Murals Making Moves in Downtown

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New Mural! Find it on the side of 707 E. Main St

It’s the colors and size of a mural that easily captures our attention roaming anywhere downtown. And the latest installment up at the side of 707 E. Main St. is no exception.

This giant work of art is to honor Devone Boggan, CEO of Advance Peace, an organization dedicated to ending cyclical and retaliatory gun violence in American urban neighborhoods. For all his endless work enriching young people’s lives, he was named an Ashoka Changemaker in 2021 and was named a recipient of an Irvine Foundation Leadership Award this year. The James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards recognize individuals advancing breakthrough solutions to critical issues facing California. 

John Horton is the multidisciplinary artist selected to create and produce the mural. He’s titled it: Transforming Lives. A resident of Sacramento, John’s Instagram profile showcases his awesome artistry of digital graphics, canvas work, and other commissioned projects. He’s been creating murals all over the state for about 6 years and he really likes our downtown.

“I like the architecture and the pace of it here. It’s pretty cool.”

John has very simple advice on how to put your art out there and have your work commissioned: “Be involved in your community and opportunities will arise from that.”

With so much work to be done to keep our downtown moving, John had a great suggestion, “Everything starts with the youth. So any programs that can inspire the next generation, that’s the only way you can get good change for longevity.”

Want more murals in Downtown Stockton? All you have to do is ask. [email protected]

Downtown Stockton’s “Bourbon Street”: Dreaming Tomorrow’s Downtown

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by Shaun Chatrath

Throughout the 21st century, Downtown Stockton has improved substantially, in large part due to the many businesses, people, and organizations who have helped revitalize this area.

Since the 1990s, the Downtown Stockton Alliance has played a massive role in marketing, informing, and giving life to Downtown. Through this effort, many projects, such as musical events and the restoration of Mun Kwok Lane, have seen the light of day.

With that said, we have only scratched the surface of Downtown Stockton’s potential.

We believe that Downtown Stockton one day can become one of the premier landmarks in the state of California.

This belief is due to the picturesque port that flows across Downtown, the convenience of Stockton’s geography, and the vast amount of land Downtown suited for businesses and entrepreneurship.

To reach Downtown Stockton’s full potential, why not look at the following American cities for inspiration: New Orleans and Reno?

Like Downtown Stockton, New Orleans has rich architecture and history, many of which oversee a body of water that cuts through the city (Mississippi River).

According to the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, 58% of tourists to New Orleans tour these historic sites and architecture.

In that same study, they found that tourists to the city of New Orleans spent an average of $50 more than the average tourism spending in the United States.

Thus, growing the economy of the local area. elements of New Orleans into its urban planning, we’d be drawing from a proven foundation of success and establishing a tourism-friendly culture for Downtown.

Now obviously, the area size of Downtown Stockton is significantly less than New Orleans, but that’s where a town such as Reno comes in. Reno, Nevada, is billed as “The Biggest Little City in the World.”

Like Las Vegas, the city has several casinos and shows such as Circus Circus Resort or Atlantis that draw visitors each year. According to a study by Travel Nevada, Reno has seen a $95 increase in average tourism trip spending between the years 2016-2019. Las Vegas has seen an $88 increase in the same time period.

Reno is a successful mini–Las Vegas.

To entice tourists, Downtown Stockton needs its own mini–Bourbon Street or North Virginia Street. A stretch of road where food, history, music, and most importantly, people gather at every corner together to celebrate.

What features would make Downtown Stockton the next tourist hotspot? Which street could be our Bourbon Street?

SOURCES

Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism 2019-2020 Study: https://crt.state.la.us/Assets/Tourism/research/documents/2019-2020/2019%20Louisiana%20Visitor%20Profile.pdf

Reno 2016 -2020 Travel Nevada Study:

Reno-Tahoe-Territory-CY16-20.pdf (travelnevada.biz)

Las Vegas 2016 -2020 Travel Nevada Study:

Las-Vegas-Territory-CY16-20.pdf (travelnevada.biz)

Downtown beautification adds new color and art in Stockton

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by Ben Sanchez

Brighter days.

