Zion Academy Of Music

I am constantly learning about passionate people making a difference in Stockton. For every person who has given up on this city there is someone equally devoted.

Today I feature the work of the Zion Academy of Music and Joshua Washington.  The Zion Academy is a private music school founded by Dumisani Washington, Joshua’s father. Dumisani serves as its director with Joshua as its assistant director. Zion offers private lessons, group classes, annual piano fests and a free jazz program. In addition to piano performance and music theory Zion Academy teaches drums, electric bass, acoustic bass, violin, cello, brass, voice, guitar, musical theater and humanities. The Stockton Arts Commission awarded Zion a grant in 2012 for their jazz ensemble program.

This Saturday UOP graduate Sharon Su will play a free piano recital at Zion Academy, 7475 Murray Dr at 5pm. Sharon was a top student and in demand as a chamber player and accompanist. She has performed in masterclasses and worldwide – from San Diego to Salzburg.


Joshua was raised in Stockton and graduated from UOP with a degree in music composition. Since high school he wanted to create something beautiful for Stockton with music. Last year, Joshua’s passion became a reality with, “The Reclaim Concert” at Weber Point.

I asked Joshua why he wanted to stay here and create something beautiful when so many others leave. He replied that, “the Reclaim Concerts is our way of displaying some of the great things that Stockton has to offer and to encourage others to do something great for their city before they leave or instead of leaving. It’s my way of giving back to my city using my gifts and talents.”

Save the date for this year’s Reclaim Concert on May 17 and give if you can.

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When The Arts Touch

After I saw the poster for “Interconnection: When the Arts Touch” in a window on the Miracle Mile I was intrigued.  As an artist, the connectedness of all things resonates with me.   Valerie Gnassounou-Bynoe, the Chair of Delta College’s Dance Department, told me more.

Interconnection relies on visual arts, literature, American Sign Language, science and music to initiate creative movements.  Valerie collaborated with her mentor James Wheatley to interpret the parable of The Prodigal Son showing how we rise and fall – choices are everything. She also was inspired by Michelangelo’s quote, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” to create the piece “Cycle of Bloom.”

Incorporating science into the production came from the struggle to fight for the validity of the arts. How is dance accepted as more than a leisurely activity? Studies show that dance increases mental sharpness at all ages.  Dance wards the decay of neurons and sparks the cells. Valerie used this information to imagine, “Fretting cells” with Manny Moreno, a biology teacher. Manny’s band “Loki Rhythms” accompanies the dancers playing interpretive traditional drums with spoken words.

Kim Epifano, owner of Epiphany Productions, thought of the work of Remy Charlip to inspire her offering.  Before he died, Remy gave her drawings which she is using as visual reference for her piece. Antoine Hunter performs using sign language and dance as story telling accompanied by Rocio Lopez painting live.

Interconnection: When the Arts Touch takes place this Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19 at Delta College’s Atherton Auditorium at 8 pm.  Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors 62 and over.  A $1 facility fee is charged on every ticket processed through the box office including complimentary/free tickets.  The facility fee is higher for online ticket sales.

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My Sikh Parade Memories

In 2012, I finally made it to the Sikh parade.  I watched from a spot just south of the Amtrak station on San Joaquin and I am so glad I did.

I heard the parade before I saw it – the wafting sounds of a bagpipe.  Then trucks came spraying water on the street.  I didn’t understand why until I saw a sea of people walking toward me many of them barefoot.

And suddenly the parade stopped for what seemed like an eternity.  Why? What could they be waiting for and I remembered the 2:18 pm Amtrak I had taken.  The crossing arm descended and the Amtrak passed by.  When the arm lifted the parade continued walking around me.  The music repeated as all colors came my way.  The sky was a brilliant blue, a perfect day and I felt joy like never before.

I followed the parade watching the floats and martial arts.  Then I saw the most amazing sight – what looked like a spider web made of rope.  One by one the webs were twirled and thrown and caught and twirled again.

And when we reached the freeway underpass there was food for all to enjoy, a Sikh custom of sharing.  The parade continued as I watched them walk away.  It was the most amazing day.

The Sikh parade begins at Stockton’s Sikh Temple proceeds down San Joaquin to Weber and heads back on California finishing at the Sikh Temple about four miles.

2012 was the best year I could have chosen since that year Stockton’s Sikh Temple celebrated its 100th anniversary, being the first in the nation, which made the parade grander than ever.

Today the Sikh parade starts at 10 am.  It is a sight to behold.  I hope you will experience it for yourself.

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In The Doghouse Again

This is an update on a blog post I published on March 9.  My husband and I had never heard of a doghouse fundraiser before, and we liked the idea so much, that we decided to go to all fourteen locations where doghouses are being displayed to see them for ourselves.  Seven locations are on the Miracle Mile, one is on Alpine, two are on March, three are in the Lincoln Center area and one is in downtown Lodi.  Some of the doghouses are plain and some are decorated.  They are made out of a variety of materials from wood to fabric.  Some are made by individuals and some by groups like Art Expressions of San Joaquin and Lincoln High School.  See photos of all the doghouses below.

