The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach is the only contemporary art museum in the state and seeks to foster the continued education of the significant works of our time through exhibitions and programming. The present location of the Museum of Contemporary Art was opened in 1989 after nearly 10 years of planning and construction. The building was designed by E. Verner Johnson and Associates out of Boston and is 38,500 square feet.


The total exhibition space measures over 6,000 square feet. MOCA is a private-public partnership, owned by The City of Virginia Beach with MOCA operating within the structure as a not-for-profit venture. MOCA is supported by a grant from the city and private donors as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and other private and federal funding.

MOCA is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and reached this status in part because of its operating with diverse programming at a national standard. Through rotating exhibitions, studio art classes, educational outreach to the community, and outdoor art shows, MOCA offers many ways to educate the public in contemporary visual arts.


Exhibitions at Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art change frequently. The Exhibitions and Education Departments work together at MOCA to put together signature exhibitions that will promote contemporary artists and bring the community to an understanding of the artist’s ideas and themes in an effort to stimulate social dialogue.

MOCA offers group tours, classes, lectures, screenings, and student based programming on each exhibition. Each exhibition space has interactive elements that allows visitors to have hands on activities to engage them in the pieces showcased in the space. There are also quick read codes that visitors with smart phones can scan that will allow them access to further information on the pieces and artists in the exhibitions.

MOCA believes that contemporary art is the reflection of the current culture we are living in. Most of the art featured in the museum is made by artists that are currently living. Artists that are showcased are considered radical or extreme, they are finding new and innovative ways of depicting their subjects and ideas.

Educational Opportunities

MOCA is dedicated to ensuring that the community surrounding Virginia Beach is immersed in contemporary art and that contemporary art education is available to everyone. The Studio School is a facility that is built into the museum and devoted to hands on art making experiences for children and adults. All courses are taught by professional educators and artists with opportunities all year round.

Adult Classes- MOCA offers adults the opportunity to explore a variety of artists mediums such as photography, painting, drawing, and more. Classes for adults take place in the evening hours or on weekends. Adult classes are for students age 18 and up. Students will provide their own materials. One day workshops are available as well as sessions. Details for which classes will be available for Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter are available on MOCA’s website.

Teen Classes- Teens age 13-17 can participate in the teen classes offered at MOCA as well as the Teen Summer Art Camp that occurs annually. Summer Camps offered for Teens include digital media, painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, or painting. The spring and fall sessions are themed and will have details available online with registration also available through the MOCA website.

Children’s Classes- MOCA offers classes for children as young as 2 years old for after school, weekends and during the day. Children are divided by age and participate in beginning art activities in a studio space designed for smaller artists and fosters developing motor skills, increasing confidence and self-awareness. Pre-K Art days are also offered which include gallery tours, and literacy exercises, hands on art making time and other fun experiences that foster creative development. For older kids, age 6-12, studio time where they create 2-dimensional works with paper materials and art tools is offered with guidance on concept development. There is also a Contemporary Creations program for ages 6-8 that explores the galleries for inspiration and teaches about basic artistic concepts and skills.

Events at MOCA

There are many events that happen throughout the year at MOCA. With each changing exhibition, an opening reception and artist reception event takes place. There are also artist talks, lectures, 1st Art Tuesdays, Second Saturday Conversations Tours, and many different workshops offered to the community.

Board Walk Art Show- This annual event has been a part of Virginia Beach for over 60 years and is a fundraiser for MOCA. The Show is one of the top 40 fine art shows in the US with more than 200,000 people attending annually.

2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23451, Phone: 757-425-0000

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