top of page


In 1988, our co-founders, Jill Vialet and Mary Marx committed to bringing arts education programs to East Bay schools and communities. MOCHA’s presence is felt in disinvested communities, in public and private schools, in libraries, and at our Oakland based studios and gallery.

Using the power of art as a learning tool, MOCHA collaborates with artists, educators, parents, and students. Arts education is a vital part of young people’s social, emotional, and cultural development. Over the years, MOCHA has enhanced the lives of nearly a million children with hands-on art learning experiences through our school, community, and museum programming. We have witnessed the transformative impact of art on children’s creative thinking, cognitive development, and sense of belonging.

As a result of MOCHA’s intimate relationship with the larger East Bay community, we have seen first hand the enormous impact and psychic injury that crime has inflicted on innocent young people caught in its collateral crossfire. We recognize a new approach is necessary to deploy our art education resources for purposes of intervention and prevention. Art administered early and often is a vital ingredient required for emotional stability.


Our mission has expanded to deliver on our community’s most recent needs.

As a member, MOCHA is concerned about how rising rates of violence are affecting our children. We feel passionately that art plays a critical role in mending communities by generating opportunities to create, share, and connect in constructive ways.

Untitled design.png


With a racial equity and social justice lens, MOCHA uses the arts as a vehicle to advocate for self-expression, culture and community-building, and the centering of youth voices. We achieve this through hands-on experiential arts education for Bay Area children, youth and their families, arts integrated Professional Development  and curriculum for educators.


The arts become a fundamental part of the everyday lives of Bay Area children and youth, their families and the community, creating a culture of racial equity and social justice.​



Creating Belonging: MOCHA is a place where all individuals feel welcomed, valued, and respected. We cultivate a sense of community by celebrating diversity, promoting collaboration, and building strong relationships. We are committed to providing opportunities that nurture a shared culture that reflects our values.


Community Resilience: Cultivating and strengthening the capacity of MOCHA and our communities to withstand and overcome adversity through the development of adaptive strategies, positive thinking, and a growth mindset. We are committed to fostering resilience by promoting self-care, learning from failures, building supportive networks, and embracing change with creativity and perseverance.


Courage: The MOCHA community seeks new opportunities and pushes boundaries to create positive change. Our ability to color outside the lines and challenge the status quo makes us visionaries, inspiring others to follow in our footsteps and strive for greatness. We remain resilient and persistent in our pursuit of success and excellence.


Sanctuary:  Whether through visual art, music, writing, or other creative mediums, the MOCHA sanctuary provides a space for individuals to connect with their inner selves and find comfort in the beauty of artistic expression. It is a place where diversity and individuality are respected, creating a community where all are welcome to embrace their unique identities and perspectives.


Growth and Curiosity: MOCHA is committed to providing a supportive environment where young people, their families and the community can explore, develop new skills, have fun and discover their potential. Our belief is that curiosity is the foundation of growth and innovation, and that learning is an ongoing journey that leads to personal and professional development. MOCHA promotes a culture of creativity, experimentation, and lifelong learning that encourages risk-taking, problem-solving, and collaboration.

Guiding Principals

  • Teach one learn one

  • Culture Keepers - We are collectively responsible to keep the culture of MOCHA

  • Grounded in history and reimagining today and tomorrow

  • Youth Driven

What MOCHA Does

  • Schools: Engaging students in a range of visual arts disciplines that connect with their interests and studies and deepen their understanding through exposure to a diversity of periods, styles and cultures.

  • Community: MOCHA emphasizes outreach to culturally, linguistically and economically diverse populations in communities that do not typically have wide access to the arts. MOCHA’s Library Education Arts Program through Oakland and Berkeley Public Libraries directly aligns with our mission to provide meaningful arts learning opportunities to children who are at risk academically and/or reside in communities underserved by the arts and cultural programming.

  • Youth Development & Leadership: Engaging high school-aged and transitional-aged youth by providing a safe and supportive space that coordinates and supervises programs designed to help young people discover personal interests and abilities through art-making, leadership and civic roles, critical thinking, and innovation envisioning and participation.

  • Museum Programs: Engage all ages and include: exhibitions, open studios, field trips, art parties, art camps, and family/team workshops.

  • Expressive Arts: introduces students to the nonclinical pathologies and pathways of artistic learning through activism, arts integration, and health and wellness that intuitively connects them to practical knowledge and creative application of art that supports their understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world around them. Through centering the inquiry of Social Emotional Learning, the Community Resilience Model, and Making Learning Visible, students use art as an expressive tool of awareness and comfortability that investigates their emotions holistically.

Our Approach

Three central beliefs characterize our approach:

  1. We believe in the power of hands-on art. Whether it is painting, clay, stop-motion animation or collage, MOCHA kids learn by making art.

  2. We believe that all children should have access to quality arts experiences and emphasize outreach to disinvested communities.

  3. We believe in working with educators to provide professional development and advocate for integrating arts into learning environments.

Why It Matters

When young people are immersed in creative activities, the results are profound. Students improve skills in critical-thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and communication. They develop a great deal of confidence and self-esteem from the experience of accomplishing a project and being able to talk about their process with their peers. Finally, as recent studies have shown, integrating arts into core curriculum areas not only encourages engagement in subject matter but also can be linked to overall student achievement.

Racial Equity in Action

MOCHA is dedicated to supporting children and families from BIPOC populations, therefore it is critical that our Board of Directors, Staff, Teaching Artists, and leadership are representative of the communities we serve. We embrace the power of art to inspire diverse youth, overturn white supremacist culture, and build towards the liberation of our entire human family.

In March 2019, MOCHA reaffirmed equity, creativity & integrity, relationships, and solutions as our core values. MOCHA is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity. For over 30 years, we have sought out individuals from BIPOC & LGBTQ+ communities with differences in life experiences and unique capabilities to fill roles on our board, executive suite, staff, and teaching artist team. A significant part of our culture, reputation, and achievements come from our employees’ and board’s investment in MOCHA’s work and vision. MOCHA’s curriculum design includes cultural references, awareness, and engagements tailored to the student population being served.

We celebrate our MOCHA family’s difference in age, color, differently abled, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics. MOCHA’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are applicable, but not limited to our practices and policies on recruitment and selection, including community partnerships."

bottom of page