Today is the last day to see the doghouses in their locations.  The doghouses are being raffled for $1 per ticket with proceeds going directly to local nonprofit shelters.

If you get this paper signed at each venue you can turn it in at the closing event being held in Whirlow’s (1926 Pacific) parking lot this Saturday from 11 am – 3 pm for a chance to win a $75 Whirlow’s gift certificate.  The drawing for the gift certificate will be at 3 pm.

The closing event features a silent auction, music, food, pet related vendors and the nonprofit organizations that have been helped by the fundraiser.  Don’t miss your chance to care for the animals of Stockton.

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Call For Art

Past Artifact Cover

The Artifact, Delta College’s Literary Magazine, is looking for artwork, photography, poetry and short stories for its next issue.  Short stories are limited to 1500 words.  Visual works must be 300 dpi in jpg format. Send submissions to artifactsjdc@gmail.com by April 11.


Silver Lake Stockton Family Camp is having a logo contest. The winner will receive $100 and 2 sweatshirts with the new logo design. In addition the logo will be featured on all 2014 camp apparel.

Rules – The logo must be line art with no shading relating to the camp or surrounding area and not contain any copyright material. All logo entries become property of Silver Lake Campers Association.  Email your logos to info@stocktonfamilycamp.org including your name and telephone number by April 15.  For questions email the above address or phone 209-227-0082.

More About Silver Lake Stockton Family Camp

Silver Lake Cabins (photo from http://www.stocktonfamilycamp.org/)

Founded in 1921, the camp is located at Silver Lake on Highway 88 about 100 miles from Stockton on land that is leased by Stockton from the United States Forest Service.

Camp activities include hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, crafts, group campfires, singalongs, weekly variety shows, games (basketball, tetherball, volleyball, horseshoes, ping pong, bingo), game night, movie night and slide shows. ______________________________________________________________________

Artist Saul Serna With His Work In The Kress Lobby At The Summer ArtSplash

The Summer ArtSplash is a monthly event starting the second Friday in May through October.  This is the third annual Summer ArtSplash, a self-guided downtown tour of venues filled with art.

The Summer ArtSplash needs artists of all kinds – visual artists, musicians, dancers, poets to display and perform as well as volunteers and venues.  Volunteer tasks include setting up and staffing venues, distributing maps and breaking down venues. The Summer ArtSplash showcases Stockton talent of all ages and can not happen without you.  Please email dibsonart@yahoo.com if you are interested in participating.

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Student Art

Today is the last day to view the 83rd McKee show at the Haggin Museum in Victory Park, 1201 N. Pershing.  This year 59 schools from San Joaquin County participated with 1,127 entries.

Robert McKee, the museum’s founding patron, envisioned this exhibit as a way to encourage students by providing a venue for their art.  It is the longest running student art competition in the U.S. and an excellent opportunity for young artists to show their work in a museum setting, something most children could only dream about.

The Haggin will be open today from noon – 5 pm.  Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children 10 – 17.  Children under age 10 accompanied by an adult are free.

McKee Artist Spotlight

While I was reviewing the list of award winners for the McKee show one name stood out – Keith Lua-Foster.  Keith won the Docent Council Award of Merit – Lower Division (3rd Grade, Don Riggio Elementary) for his robot sculpture.  It was made from metal pieces attached together with hot glue and light bulbs sitting on a base. When I asked Keith about his creation he said that he likes to “put things together. I pictured it in my mind and did it.” If only we all could do that.

Keith Lua – Foster comes by his talent naturally.  His parents are teachers at the Weber Institute.  His mother, Luz Lua- Foster is an accomplished artist and art teacher and a founding member of the Mexican Heritage Center.  His father, Stephen Foster, is a musician and teaches digital art and video production.

Art Wall At 2014 SUSD Visual Art High School Showcase

The 2014 SUSD Visual Art High School Showcase opens at the Mexican Heritage Center, 111 S. Sutter through April 30. Hours are Tuesdays – Saturdays, noon – 5 pm with a reception Friday, April 11 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

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The Healing Power Of The Arts Part 2

Sustainability and the healing power of art is a prevalent theme in April.  UOP’s Reynolds Gallery is currently exhibiting “Art and Design for People and Planet” ending this Thursday, April 3 as part of Pacific’s Sustainability Month.  It can be seen weekdays from 9 am – 4:30 pm.


The exhibit explores the merging of sustainability and art.  Some topics addressed are fair trade, land tenure, human rights abuses, post-war processes, and the negative effects of globalization.  Mediums range from painting to sculpture to video.


