An Oakland native and MOCHA Executive Director, Nina Woodruff-Walker became a “MOCHA kid” in 1989 when she connected through the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC). When Oakland schools removed art programming from the curriculum, MOCHA became an art-making space and welcoming refuge during her teenage years. She found delight in identifying different ways to use art to create, express, shape and influence, even getting her first experience in giving back as a MOCHA youth board member. This cemented her passion for community service. Nina is a poet who loves visual arts and understands the value of providing a platform for children to express, create, and teach.
She entered the tech industry in 2000 – with a focus in project management which opened doors to a successful 10-year career in technology sales. During her master’s seminars at CSUEB, she studied Afrofuturism; she spearheaded an Afrofuturist exhibition and curriculum at MOCHA in 2020. Nina is scheduled to submit her master’s thesis, a Critical Discourse Analysis of the Framing of White Terrorism, to CSUEB in the fall. Her motto is, Ideas are only great when we have the courage to give birth to them.
Roxanne is a Visual Artist, Arts Educator, and an Executive Administrator bringing more than 30 years experience in multiple youth service, and arts educational nonprofit organizations. She brings a combination of arts education practices, management experience, leadership ability and a passion for the arts. The past 17 of those years have been spent working for MOCHA in a variety of capacities: Senior Teaching Artist, Program Manager, Curriculum Developer/Writer, Professional Development Coach, Director of Educational Programs, Director of Programs and Roxanne is certified arts integration coach, holds a teaching credential in visual art, and received a fellowship to attend Harvard’s Project Zero on arts education. Additionally Roxanne’s artwork and articles been published in several visual art periodicals. Roxanne is a published author of “ Acrylic Techniques in Mixed Media” published by North Light Books, Arts Division.
Museum Programs Director
Mary Lawrence is a Fire Artist, Art Educator, Founder of Evolve with Mary, and Co-Founder of Lohikäärme a local interior design company. She brings a wealth of experience and has an undeniable passion for teaching, creating Science-based art, and traveling. Mary attended the Art Institute of California – SF where she fell in love with Art History and decided she needed to change her perspective and see the world. On her first adventure, she visited six countries, two continents, countless museums, art galleries, cathedrals, and more. A little over 5 years ago Mary decided it was time to build something on her own. Shortly after she had a vivid dream of wielding art from fire. Like a scene in a movie, she woke up, took a mirror off the wall, and set it ablaze. She stayed up the rest of the night trying different techniques. This would eventually become her obsession. Mary’s fiery technique has evolved to become the cornerstone of her business, Evolve with Mary. While promoting her brand at a local Farmers Market Mary Met Nina Woodruff-Walker, Executive Director and the rest is history. Mary brings her passion for life, her childlike joy for creating art, her animated personality, and her entrepreneur, management, and marketing skills to MOCHA. She’s excited to work with the Youth of Oakland and continue to have a positive effect on the world.