at noon; martial arts at 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 4 pm, 4:45 pm and 6 pm; temple tour at 1 pm; Taiko drums at 2 pm; Japanese classical dance at 3:15 pm; Minyo dance at 4:30 pm; Polynesian dance at 5:15 pm culminating in the spectacular Bon Odori (parade of dancers in colorful kimonos to folk music in the courtyard) not to be missed!

The festival stays open tonight until 9 pm. Inside you will find exhibits of ikebana (flower arranging), bonsai, a sword display (Saturday only), and a Mataro Doll Display (Sunday only). Japanese crafts handmade by the Tomo-no Kai (women’s group at the temple) are for sale along with food items – tempura, teriyaki, udon, sushi, pastries, sno cones and more.  Outside there are games for the young and the young at heart.

On Sunday, the festival begins at 11 am.  A Taiko drum performance starts the day at noon followed by a bonsai demonstration at 1 pm; martial arts at 1:30 pm, 3:15 pm and 4:15 pm; Hawaiian ukulele at 2 pm; karaoke singers at 2:45 pm; temple tour at 3:45 pm; Hawaiian dance at 5 pm culminating in a raffle drawing, to close the day’s events, for lots of great prizes.

The Obon is a fun, community event that gives you a taste of Japan without leaving Stockton. There is something for everyone – food, games, crafts, folk art and customs, music, dance, poetry and the joy of being together in celebration in one special place. I hope you will decide to experience the Obon!

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Crowdfunding For Stockmarket Starts Today

Indoor Space At May Stockmarket

In just a few months the Stockmarket, downtown Stockton’s premier shopping experience, has become a crowd pleaser featuring makers of all kinds, vintage, music and food.  The first Stockmarket was held at the beginning of May and the second event took place in mid July, reaching vendor capacity.

As the Stockmarket grows funding is needed for additional staffing (currently there are two staff members), permits, insurance, furniture, building improvements, support of local musicians and hiring artists to collaborate on an outdoor mural. A crowdfunding campaign over the next month starts today.  Help Stockmarket continue to thrive in downtown.  For more information, link here.

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Free Art Classes

Jon Quinones Illustration

Today starts free summer youth art classes sponsored by Art Expressions of San Joaquin with a grant from the Stockton Arts Commission.  Locations include the Weston Ranch Library (1453 French Camp Rd.) and the Podesto Teen Impact Center (725 N. El Dorado).  Another free youth art class series will be offered at the Troke Library (502 W. Ben Holt Dr.) starting this Thursday, July 16.

The class at the Weston Ranch Library runs once a week on Tuesdays (starting today) through August 4 from 2 pm – 4 pm with instructor Ernie Martin who will elaborate on figure drawing, use of materials and the importance of sketchbook journaling. Limited to 15 dedicated students ages 8 – 16. Materials provided. To register, email ana.vera@att.net

The workshop at the Teen Center runs twice a week on Tuesdays (starting today) and Thursdays through the end of July from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm with instructor Jon Quinones who will teach the core concepts of illustration – application, light physics, value, form, texture and spatial depth.  These concepts are helpful to know for creating thumbnails for painting or storyboards, comics, murals, graphics and product design. Limited to 15 dedicated students ages 12 – 18. To register, email quinonesjon@hotmail.com

The class at the Troke Library runs once a week on Thursday (starting July 16) through July 30 from 4:30 pm – 6 pm with instructor Menchie Oliva and features acrylic painting, use of materials and the importance of sketchbook journaling. Limited to 10 dedicated students ages 8 – 16. Materials provided. To register, email menchieoliva@att.net

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    Joy Neas

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