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 vulnerable 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.
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.
Equity: At MOCHA, all of our work is in the service of ensuring access to the arts for everyone, especially those who are historically underserved.
Creativity & Integrity: Fostering imagination and nurturing original ideas is foundational to MOCHA’s operations.
Relationships: MOCHA exists to facilitate and strengthen connections between all members of our community, including students, teachers, parents, educators, staff, administrators, local officials and beyond.
Solutions: “No” is a word we try to avoid. At MOCHA, when there is an opportunity that supports our community and our mission, we always look for the “Yes” in every situation.
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.
Libraries: MOCHA’s Afterschool Art at the Library Program 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.
Three central beliefs characterize our approach:
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.
We believe that all children should have access to quality arts experiences and emphasize outreach to disinvested communities.
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."