Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Five Questions with the Museum of Children's Art

Oakland, CA

Increase the Peace in Oakland by Madinah Zitani and Siale Liku, both fourth graders at Parker Elementary School in Oakland

Have you ever thought your child's artwork deserves to be in a museum rather than on a refrigerator door? At the Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA), exhibitions focus on art created by kids, providing a unique opportunity for budding Picassos and O'Keeffes. While children can create art onsite at the museum's drop-in studio sessions, camps, and special programs, MOCHA staff also travel to libraries, schools, and festivals for workshops. Through June 17, the museum will be hosting the exhibit What the World Needs Now..., which asked children to use art to illustrate what they think the world needs most. We talked with Liz Roddy at MOCHA to find out a little more about this exciting creative center.

NEA: In your opinion, what makes the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) unique?

LIZ RODDY: MOCHA is one of the few art organizations that provides hands-on arts learning experiences for children and their families in our museum, in schools, and in public venues in the Bay Area. We also help prepare educators to teach art and integrate arts learning across academic subject areas.

NEA: What are some of the different activities that children can take part in this summer?

RODDY: MOCHA offers weekly summer camps for children ages 6-10, weekly advanced studio camps for youth ages 10-15, and an art apprenticeship program for high school teens. Themes change weekly so check out our website for a detailed list of themes.

Open Up Your Heart to Others by Martha Padilla, Christian Williams, and Dominic Myers, all fourth graders at Parker Elementary School in Oakland

NEA: Why do you think it’s so important for children to become involved in creating art?

RODDY: Art helps children envision, form new ideas, and develop new ways of seeing and thinking. Art helps children recognize new approaches, grasp abstraction, and visualize possibilities. By engaging all the senses, art provides children with opportunities to take in information in new ways. Art encourages flexible thinking, risk-taking, and problem solving. It teaches children that there are multiple approaches to any dilemma or task. In addition, art provides children with opportunities to explore and understand a variety of cultural traditions.

NEA: What do you hope children take away from their experience at MOCHA?

RODDY: In the past few years, art organizations like ourselves have struggled with the increase in financial cuts to arts and education. We hope children who experience art making at MOCHA take away the importance of creating art since they might not get it in their curriculum at school. We hope their experience builds self esteem, imagination, creativity, and an advocacy for the arts.

NEA: Can you tell us about the What the World Needs Now... exhibit? How did children respond to the idea?

RODDY: MOCHA's spring exhibit, What the World Needs Now..., asks children to think about what they think the world needs today. We held a few workshops  at our museum, at our local libraries, and in the schools. We found that the children responded to current events happening in Oakland and throughout the world.

Museum of Children's Art
538 Ninth Street, Suite 210
Oakland, CA 94607

Please visit the Blue Star Museum website for more information about the program and to find participating museums.

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