A Brief History of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

Below is a brief history of the institution that I had an apprenticeship at, as well as, the brief history of all the programs that I had the opportunity to take a part in.  I have done each one this year and will elaborate on them in later posts.  For more information you can visit either of these sites:  http://www.virginiamoca.org/ and http://tapintomoca.wordpress.com/.

“Our Mission

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is a non-profit institution which exists to foster awareness, exploration, and understanding of the significant art of our time.  Through excellence and diversity in our changing exhibitions and educational programming, MOCA stimulates critical thinking and dialogue throughout the Hampton Roads community.

Museum Programming

Regularly changing exhibitions feature painting, sculpture, photography, glass, video and other visual media from internationally acclaimed artists as well as artists of national and regional renown. By balancing its four primary activities—gallery exhibitions, studio art classes, educational outreach programs and outdoor art shows—MOCA seeks to involve a diverse regional public in the rich and active language of contemporary visual art. By operating at a national standard, MOCA received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2010.

Award-winning Facility

MOCA is one the region’s best examples of a private-public partnership. The building is owned and maintained by The City of Virginia Beach and MOCA operates within it as a private, non-profit. After maintaining a small oceanfront property for several years, local supporters in the late 1980’s planned to construct a new physical space for the Museum. In 1989, after nearly a decade of planning, fundraising and construction, MOCA opened in its present location at 2200 Parks Avenue. The current structure, designed by Boston architect E. Verner Johnson and Associates, is approximately 38,500 square feet and features 6,300 square feet of exhibition space.

Supported By

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is funded in part by the citizens ofVirginia Beach through a grant from the City of Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission. Additional support is provided by Virginia Commission for the Arts,National Endowment for the ArtsBusiness Consortium for Arts Support andThe Hampton Roads Community Foundation. MOCA is also supported locally by our Partners in the Arts.

Visit the City of Virginia Beach’s CVB website to learn more about Virginia Beach attractions and hospitality.

Teen Apprenticeship Program:

The Teen Apprenticeship Program (TAP) is a unique opportunity for 12 Virginia Beach high school students to learn about contemporary art, MOCA, related careers in the arts and other topics and projects as they relate to visual art.

TAP students meet weekly at the museum beginning in late January, where they gain hands-on work experience by meeting and working directly with artists and museum professionals. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to engage with the museum that provides a diverse repertoire of skills to add to their future college and work submissions.


The 2013 TAP Reception celebrated the unveiling of a MOCA Teen Apprenticeship Blog created by the students in the program. Each student was assigned a week to blog about and was encouraged to be as creative as they wanted to share their TAP experience.

Teen Apprentices are all Virginia Beach Public School high school students and are selected for the program by a partnership between MOCA staff and Virginia Beach public school teachers.

For additional information, contact the education department at 757-425-0000x.29.

FREE! Audio Tours

MOCA’s audio tours feature two unique experiences to enhance your visit to the museum. One is created for teens, by teens and guarantees to keep both teens and adults interested, engaged and entertained in the galleries. Produced by teens from the Bayside High School, Tallwood High School and Greenrun Collegiate Charter School. Adult audio tours feature a selection of artist interviews and highlights from current exhibitions. Check out an iPod at the Museum’s Visitor Services Desk (valid photo id required) or download the podcast onto your own device. Special thanks to narrator Anthony McSpadden of WHRO.

Youth art month 2014

MARCH 1 – 26, 2014

Celebrate the achievements of elementary, middle and high school students from Virginia Beach City Public Schools during Youth Art Month (YAM). Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art and art education for all children and to encourage public support for quality school art programs. Established in 1961, YAM provides a forum for acknowledging skills that are not possible in other subjects. Art Education develops self-esteem, appreciation of the work of others, self-expression, cooperation with others, and critical thinking skills. All of these skills are vital to the success of our future leaders – our children. This exhibition encourages public support for quality school art programs and highlights the value and importance art education plays in Virginia schools.

Art for change sculpture

MARCH 1 TO 31, 2014

            Recyclable materials

Created by art students from Bayside, Green Run Collegiate, and Tallwood High Schools under the direction of art teachers Anne Baker, Erika Hitchcock, and Tricia Campbell.

Can Art Inspire Change?

Students explored this question through an in-depth unit of study inspired by renowned artist Vik Muniz. Muniz’s work explores the concepts of sustainability and awareness as a he created beautiful portraits from trash dumps in Brazil. Exposing students to big ideas through the arts develop an awareness and consciousness for critical thinking and personal action. “


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