Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Acquired by Society of Illustrators

Yeah, yeah, you heard about this two months ago, when it was announced, but I lost most of August and September to the move, and I wanted to capture the news and point out something important to readers.

After abruptly closing in early July, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) sent out a statement August 2 that read as follows:

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) and the Society of Illustrators have announced plans for MoCCA to transfer its assets to the Society, creating a single cultural institution supporting and celebrating illustration, comics, and animation. This will give MoCCA a long-desired street-level location, in the Society’s building at 128 E. 63rd Street. …

Commenting on the transfer of MoCCA’s assets, including its permanent art collection and the MoCCA Fest name, Society Executive Director Anelle Miller observed, “The Society of Illustrators has a long, proud history of promoting the art and appreciation of all genres of illustration. We are honored to be able to spearhead the expansion and growth of the incredible foundation that MoCCA has created over the past ten years.” …

The Society will continue and expand MoCCA’s mission in a number of ways: staging MoCCA Fest in its current location, dedicating a gallery in the Society building to MoCCA’s Permanent Collection, continuing MoCCA programming, and curating a special exhibition of works from MoCCA’s Permanent Collection in their Hall of Fame Gallery (on display March 5-May 4), which will run in conjunction with a major exhibit, “The Comic Art of Harvey Kurtzman,” curated by graphic designer and comics-anthology editor Monte Beauchamp. There will be extensive arts programming around both of these exhibits, including lectures, workshops, film and music series. Current MoCCA memberships will be honored at the Society of Illustrators.

Various comic news sites considered this a merger, with Robot 6, for example, running a headline about how MoCCA was to “join forces” with the SoI and Comics Beat billing it as a “hybrid”. I, being more cynical, look at this as more of a giving up, although I’m very glad a long-running NYC institution was willing to rescue what remained of MoCCA, especially after its recent struggles. Heck, according to TCJ.com, the acquisition was announced before it was even legally final, to avoid the story leaking.

Perhaps that’s why the MoCCA website, including the subsite dedicated to MocCA Fest, doesn’t have as much updated information as the Society of Illustrators site does, including new dates for the event in 2013: April 6-7. I had a great time when I went to the MoCCA Festival in 2012, and it’s going to be more difficult for me to go this time, so I wanted to keep up to date, and I’m glad to have a weekend to plan around. Note that the new organizers are now accepting requests for tables.


3 Responses to “Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Acquired by Society of Illustrators”

  1. Cliff Galbraith Says:

    MoCCA is far from giving up. There is a transition going on and these things take time. The fact that MoCCA Fest has set a date and is accepting exhibitor registrations is a strong sign MoCCA is continuing as an institution. Another sign is that Danny Fingeroth is running his successful series of classes taught by industry pros just as he did at the old location. Also, there will be a screening of the film Will Eisner: Sequential Artist directed by Andrew Cooke and produced by Jon B. Cooke, followed by a panel discussion that includes Denny O’Neal and Paul Levitz.

    So while the schedule at MoCCA this fall may not be as robust as previous years, there is some solid programming worth attending. Being only a volunteer with MoCCA the past few year, I do not speak for MoCCA, but I do believe with great confidence that MoCCA will continue to be a place where industry professionals, fans, and experts can gather to share their passion for comics and cartoon art.

    Over the years, MoCCA has had many critics, but I have never seen any of those critics show up at a meeting at MoCCA and offer any help or solutions. I would urge those who love the medium of comics to offer their time, energy and expertise to make MoCCA a vibrant and informative gathering place for all those who truly love comics.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I agree, it’s good to see plans for MoCCA continue — although I would feel better about that if someone was able to update the websites that most of the people interested use to find out about the show. I hope you’re right about things continuing to improve.

  3. Going to MoCCA This Weekend » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] my first convention of the season, so I’m looking forward to it. This year the show is under new management with the Society of Illustrators, and the Comics Reporter interview with Anelle Miller, Executive [...]

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