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Stockton, the county seat of San Joaquin County, is the 13th-largest city in California in population and one of the largest in area in the Central Valley. Stockton has an estimated population of 291,707, making it around the 65th largest city in the U.S. The city is located in Northern California south of the state capital of Sacramento and north of Modesto.

Stockton is along Interstate 5, State Route 99 and State Route 4 amid the farmland of the California Central Valley. It is connected westward with San Francisco Bay by the San Joaquin River's 78-mile (126 km) channel, and is, with Sacramento, one of the state's two inland sea ports. In and around Stockton are thousands of miles of waterways and rivers that make up the California Delta.

The city hosts the annual Asparagus Festival and is the location of Haggin Museum, an art and history museum built in Victory Park in 1931. The museum displays 19th and 20th century works of art and houses local historical exhibits. For much of the later 19th century, starting with the Gold Rush, Stockton was one of the largest cities in the state, for a while the third largest city.

Entertainment and culture

Performing arts

Music schools and orchestras

The Stockton Symphony is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California (founded in 1926), after the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The University of the Pacific is known for its music conservatory and for being the home of the Brubeck Institute, named after Dave Brubeck, a Pacific alumnus and jazz piano legend. The institute maintains an archive of Brubeck's work and offers a fellowship program for young musicians. The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet is composed of Pacific students and tours widely. San Joaquin Delta College has a growing jazz program and is home to several official and unofficial jazz bands composed of Delta and Pacific students and faculty. Christian Life College offers Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees Christian Music.

Stockton hosts several live music venues, including the Stockton Arena, which is home to several sports teams, and has hosted nationally known entertainers such as Gwen Stefani, Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, Josh Groban, and Bob Dylan. The annual Apollo Night talent show draws about 1,500 people to the Stockton Civic Auditorium to watch performances by aspiring Northern California musicians. The Bob Hope Theatre, formerly known as the Fox California Theatre in downtown Stockton, is one of several movie palaces in the Central Valley. Bob Hope often came to Stockton to visit close friend and billionaire tycoon Alex Spanos, who donated much of the money to revitalize the theater after Hope's death. The University of the Pacific Faye Spanos Concert Hall often hosts public performances, as does the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium. The Warren Atherton Auditorium at the Delta Center for the Arts on the campus of the San Joaquin Delta College is a 1,456-seat theater with a 60-foot (18 m) proscenium and full grid system. The Stockton Empire Theater is an art deco movie theater that has been revitalized as a venue for live music.

Founded in 1951, the Stockton Civic Theatre offers an annual series of musicals, comedies and dramas. It maintains a 300-seat theater in the Venetian Bridges neighborhood. The company also hosts the annual Willie awards for the local performing arts.

Other performing arts organizations and venues include:

Stockton Opera
Pacific Theatre at the University of the Pacific
Tillie Lewis Theatre at the Community Delta College
KUDOS Children's Theatre
Stockton School of Performing Arts
Stockton Ballet School
New Dance Company
Jagged Lines of Imagination Academy

Musicians, bands, and producers with origins in Stockton

The rock band Pavement was formed in Stockton's Morada exurb in 1989 by Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg. Much of their early material was recorded in North Stockton at Gary Young's Louder Than You Think Studios, which later moved to Linden.
Singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips, later of the Los Angeles band Grant Lee Buffalo, grew up in Stockton. Phillips moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s with fellow Stocktonian Jeffrey Clark, where the two musicians formed the indie-rock band Shiva Burlesque. Phillips formed Grant Lee Buffalo from the ashes of Shiva Burlesque, then went solo.
Singer/actor Chris Isaak was born in Stockton and grew up there, before forming his band Silvertone in San Francisco.
Noted Canadian-born jazz composer/arranger/bandleader Gil Evans grew up in Stockton, where he led bands before moving to New York.
Hipster poet, performer and Tuolumne County native Lord Buckley grew up in Stockton.
Stockton-based producers Hallway Productionz have created beats for well-known musicians, including Blackalicious, Ice Cube and WC.
R&B singers Bear and Erin Jennae appeared on the Billboard charts in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
In 2006 Tim Sovinec, a Stockton youth pastor and guitarist for the Christian rock band everybodyduck, became the first local resident to perform at the Stockton Arena.
In 2006 Latin Magic Band became the first local act to perform at both the arena and the 2,000-seat Bob Hope Theatre.
Local rapper Okwerdz received an Australian Gold record in 2008 for his work with the Hilltop Hoods.

Museums, visual art, and galleries

Stockton is home to several museums. The Haggin Museum features collections and exhibits related to local history and California history, and owns important works by late 19th and early 20th century artists. Notable among them is Albert Bierstadt, who was well-known for interpreting the towering grandeur of Yosemite and much of California's magnificent Sierra Nevada mountains. The local Tidewater Art Gallery features the work of local artists. The Stockton Art League maintains the Elsie May Goodwin Gallery. The University of the Pacific’s Reynolds Gallery and San Joaquin Delta College’s Horton Gallery feature contemporary work by students and local and nationally-known artists. The Children's Museum of Stockton is housed in a former warehouse on the Downtown waterfront, and features many interactive displays. The Filipino American National Historical Society has proposed the construction of the National Pinoy Museum in the Little Manila district. The museum would be dedicated to the history of Filipino-Americans. Stockton once had one of the largest population of Filipinos in the United States.