When I boxed up the buttons my intern designed in preparation for the diversity ceremony this month, I realized the work my team developed for this project would be coming to a close.

My intern, Ayaana Williams, wrapped up button and flyer designs for the project during her final week at the office. I picked up the camera for the first time in a long time. The camera felt heavy in my hands as I walked past the new Superior Court of California downtown. There is a small walkway between the old and new courthouse buildings on Weber Avenue. I heard swishing water past the steps where people were walking in and out of large, windowed doors of the courthouse. The bustling crowds moved swiftly through the walkway to approach the building.

Skies were clear today with sun rays beaming down on the open space behind the courthouse. The ceremony was scheduled before noon. I slip past the crowds, preparing my attempt to capture moments with the camera.

I have made this walk numerous times with my team in downtown. Jason and I filmed downtown shots of the Fox theater and the old Bank of Stockton building. We snapped photos a few blocks away at the redeveloped Chung Wah Lane. But today, at that moment, I am the one looking down the lens this time. This space is different now. Ayaana compiled before and after footage of this outdoor area. We both watched this outdoor space transform over the past four months from Hunter Square to Diversity Plaza.

City of Stockton team members pose for the selfie.

Diversity Plaza.

Once called Hunter Square, the new space is now named Diversity Plaza. The Spire, an art piece designed by Glen Mortenson, was originally located in this outdoor space (Passerbyers will now see the Spire at the newly developed Miner Avenue roundabout).

Michael Huber, Executive Director of Downtown Stockton Alliance, explained he wanted to celebrate Stockton’s diversity for this project, hence the name change for the area. “For our 2021 beautification project, we chose the back half of Hunter Square, which is now Diversity Plaza,” says Huber.

During the winter months last year, our maintenance team assisted with the landscape development. Flag poles were painted and placed across the plaza. Each flag is designed by Ayaana with these words: Unity, Equity, Pride, Inclusion, Diversity, and Respect.

The short video footage she put together will give you a sense of the work and transformation over the past year.

You can watch the video below.

Behind the lens.

The camera felt heavy today. Heavier than usual. The crowd walked across the lawn into the sunlight where rows of chairs waited to seat their visitors. I look through the camera lens to capture the art on utility boxes near Diversity Plaza. The outdoor space was utilized in our other video when we introduced Ayaana on our YouTube channel. I went ahead and operated the camera when we captured video of her walking past the flags during construction. You also can watch that video on our YouTube channel.

Ayaana was a great photographer. She captured a lot of the Diversity Plaza photos you see on social media. The material she developed was an integral part of the design process for marketing going forward.

Speaking of design and art, Sam Majeed (@dopaminecolors) created the art you see at Diversity Plaza. This collaborative effort toward this project is not his first project in downtown. He created a mural in the Courthouse Plaza parking lot along the east wall of the building. People approached him in the crowd. His large coat had a colorful art design across his back. When he turned to address the people acknowledging his artwork, I squeezed the button on the camera to capture it.

Sam Majeed greeting the public.

Celebrate Diversity.

Diversity Plaza ceremony

Two large polished art statues stand behind a circular, iron gated area. These statues and gates round out the art ensemble at the plaza. City of Stockton officials, public figures, and community members gathered for the presentation of Diversity Plaza. When Huber addressed the crowd introducing Harry Black to the microphone, everyone took a seat. Each speaker approached the microphone to say a few words about the work being done in downtown before presenting a certificate to Huber.

Chamber representatives were asked to approach the microphone to speak. The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Central Valley Asian American Chamber of Commerce offered their appreciation for the beautification efforts in downtown. People lined up for photo ops by Tim Ulmer as they exchanged greetings before the camera clicks to snapshot the moment. Majeed took a candid photo standing in front of his work (Striking a pose to capture his coat in the shot). With people saying their goodbyes, I pop the cover back on the lens before I head off to the next venture.

The crowd dispersed with a snapshot of Diversity Plaza. I hope the public can make their way to visit this hidden space. Hopefully, this will be one of many upcoming beautification projects within downtown Stockton.

Fun Fact:

Ayaana Williams designed the flags and buttons for Diversity Plaza. She also created the highlight video and captured photos during the development process downtown.

