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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.

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. MOCHA annually serves 35,000 (90% BIPOC) Bay Area children, youth and their families, in four core program areas: School Programs, through which professional teaching artists lead sequential (rigorous) art lessons in classrooms and after school programs and provide professional development to teachers; Museum Programs, which include exhibits, open studios, field trips, art parties, art camps and family workshops in our downtown Oakland museum; Community Programs, through which we bring interactive artmaking to libraries, recreation centers, festivals, schools, and other public venues; and Creative Youth Development and Leadership, collaborating with local high schools to offer opportunities for teens and young adults to be community leaders.


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.​

Our Values

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 we do

MOCHA is committed to providing quality hands-on art experiences for children and their families.

We strengthen our community by nurturing young people’s creativity, curiosity and educational success through hands-on arts programming in our museum, school and community sites.

We emphasize outreach to economically disinvested communities. A pioneer in arts education, MOCHA provides training and tools for educators, parents and youth development professionals.

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.


Our History

MOCHA was founded in 1988 by Jill Vialet and Mary Marx to help families and communities celebrate the art and creativity of their children. In the early 1990’s MOCHA developed artist residency programs in partnership with local schools and brought children’s art exhibits to community sites, including hospitals and city buildings. We have partnered with numerous arts and educational organizations to develop programs related to literacy, healing and community empowerment. In 2018 we moved to a new location in Oakland’s City Center. We believe that this location will enhance our presence as a leading East Bay cultural institution, allowing us to provide more services and new programming to families and youth, and help Oakland create more family-oriented destinations in the downtown area.

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