“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”
– Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts.
Johnson’s powerful words reinforce the importance as an engine of understanding, change, and hope. Students who are denied access to the arts lose connections to cultural heritage, both their own, and that of others from whom they may learn. They are robbed of the potential to find their own voices, and miss out on the skills of creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking essential to success in the 21st century. For 86 years the Haggin Museum has been proud to celebrate arts in education by showcasing the creative efforts of students and their teachers in San Joaquin County.
Community artist and arts advocate Joy Dibble Neas has been selected to judge the 86th Annual Robert T. McKee Student Art Exhibition. Neas came into her own as an artist in Stockton sharing her chalk work on the city streets, and in exhibitions at the San Joaquin County Arts Council Office, Tidewater Gallery, and since 1997 the Mexican Heritage Center. In addition to making her own work, she spends considerable time providing others with art making opportunities and promoting other artists. In 2012 Neas received the Mayor’s Art Award for her efforts. She served as Visual Arts Coordinator for First Night, Program Chair for the University Neighborhood Renaissance Committee and currently coordinates the ArtSplash. This year she co-curated the Imagination Station, an interactive week-long exhibit at The Haggin Museum, and curated A World Without Art? at the Mexican Heritage Center. Both shows invited the public to consider the essential role that art plays in our community. She is a community blogger on the Stockton art scene for the Record’s online journal eSanJoaquin.com which is published in the Record on Saturdays.