Check out businesses in previous vlog episodes on our YouTube channel!

Subscribe now and catch all new episodes in downtown Stockton.

Book Lovers Paradise in Downtown Stockton

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By Paula Sheil,
Tuleburg Press & The Write Place

Nestled in the center of Downtown Stockton is a welcoming book lover’s paradise. Inside are shelves bursting with poetry and art books, vintage printing presses and book binding equipment, polished and brought back to life, and floor-to-ceiling murals depicting Stockton’s lush natural habitats. This book lover’s oasis – The Write Place – is a legacy project of Tuleburg Press.

The mission of Tuleburg Press is to foster literacy in our diverse community by identifying, publishing, and/or mentoring emerging, talented, local writers, especially those who write about life in the Central Valley. The Write Place is where we make that happen.

Located at 343 E. Main Street, The Write Place is a studio workshop that offers classes in book binding, letter press printing, and so much more. During the week, book arts and creative writing classes take place, while on the weekends the center hosts authors and artists who showcase their work.

Artist Saul Serna works on a linoleum block print in a Delta-inspired environment realized by muralist Armando Perez.

From cover to cover, Tuleburg Press is all about the book. But more than a book publisher, we host classes where students can create their own books from making the paper, to assembling the book structure, sewing up the book, and filling its pages with creativity!

Instructor Angie Maxson helps Paige and (mom) Sabrina Wold make junk journals.

Poets can work under the tutelage of Stockton’s poet laureate Tama Brisbane on Tuesdays. Writers in other genres meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at our Writers Exchange, where they explore prompts and share their work.

We hold a multitude of different book arts classes throughout the month.  Review our schedule and enroll for the classes on our website.

In addition to our regular classes, we often host special events for schools, businesses, and individuals. Schools make hour-long field trips to tour the facility and engage in book arts activities, including book making and creative writing. Businesses have used our services as a company team building retreat, where employees can attend a private workshop in which they learn to make paper, make journals, or learn to bind books. We are always happy to hold birthday parties for bibliophiles; all of our offered classes can become a private party.

To discuss setting up a special event at The Write Place, please contact us via email at [email protected] or via phone 209-949-2233.

We hope to see you soon!

 

Downtown Murals Create Awareness

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By Sylwia Lipiec-Qualls, DSA’s Communications Manger

“We have a thing about doing murals in partnership with human rights and non-profit organizations,” started his story Andrew Laubie, the founder of Street Art Anarchy. SAA curates and produces high impact public art projects in such cities as New York, London, and Hong Kong. Now they have come to Downtown Stockton, CA.

Art by Astro; Location @ California St. & Miner Ave., Stockton

Laubie reached out to the Economic Security Project last year to suggest creating murals to illustrate the program and to inspire more awareness. ESP supports and funds projects that explore and champion unconditional cash for Americans.

“ESP loved the idea and understood right away the power of reaching people through urban art and gave us complete creative control of the project.”

Soon after, ESP announced at the CASH conference in San Francisco that it would be introducing the program in Stockton, CA. In due time, Stockton’s Mayor, Michael Tubbs, rolled out SEED, Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. This experimental program aims to provide a group of low income residents of Stockton a guaranteed basic income to help offset the cost of their basic needs.

Art by Brandan Odums; Location @ American St. & Main St., Stockton

“I was particularly inspired by the story of Stockton and the Avant Garde projects of mayor Tubbs. I went to scout Stockton to evaluate the possibility of doing the mural project there, where I met several people,” continued Laubie.

One of the people he met was Matthew Amen, the director of Huddle Co-work, who helped SAA to secure walls for the murals on downtown buildings belonging to Ten Space Development.

Three murals were created over the span of three weekends in Downtown Stockton. Through their creative symbolism each image ties into the philosophy of Economic Security Project and furthers the awareness of SEED in Stockton.

Art by Kia; Location @ Channel St. & California St.

Laubie is excited about the impact SAA’s art has already had on the local community, “Stockton has a lot of potential to host mural projects, and there are already many good works around town. It reminds me a lot of Brooklyn and Wynwood before they became artistic hot spots, and with such a strong artistic culture and innovative leadership I have a feeling that it may be going in the same trajectory.“