MOCHA has moved to 1625 Clay St. in Downtown Oakland and we made trip to check it out! The new space is bright, open and airy that really gives off great energy to create. I really like the new clean and bright feel. A friend commented though, that she missed the intimate and cozy space they previously had. We attended an open art session at $7 per person (including adults). Memberships are also available.
Five activity stations were set up when we visited (card making, “Stained Glass” bookmark making, play-dough, moon-dough and painting/stamping). By far the favorite was the moon-dough, mostly likely because it’s something the kids were less familiar with. There is a little chill out room for when the kids are done with art projects where they can play with blocks, light tables or crawl around.
There isn’t much art up on the walls yet and the art gallery is open yet either, but they do plan on adding to their collection with student art and art from their artists in residence in 2014.
MOCHA offers open studio hours: 10am-1pm Weds.- Sat. for kids 18 months and up. Camps for older kids are available for kids 6-12 over winter break. Check out their SOMI (School’s Out, MOCHA’s in) days that align with the OUSD calendar when you have a free day.
MOCHA is also available to host birthday parties and field trips. A couple of friends just hosted their daughters’ birthday parties there and they were very pleased with the parties. They commented it was easy and fun!
Parking is a bit tight. The parking meters are pretty steep in price and the parking garage near there isn’t any cheaper, so carpool, bike, take BART and get off at 12th St. or scout a cheaper garage (parking on 18th/San Pablo 4 hrs at $2/hr, and Jefferson/16th $7 all day parking) before you go. There also is not a place to eat at MOCHA. They don’t allow food in the studio. It was nice at their old location there was a little courtyard, where you could duck outside and have a snack. At this location they aren’t too far from Frank Ogawa Plaza where you can picnic when it’s nice out. We went on a chilly day so after our time at MOCHA we walked over to Xolo and had some fantastic tacos and churros! Though, MOCHA will offer a table in the open studio for eating in the case of bad weather, which is nice.
Overall, I love what MOCHA offers the community and they are great with the kids and sweet even when your kid spills moon-dough all over the floor. They are a non-profit organization that strives to reach economically at-risk communities through 27 schools and libraries reaching over 35,000 children and family members per year. Have you been yet? What do you think? Please share in comments. As always, thank you for reading!