Healing happens when people confront issues head on.  A new partnership of organizations (Cleveland School Remembers, Jagged Lines of Imagination, YMCA, the Mexican Heritage Center, and Stockton Unified School District) have joined together to create Draw It Out, a community wide art project. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for children in grades K-12 to use visual art to express their feelings and concerns for their neighborhoods.

Creating wish flags is the first art activity for Draw It Out. Children will be invited to write and draw their wishes for a better neighborhood on fabric “Wish Flags” they block print with a design during Healthy Kids Day at University Park on April 5th from 10 am – 1 pm and during Earth Day at Victory Park on April 6th from 10 am – 4 pm. Once created, the wish flags will be displayed at venues around Stockton serving as an inspiration for us all.

Before leaving the Earth Day Festival please take time to add bottle caps to the bottle cap mural.  The bottle cap mural project is an emerging art project created by UOP graduate Alicia Valenzuela showing that single objects like bottle caps have value when combined into art with community effort.  Look for more information on how you can participate here.

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The Healing Power Of The Arts Part 1

Brubeck Festival Jazz Symposium

The arts take many forms.  They incorporate different mediums and themes.  Often they challenge us to look at the world in news ways, addressing difficult issues, and ultimately bringing healing.

I reflect on many of the art events I have attended during the month of March.  One reoccurring theme stands out – social justice.  The Filipino Transnational Migration exhibit that was featured at the Mexican Heritage Center documented class division between cities and the changing nature of world wealth.

Every year the Mexican Heritage Center presents exhibits on social justice issues to coincide with Cesar Chavez’s birthday on March 31.  Some may wonder why a Filipino photo exhibit was shown at the Mexican Heritage Center – because its subject matter tied into the theme of social justice that affects us all.

Last Friday at the people’s premiere of the new film “Cesar Chavez” Dolores Huerta urged the audience to continue the pursuit for worker’s rights and basic dignities.

Later that evening Al Jarreau told his concert audience that helping people brought happiness and art brought healing.  The concert was part of the annual Brubeck Festival in association with the Brubeck Institute whose mission is to impact society through the arts with education, community engagement and as a catalyst for social change.

The Brubeck Festival jazz symposium on Saturday stated the importance of community and making the arts a priority. After the symposium UOP’s Kilusan Pilipino Club presented two performances of their annual cultural event.  This year the performance was entitled, “No Filipinos Allowed.”  I will never get used to this unthinkable statement. It shows us how far Filipinos in America have come and reminds us never to lose sight of past injustices in the work still left to be done.

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Today At UOP

Today the University of the Pacific Kilusan Pilipino club is proud to present its 18th annual Pilipino Cultural event entitled, “No Filipinos Allowed.” There will be two performances, one at 1pm and the other at 6pm. The performances take place at the De Rosa University Center Ballroom at UOP. Tickets are $10 at the door or $7 with student ID.

The production details a Filipino American family struggling to keep their home and find their place in the American Dream.  Watch their struggles through racism, fear, urban renewal, and their celebrations of heritage and family.

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Dave Brubeck Lives On

Dave Brubeck photo from http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/67574

     I never could have dreamed of all the opportunities living in Stockton would have given me – posing with the Budweiser Clydesdales and the Famous Chicken, seeing Maya Angelou, listening to Walter Cronkite, attending the Janet Leigh Plaza dedication with Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis, taking a writer’s workshop from Maxine Hong Kingston, hearing Carol Channing sing, meeting Dolores Huerta and listening to Dave Brubeck play the piano.

     Dave Brubeck lives on through his music.  This week is the annual Brubeck Festival in Stockton – musical performances and a free lecture and community concert.

     The Brubeck Festival begins at Take 5 Jazz at the Brew club, a special place to hear live music in an intimate setting, at the Valley Brewing Company, 157 W Adams Street on Wednesday, March 26 with the Pacific Jazz Ensemble at 7:30 pm.  Music continues at Take 5 this Thursday through Saturday each evening at 10 pm – midnight.  Link here for list of performers. General Admission is $10 and students are $5.

     The Brubeck Festival featured performers include Eddie Palmieri at the Atherton Auditorium on Thursday at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $15 – $25.  Al Jarreau will play at the Bob Hope Theatre on Friday at 8 pm.  Tickets are $25 – $50.  And finally Terri Lyne Carrington performs at the Faye Spanos Concert Hall on Saturday at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 general admission and $15 students.

     On Saturday there are two free events.  A talk entitled “Jazz Symposium: The Role of Jazz and the Arts in Education and Culture” starts the day at the Faye Spanos Concert Hall from 11 am – 1 pm followed by  Jazz on the Green, a concert by student musicians on the lawn by Burns Tower, from 1 pm – 5 pm featuring history displays, kid’s crafts, an instrument petting zoo where kid’s can play instruments and food available for purchase.

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    Joy Neas

    My life is all about art – appreciating it, studying it, making it, sharing it, promoting it and preserving it. My goal, as an artist, is to help people look at the world in new ways encouraging everyone to experience the beauty that exists all ... Read Full
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