The Stockton Arts Commission, a division of city government, oversees a city endowment fund that provides grants to local artists and arts and cultural organizations. It sponsors the annual arts awards, a writing contest and the arts and crafts show at the Asparagus Festival. The commission also serves as an advocate and information clearinghouse for the arts and cultural community.

Stockton public art projects include:

Kinetic sculptures on the South and North Shores of the Stockton Channel, Downtown (2008–2009); “Airbourne”—a 20-foot-high (6.1 m) kinetic sculpture, brushed stainless steel, at the North Point by Moto Ohtake, Santa Cruz; A group of five stainless steel and aluminum kinetic sculptures on the South Point by Mark White, Santa Fe, NM.
Stainless steel and bronze images imbedded in the Downtown Stockton walkways (2004–2009)—designed and installed by Dan Snyder, Berkeley. Stockton’s first public/private public art partnership commissioned by Guaranty Bank, Weber Avenue, Hunter Street, San Joaquin Street, and Downtown Marina.
Water creature elements incorporated in stair railings, bicycle racks, and light poles (2009)—designed by Wayne Chabre, Walla Walla, WA, Downtown Marina.
Stockton Rising (2006)—a concrete with bronze sculpture by Scott Donahue between the Stockton Arena and the Lexington Plaza Hotel.
Stockton Arena parking garage entryway feature (2005)—a collage by Napa artist Gordon Huether featuring 22,000 Mattell toy cars, Fremont Street.
Ed Coy Garage Installation (2005)—medallions and a LED lit column by David Griggs on the Edward "Ed" Coy Garage, N. Hunter Street.
Downtown's Maintenance Hole Covers (2004)—by local artist Molly Toberer. The covers depict 17 unique designs representing topics such as Work, Taste Grow, Invent and others. The designs carry unique aesthetic legacy of the American 1930’s style.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue (2004)—a bronze statue by Rafael Arrieta-Eskarzaga on the east side of the MLK Square, El Dorado Street.
Memorial to Mexican Braceros (2002)—bronze, cement and masonry sculpture by Rafael Arrieta-Eskarzaga, McLeods Park, Fremont Street.
Fire Fighter Memorial (1998)—a bronze sculpture, McLeods Park, Fremont Street.
Ethnic Diversity Sculpture (1989)—a sculpted concrete post by Eric Lee on the corner of San Joaquin Street and Weber Avenue.
Confucius Monument—13 and a half foot high pagoda-like monument of red and green tile was a gift to the City of Stockton from the Chinese Community for the bi-centennial celebration.

In addition to its history galleries, the Haggin Museum displays fine art of late 19th and early 20th century artists such as Jean Beraud, Albert Bierstadt, Rosa Bonheur, William Bouguereau, Paul Gauguin, Jean-Leon Gerome, Childe Hassam, George Inness, Daniel Ridgway Knight, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jehan-Georges Vibert, and Jules Worms. It also hosts temporary touring exhibitions.

In 2005, the Downtown Stockton Alliance began sponsoring a monthly art walk during the summer. The event features local artists exhibiting their work at downtown businesses and galleries as well as in some otherwise vacant storefronts. Musicians also perform throughout downtown as part of the event.


Stockton hosts several annual festivals celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the city. These include:

Valleydance Festival (Spring/Summer)
Lunar New Year (January or February)
San Joaquin Children's Film Festival (January 2009)
San Joaquin International Film Festival (February)
Chinese New Year's Parade and Festival (February/March)
St. Patric's Day and Shamrock Run (March)
Stockton Asparagus Festival (April)
Brubeck Jazz Festival (April)
Earth Day Festival (April)
Stockton Tree-Dip (April)
Cambodian New Year (April)
Annual Nagar Kirtan, Sikh Parade (April)
Boat Parade for the Opening of Yachting Season (April)
Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival (May)
Jewish Food Fair (June)
Juneteenth Day Celebration (June)
Stockton Obon Bazaar (July)
Stockton Quilting Bee (July)
Box Lunch Bazaar (July)
Colombian Independence Day Festival (July)
Taste of San Joaquin and West Coast BBQ Championships (4 July Weekend)
Filipino Barrio Fiesta (August)
Bacon-wrapped Asparagus Celebration (August)
Penny Day At The Park For Literacy Awareness (August)
Miracle Mile Night - Street Festival & Car Show (August)
Black Family Day (September)
Greek Festival (September)
Chapman Family Days Picnic (September)
Festa Italiana: Tutti In Piazza (September)
Stocktoberfest, Beer and Brats Festival on the Waterfront (October)
Hmong New Year (November)
Stockton Festival of Lights and Boat Parade (December)
The Record's Family Day at the Park

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