The Littlest Ant

The Stockton Youth Theater Project Presents, “The Littlest Ant”, a Hispanic folk tale about the struggles of a little ant who hates to work. Performances take place today and tomorrow at the Franklin High School Small Auditorium, 300 N. Gertrude Avenue at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $2 per person or $5 per family.

More about the Stockton Youth Theater Project –

The Stockton Youth Theater Project is a collaboration between Franklin High School and the Mexican Heritage Center funded in part by a grant from the Stockton Arts Commission.

The project has been offering free workshops (including snacks) two Saturdays a month from 9 am – noon since September at the Mexican Heritage Center, 111 S. Sutter.  Children are learning how to make puppets, masks, sets, props, and costumes and have studied improv, pantomime, acting, makeup and dance all leading to this performance.

Franklin high theater students assist the Franklin high performing arts teacher in instruction.  Currently there are 10 students ranging from 5 – 11 years with room for expansion.  The program is open to children kindergarten through 8th grade.

The next series of classes starts on February 7 with culminating performances in June. Exploring new ideas and different cultural traditions and learning new skills helps build confidence for future endeavors.  Do you know a child who would enjoy a new experience?

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Art And Violence Prevention – A Panel Discussion

De Stocktone By El Jerome

Tomorrow, as part of the “Art Against Violence” exhibit, there will be a panel discussion about Art And Violence Prevention at the  Mexican Heritage Center, 111 S. Sutter (corner of Market and Sutter) at 6 pm.

Four of the “Art Against Violence” exhibit artists – Denny Ah-Tye, David Vallejo, El Jerome and Joy Neas will be joined by Noriko Leedy, the mother of Allison Leedy, a domestic violence victim and Jessica Glynn from the Office of Violence Prevention in sharing their experiences and work focused on preventing violence.  Questions and discussion are encouraged.

  • Denny Ah-Tye will be speaking about his 35 years with Child Protective Services and working in themes of non violence.
  • David Vallejo addresses racism reminding us that words have substantial meaning and that we should always think before speaking.
  • El Jerome relies on art to remember his loved ones lost to violence.
  • Joy Neas looks to art for relief from verbal abuse and as a positive outlet for healing expression.
  • Noriko Leedy speaks from a mother’s perspective on the effects of domestic violence.
  • Jessica Glynn will share what her work with the Office of Violence Prevention includes and suggest how the community can partner with her efforts.

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Silicon Valley To San Joaquin

Carlos Perez, illustrator of the Apple computer logo, talks about his artistic influences and career spanning his years at Delta College (1970 – 1972) until the present.  The presentation takes place tomorrow at noon in the Tillie Lewis Theatre at Delta College and is free to the public.

Carlos Perez is among six alumni exhibiting in the Delta College Alumni Show at the Horton Gallery through February 12.  Bill Abright, went on to teach ceramics at the College of Marin. John Yoyogi Fortes has received grants from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and a Visual Artist Fellowship from the California Arts Council. Michael Lucero’s work can be seen in the collections of the American Craft Museum, The Carnegie Museum, The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the LA County Museum of Art. David Phelps has been commissioned to create large-scale sculpture across the country including “Desert Wildlife” at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Tracey Snelling has had solo exhibitions throughout the US, China, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and London, and has been awarded residencies in Beijing and Shanghai.

Meet some of the artists at the reception happening tomorrow evening from 5 pm to 7 pm.  The Delta Alumni exhibit was created to inspire and mentor present day students and share success stories from the Visual Arts Department.


Cafe Coop is proud to bring leaders in the tech industry to San Joaquin County for a monthly Silicon Speaker Series this Saturday, January 31.  This series is perfect for the app developer, student, corporate engineer or casual coder.

Zachary Repasky, Render Pipeline Specialist at Pixar Animation Studios pulls back the curtain on what it takes to make movies like Brave and Monsters, Inc. at 4 pm at the Valley Brewing Company. A $10 donation is requested from Cafe Coop non-members.  Register here.

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Steppin’ Out

The symphony is not just for adults. This week hundreds of school children (from Pulliam, VanBuren and Kohl schools to name a few) heard much of the same program I enjoyed (only in kid-friendly lengths) with members of Draw It Out on January 17 – El Condor Pasa, Symphony No. 6 by Tchaikovsky and original compositions by Harmony Stockton and Vinewood Elementary (Lodi) composed during the Kid Pan Alley project.

