The arts are going through major changes with the exploration of reinstating a San Joaquin County arts council, renovations to The Haggin Museum, increased outreach by the Children’s Museum, the launching of legacy projects, more younger artists creating art and art exhibits and new cultural events.

A panel discussion was one of the last events at "A World Without Art?" at the Mexican Heritage Center on Sept. 23. Sofia Colon shared how she guided her daughter toward college and studying for a career in art therapy by the advice given in a book entitled, “Flight of the Quetzal Mama: How to Raise Latino Superstars and Get Them Into the Best Colleges by Roxanne Ocampo.”

Susan Obert told the audience that The Haggin is Stockton’s leading tourist destination and that more residents need to explore this community asset. Currently, renovations are providing new fine art displays with new history displays coming next because they are more costly. Linda Mora suggested that more cultural displays, especially Latino, be presented to reflect Stockton’s population. I urged greater emphasis on history, cultural and interactive elements and inviting more community artists to assist.

Marianne Prieto who was scheduled to be present could not attend. I told the audience that she had been invited to talk about the increased community outreach the Children’s Museum has been participating in and what a difference this outreach had made to the museum. Two presenters joined the panel — Alex Thompson spoke about Stockton’s rich history and the need to preserve it, and Richard Rios, a founding member of the Mexican Heritage Center, talked about his journey to becoming an artist, arts educator and author.

After the panel concluded I visited a one-night art show by Chris Jones at the Slip Skate Shop, 3228 Pacific Ave. Most of his works were painted on skateboards. I particularly enjoyed his rose motif. Jones has burst onto the scene and is receiving a Comet Award from the Stockton Arts Commission on Oct. 15. You can find him and his art at the Cal-Pine Barber Shop on the Miracle Mile.

Sept. 24 started with a meeting of artists and arts leaders at the San Joaquin County Administration Building to discuss reinstating the San Joaquin County arts council. Many of the people in the room had worked on the council’s behalf since the 1980s and ’90s. Natalie Watkins urged the need for better social media efforts advertising to younger artists for their desire to participate. The session ended with a vote by the group about what was needed most — technical support and information about grants. Meetings will continue in the coming months. Contact SJ County Supervisor Moses Zapien to get involved.

After the county arts council meeting, a make-and-take art workshop was the culminating event for "A World Without Art?" Children painted on canvas boards, made shrinky dinks, kaleidoscopes and stencils.

The theme of creating art continued in preparation for the Peace and Light Festival at Morelli Park. Community members, including myself, made lanterns and lotuses. Lanterns were made of colored paper folded in half and taped together with drawings and messages on them. These were placed on a Styrofoam base around bamboo skewers. Lotuses were fashioned of banana tree trunk bases with banana leaves folded and placed in groups of large, medium and small surrounding the base and finished with decorative paper ribbon creating a border.

The festival started with guitar and flute music, and remarks followed by song and Cambodian dance and a procession to the dock where the candles were lit and the lanterns and lotuses were floated. Ny Mony Tsai shared that the festival was a way for people to not feel alone in their grief. Christina Fugazi said that everyone who attended was carrying someone with them.

The long-planned Filipino American National Historical Society National Museum, located at 337 E. Weber Ave., will have an Open House from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8. Hope to see you there.

— Joy Neas is an arts advocate and coordinator for ArtSplash. Contact her at