Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Blue Star Voices: MOCA Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville is a busy place to be and I don’t go there often. The traffic alone is enough to wear my patience. I braved the crowds this afternoon to take the kids to a theater performance at the main library downtown, though, and we had a great time. It came time to leave and the rain was falling in buckets. Thunder crashed, shaking the library. Lightening ripped across the sky and strong winds roared outside. We waited it out for nearly half an hour but the rains continued to fall. What to do? We zipped into the art museum next door to occupy ourselves until the rain stopped.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Jacksonville has a unique collection and a fabulous children’s art loft. We were excited to spend some time there again this summer. MOCA is a Blue Star Museum once again and proudly advertises this fact. Thank you, MOCA, for supporting Jacksonville’s large and amazing military population!

The front desk clerk was extremely friendly and welcomed us in, telling us all about their current exhibits and events. She told us which exhibits might not be kid appropriate and I really appreciated that. We were super bummed to find out that the children’s art loft was closed because they are doing construction on the exterior of the building. It’ll be closed for another two to four weeks at least. Major bummer! The rain continued to fall outside and we decided to walk the museum’s exhibits anyway—perhaps we would see something interesting.

We found one hands-on exhibit near the children’s art loft, a room covered in chalkboards from floor to ceiling. Bins of chalk invited us to color and create. The Chalk it Up area is an interactive exhibit that encourages visitors to participate in creating a work of art. How cool! We were the only ones there and spent quite some time coloring. The kids loved coloring the walls! B tries this with her sidewalk chalk at home and gets scolded; she sure enjoyed coloring the walls to her heart’s content! I’ll have to watch her carefully so she doesn’t try to do the same with our house.

We walked through the art floors too and saw some very unique modern art and some beautiful paintings and drawings. We saw some Picasso paintings, which was a first for me. I don’t think the kids really understood the significance of that. There was a three-story-tall painting that we looked at for a while. They’re about to paint over it and install a new work of art. The receptionist invited us back to watch the art go up and gave us some great information. That might be a great opportunity for the kids to learn about art.

[The museum] made a good afternoon excursion while we were downtown and I hope the kids got something out of it. Call ahead to make sure that the children’s area is open if you intend to bring your kids. If it is open, this is a great place for families!

Thank you, MOCA and Blue Star Museums, for the great fun!

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