Steppin’ Out, now in its 18th year, brings groups of local 4th and 5th grade students to 3 days of back to back concerts at the Atherton Auditorium at Delta College immersing them in a symphony experience.  These concerts are often the first live orchestra sounds San Joaquin county children hear.  At a time when students are deciding whether or not to take music in school, experiences like these can inspire them to include music as part of a more well rounded education.

In preparation for attending the concert, students learned about audience etiquette (when to clap – when the concert master appears to tune the orchestra; when the conductor enters; when the music stops and the conductor drops his arms and turns around; at the end of the concert to show you really liked the music and want the musicians to play more). Students also experimented with songwriting and practiced singing America The Beautiful and El Condor Pasa, two songs performed during the concert.

Residents of Stockton are very fortunate to have such a rich musical tradition with the Stockton Symphony; the Zion Chamber Orchestra Festival; the Brubeck Festival; Concerts In The Park; Zion Academy of Music and other private music instruction; music performances at clubs, restaurants and festivals; and all the music courses available throughout grade school and college.

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When I attended tonight’s MLK event I learned that tomorrow, Monday, January 19th, the MLK prayer breakfast starts at 7 am in the South Hall of the Civic Auditorium and costs $15 for adults, seniors and children under 12 are $7.50 with proceeds going towards a scholarship fund. After the breakfast, the MLK march begins at Center and Fremont.

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A National Treasure Speaks

Today is the start of two days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations at the Civic Auditorium that are free to the public.

At 6 pm tonight there will be reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. including music directed by Art Coleman of Edison High followed by keynote speaker, Geraldine Edwards Hollis, original member of the Tougaloo Nine Youth Civil Rights Movement (this group staged the first sit-ins of public institutions in Mississippi) and author of the book “Back to Mississippi.”  I first met Geraldine at last year’s Art Break Day at Janet Leigh Plaza.  She was supportive of my efforts to offer artmaking to Stockton.  It was only afterwards that I realized I was in the presence of a national treasure now making Stockton her home.

Tonight’s event will conclude with award presentations – Young Adult Award to Christopher Cannon, Individual Award to Charles A. Johnson, Organization Award to Fathers and Families of San Joaquin and a special tribute for Stockton’s 1st Black Educator, Mrs. Wilhelmina Henry, who will celebrate her 95th birthday on January 20th.

Tomorrow, Monday, January 19th, MLK events continue with a morning prayer breakfast at 8 am in the South Hall of the Civic Auditorium followed by a MLK community march assembling at 9 am at the corner of Fremont and Center heading south on Center to Weber and north on El Dorado to the MLK statue in the park.

After the march there will be a day of programs in the Civic Auditorium with speakers on the importance of doing for others in the spirit of Dr. King’s Dream, a workshop for parents and students led by the Black Employees Association of the Stockton Unified School District, poetry/spoken word, singing, line dancing and more. In addition, there will be informational and vendor displays with a raffle and prize give-a-ways.

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From Tragedy Hope

This Saturday, January 17 at 6 pm, Draw It Out members will be in the audience of the Stockton Symphony at Atherton Auditorium listening to compositions written by students from Marshall Elementary in Stockton, Vinewood Elementary in Lodi and Harmony Stockton that have been professionally arranged for the orchestra.

The effort is part of Kid Pan Alley, a children’s songwriting project, created by songwriter Paul Reisler.  The project has reached 35,000 children throughout the nation resulting in over 2,500 compositions coming to Lodi and Stockton last October.

“Imagine if you were a child writing a song in your classroom with a professional songwriter. Then suppose that your song was recorded by a world-class recording artist …You’d be changed forever. You’d have learned about teamwork, the value of everyone’s ideas, embracing diversity and collaboration through the group songwriting process. You might start writing songs to express your feelings rather than striking out in anger. You’d feel really listened to and proud of what you had done.”

In the lobby wish flags made by Harmony Stockton will be on display.  Draw It Out brought the wish flag project to Harmony Stockton, collecting wishes for a better neighborhood – students shared stories about gun deaths, unsafe parks and the need for gardens and more.

