Mission Statement & History

Mission Statement

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences – especially underserved populations – through the collection, preservation and exhibition of the best of contemporary art and its art historical influences.

MOCA History

The Museum of Contemporary Art expanded from the original Center of Contemporary Art, which was inaugurated in 1981 in a modest single gallery space. The Museum opened a new building in 1996 designed by Charles Gwarthmey of GSNY, who worked in conjunction with Miami firm Gelabert-Navia in the creation of the space. The museum is a site for discovering new artists, contemplating the work of contemporary masters, and learning about our living cultural heritage.

The Museum of Contemporary Art is known for its provocative and innovative exhibitions, and for seeking a fresh approach in examining the art of our time. The museum maintains an active exhibition schedule, presenting 8 to 10 exhibitions annually.  In 2008, MOCA received a $5 million endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to present three exhibitions or multi-media projects each year featuring the work of emerging and experimental artists.   Past  exhibitions at MOCA include: Frankenthaler: Paintings on Paper (1949 – 2002); Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside; Mythic Proportions: Painting in the 1980s; Making Art in Miami; Frank Stella at 2000: Changing the Rules; Dada and Surrealism from the Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection; Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, Defining the Nineties, Tableaux, Painting into Photography/Photography into Painting, and Gianni Versace: The Reinvention of Material.  Among the artists whose work was featured in solo shows are: Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, David Smith, Matthew Ritchie, Anna Gaskell, Annette Messager, Malcolm Morley, Enoc Perez, Albert Oehlen, Jorge Pardo, TUNGA, Keith Haring, and Julian LaVerdiere.

PERMANENT COLLECTION

In 1995, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) became a collecting institution at a time when no other museum in Miami-Dade County was assembling a collection that documented contemporary art. MOCA’s reputation for discerning curatorial vision immediately attracted the support of South Florida’s community leaders.

Through generous donations provided by long-time supporters such as Mr. Richard and Mrs. Ruth Shack, Mr. Marvin and Mrs. Ruth Sackner, and Dr. Arturo and Mrs. Liza Mosquera, as well as museum purchases, MOCA has built a strong collection of sculptures, paintings, and works on paper.

MOCA is home to a collection of over 400 works by local, national, and international contemporary artists including Pablo Cano, Teresita Fernandez, Keith Haring, Alex Katz, Edward Ruscha, and George Segal. 

The collection’s importance is evidenced by extensive loans to London’s Tate Modern, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Museum among others, and inclusion in scholarly publications.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING

The Museum of Contemporary Art recognizes the need to enrich the cultural life of the community and to nurture a knowledgeable and supportive audience. To further an understanding of contemporary art, MOCA offers educational programs geared toward the community and its diverse population.  In 2009, the museum launched its Wednesday evening MOCA by Moonlight programs featuring Contemporary Art Boot Camp lectures, 5 Minutes of Fame artists forums, and Arts for All, hands-on art classes for adults.

Other programming includes: popular Jazz at MOCA concerts held outdoors on the last Friday of each month; Music at MOCA concerts featuring musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra and Florida Grand Opera; the teen Junior Docents program and magazine MOCA’zine which actively engage high school students in learning about contemporary art; After School Drawing Classes for Teens; the development of the new Museum Studies Magnet Program with the North Miami Public Schools, Creative Arts hands-on art programs for children and families taught by professional artists and educators from the Miami area; HeArt to HeArt for children and adults with varying exceptionalities; Women on the Rise! for at-risk teenage girls; master artist workshops; an active members program; docent tours; lectures and internship opportunities; as well as visits to private collections and artist’s studios.

FUNDING

Exhibitions are made possible through grants from the Florida Department of State, the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council and Dade County Commissioners, foundations, corporations, and individual donors.