The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami is one of South Florida’s prime art institutions but to North Miami MOCA is also an important educational facility, cultural hub and central to many neighborhood initiatives and outreach programs.
Coinciding with the popular live music series “Jazz at MOCA” the students of the after school classes released the 2012 issue of the MOCA Summerzine last Friday. The release party celebrated the students' dedication, hard work and artistic visions, bringing together the participating students, friends, families, teachers, Curator of Education Lark Keeler, Education Outreach Assistant Kerstin Espinoza and MOCA Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater, who introduced the students on stage to the audience of “Jazz at MOCA.”
The party vibe was set by a selection of the latest hip-hop tunes that inspired the students to showcase the latest dance moves and switch positions with the teachers, trying to teach them the moves. An exhibition of images taken by the photography students showed artistic views through the students’ lenses, ranging from abstract compositions to representations of family life, Miami scenery and fashion trends.
With the teen-friendly release party, featuring cookies, chips and chocolate in abundance, MOCA gave credit to the students, who had many reasons to celebrate. They successfully produced the Summerzine, completed the new mural at the North Miami Police Department with artist Ruben Ubiera and they can be proud of the acquisition of many new skills and the shared experiences.
The Summerzine articles and features range from the cover story about the students’ CBS 4 experience, written by Orrdett Barker to a piece on the Summer Olympics by Editor-in-Chief Kennedy Patlan. Other articles such as a health commentary about the dangers of smoking by Sabine Pagnant and reviews of the Ed Ruscha and Ragnar Kjartansson exhibitions at MOCA by Sarah Noel and Prisca Alexis respectively complete the well written and diverse newspaper. The journalism students put their new skills to the test as they did the research, reporting, writing and editing while the photography students such as Nikole Mendez and Gadi Dreyfuss were in charge of the photos for the Summerzine.
The free classes of MOCA’s teen programs are available to all students. Classes include fashion design, digital journalism, film, photography, painting, drawing and Women on the Rise!, a program designed to teach teen girls about female role models and creative expression as a communication and empowerment tool.
A new school year is about to start and MOCA will continue their outstanding after school programming as well as other projects relating to culture, entertainment, outreach and the North Miami community. With the excitement and positive attitude by students and teachers alike more inspiring work is in the making.