Museum of Children's Arts
Backstory and Context
Jill Vialet and Mary Marx established The Museum of Children’s Arts (MOCHA) in 1989. They created this museum in order to support children in the community, and to allow them to showcase their creativity and imagination. Soon after MOCHA opened, they partnered with several local schools and were able to organize art exhibits at several hospitals and other buildings throughout the city. They have also partnered with several other arts and scholastic establishments in an attempt to help children broaden and improve their literacy and artistic abilities. They also wanted to allow children to be surrounded by a positive and educational stimulating environment where they are encouraged to not only learn, but to grow as well.
MOCHA moved to a new location in order to offer more programs to the youth. They also felt that they would have a better opportunity to assist in generating more family-oriented activities and programs in the area. They have made a positive impact in several areas around their community, such as low-income families, schools, and libraries, where they have joined together with parents, teachers, artists, and students. MOCHA feels that educating children about art is necessary in order to allow the child to develop socially, emotionally, and culturally.
According to Leticia Padgett who is the museum manager, and a teaching artist, MOCHA doesn’t offer any specific activities or projects for those with special needs. However, teaching artists who are affiliated with the museum do travel to different Spectrum special needs schools, to do art with individuals with special needs. The teaching artists create projects and activities that they feel relate to the children at each specific school. MOCHA also has an open studio which is held on Fridays and Saturdays, where they have different activities such as: a painting wall, collage making, and modge podge. Each open studio has a theme, such as colors and light. MOCHA feels they are contributing to the future of art history by having programs where teaching artists go into schools, libraries, and underprivileged areas and help the children create an outlet that they normally wouldn’t have without art. Reaching the children of the community has always been a goal of this museum, and this is how they feel they will truly make a difference.