Symposium: Artists, Musicians, and Makers Come Together

By Copper Williams

There’s something sublime stirring up the nighttime scene in downtown Stockton. Heavy beats pour out from The Sycamore, a warehouse transformed into a vibrant venue. The clock has just struck 7 PM, but throngs of locals and out-of-towners are already flocking, weaving in and around curated booths bustling with local artwork and hand-crafted wares. The beat stops and someone hits the mic to present the next in a vibrant lineup of regionally reared musicians. And in the dim lights casting their glow throughout the complex, the crowd lets loose as another musical wave hits the walls.

This melting pot of talent is known as Symposium, a monthly event that celebrated its first birthday in July. “Timing really was the spark behind Symposium,” explains co-founder Brandon Ente. “Before Symposium, co-founder Anthony Caampued and I curated a music event called RESONATE that took place at The Matinee on the Miracle Mile. During the 9 years of the event, it went from Stockton to San Francisco due to Matinee’s closure and no other venue fitting what we do. Fast forward to 2016; we wanted to bring the event back home and incorporate some new aspects.”

With the help of Alex Suelto and his art collective, Skillhouse, many sensational artists and musicians gathered at The Sycamore to showcase the first Symposium on July 8, 2016. It was a hit and further solidified what the event can and will bring to downtown Stockton…. “Symposium; a collection of opinions expressed or articles contributed by several persons on a given subject or topic,” Brandon states. “…We’ve taken that term and used it in an artistic sense. Symposium is a place where artists can express themselves, visually or sonically.”

No two events are ever truly alike. And this allows Symposium to continuously bring new blood into the fold. “It’s such a diverse event that allows people of all talents to participate,” Alejandra Sanchez, vendor manager, elaborates. “Artists, musicians, and makers of all kinds reach out to us to be part of the event, and that is what keeps Symposium so diverse and exciting every month.”

 But, showcasing their own skills isn’t enough for the creators behind this unique event. “We want to inspire the local youth to pursue careers in the arts, and show them that they can be successful doing so,” says Alejandra. “Symposium provides a venue where they can step out of their comfort zone, showcase their talents, and have fun doing so.”

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630 E. Weber Ave., Stockton