Twenty-six years ago on January 17 the Cleveland School shooting killed five children and wounded thirty-one, including a teacher.  This tragedy led to Cleveland School Remembers, a group devoted to gun control and the elimination of gun violence and their partner group Draw It Out that gives children art opportunities to express their feelings about gun violence.

The Draw It Out wish flag project has started Stockton talking about the needs of the community.  In Weston Ranch people are taking action.  We anticipate widespread action throughout all of Stockton – from tragedy, hope and healing.

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Art Against Violence Reception

Allison Leedy was always creating art.  She took art classes at the Art Korner on Alpine and at Franklin High.  Allison wanted to study graphic design and fine art in college and pursue graphic design as a career.

Silhouettes, on loan from the Women’s Center Youth And Family Services “Silent Witnesses,” to the Art Against Violence exhibit at the Mexican Heritage Center include Allison Leedy.  Allison is one of more than sixty people remembered, having lost their lives to domestic violence.

Allison made an impact on everyone. I was deeply touched by Allison’s story – how she brought us all together in remembrance (through memorials in Stockton, Washington and Japan) and to raise awareness and action towards domestic violence so that not another precious soul is taken. Allison’s mother wrote – “What we learned through Allison is how wonderful the people’s love is – not how painful the life is.”

Violence takes many forms.  The Art Against Violence exhibit also includes art about bullying, violence towards animals and more. My own life has been impacted by verbal abuse which contributed to me becoming an artist and poet.

I often wish

I could not hear

All the hurtful things

That have been said

My happiness

Will not depend on others

But on myself instead



The beauty I find in nature and doing my best

The beauty I find in creating, sharing

Giving others opportunity

To do the same

Your words echo

From time to time

Causing me pain

But when beauty fills my soul

The hurt that lingers

Does not take its toll

The Art Against Violence reception takes place this Friday, January 16 from 5:30 pm – 8 pm at 111 S. Sutter.  It includes music, poetry, food and time to meet the artists.

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Chamber Orchestra Festival Begins

The annual Chamber Orchestra Festival returns to Zion Lutheran Church, 808 Porter (near Lincoln Center), tonight at 5 pm.

Tonight’s concert “Brilliant Beethoven” is the first of three concerts –

“Brilliant Beethoven,” includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 Pastoral featured in Disney’s Fantasia and Beethoven‘s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major with soloist, Frank Wiens, back by popular demand for a third time.  Link here to listen to music by Bach, another great composer, at the 2013 Chamber Orchestra Festival at St. John’s.

“It’s Delightful, It’s Delicious, It’s DeLovely – An Evening of Cole Porter,” takes place next Friday, January 16th at 7:30 pm. The audience will be delighted by the Zion Pops Choir singing songs from Kiss Me Kate, Can Can and Anything Goes.

The festival concludes on Sunday, January 25 at 5 pm with the music of Igor Stravinsky and vocals by three opera singers–Daniel Ebbers, Jessica Seina and Burr Phillips.  Stockton’s own Max Simoncic debuts The Haggin Suite at the end of the program.  “Think of some of your favorite paintings from the Haggin Museum. Imagine what sounds they would inspire from an orchestra. This is what goes on in the imagination of Simoncic. Just like Beethoven did with his feelings about nature in the 6th Symphony, Max will make these paintings become musical. We are excited to conclude our festival with this work because it includes our excellent museum, professional performers, world renown composer, beautiful church, appreciative audience and our enthusiastic conductor. Together we make something positive in Stockton that we can claim as our own!”

Tickets are $20 per concert, or $45 for all three, on sale through Pay Pal online, or by visiting the Zion Lutheran Church Office.

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The Poetic Art Of Robert Laird

Inspired by nature, Robert Laird turns poetry into art. See his creations for yourself at tonight’s First Friday mixer at Café Coop, 42 N. Sutter (corner of Sutter and Weber) from 5 pm – 7 pm.

Don’t miss selected readings from Robert’s book, “Outside Insight.” His goal is to encourage us to look to nature for answers as he gives back to Stockton, the city that has given him so much.  The evening will also include music, food and art by local artists.

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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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