MOCA helps students with their artistic careers for free

The MOCA Teen Art Force program is helping teenagers develop their skills and build a professional portfolio, for free, in North Miami. 

It is located next to North Miami’s City Hall at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened its doors in 1986 and holds more than 400 modern art pieces by artists such as Keith Haring, Pablo Cano and Alex Katz. 

“The mission of MOCA is to foster a life-long love of the arts,” says curator of education Amanda Covach. 

The museum offers four complimentary education programs: Sunday Stories for toddlers, Mini makers for kids six through 12, Teen Art Force for teenagers, and MOCA Makers for adults. 

The MOCA Teen Art Force was developed 20 years ago with the Miami Department of Cultural Affairs, the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency and the Children’s Trust. 

Over the years, hundreds of students have participated in the program, some of them even coming back to teach the next generation. This year, 49 students are enrolled. 

Five different workshops are held throughout the week. Local professionals teach topics such as textile design, drawing techniques, 3D art, printmaking, and photography on designated days. 

“We have a few students who come to all five days,” says education coordinator Shawna Moulton.

“Some only come to two, some only come to one. The idea is that they do give us 20 to 25 days.”

The students are also given free art supplies, field trips to art institutions in Miami, studio workspace and an opportunity to showcase their work at the museum.

The curriculum is re-developed every year in accordance with student feedback. This way, the program stays contemporary and hopes to provide a fun learning experience. 

Professor Fiona Henderson teaching a student about self-portraits (Photo courtesy of MOCA)

“The students also earn service hours for doing a variety of service projects using what they learn in the class,” says Covach. 

Students served the community through a beach clean-up held on Feb. 16, where students cleaned up trash and made art out of it. 

On May 27, the students will participate in a fashion show to showcase garments made in their sowing class. The community will be able to attend the show for free. 

“The students are putting on an event for the community,” says Moulton. 

“They are very excited about the fashion show. It gives them a little bit of a stepping stone to see if that is something they want to get into afterward.”

Classes began in October and will end in May, operating on a 50- day cycle corresponding with the Miami-Dade Public School’s calendar. The program is in its second session, which began on Jan. 3 and will conclude on March 13.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 770 NE 125th St. in North Miami. More information about the classes can be found on the MOCA Teen Art Force website

Vittorio Parravano is a senior studying Journalism at Florida International University. He was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela and loves writing. He hopes to become an author one day.