MOCHA Receives NEA Big Read Grant!


Oakland to Read and Celebrate The Namesake
by Jhumpa Lahiri During the NEA Big Read

May 11, 2016–Oakland–The Museum of Children’s Arts is a recipient of a grant of $9,000 to host the NEA Big Read in our community. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The NEA Big Read in Oakland will focus on The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Activities will take place throughout the month of October.

MOCHA Executive Director, Roxanne Padgett, stated, “It is such an honor to be an NEA Big Read grantee. This funding will allow MOCHA to partner with Oakland Public Library and Chapter 510 & the Dept. of Make Believe to provide literacy and visual arts programming to children and families in our Oakland communities.”

Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, said, “I have the opportunity to travel around the country and see the way the arts can inspire, allow for reflection, and create new experiences. I look forward to the creative ways these 77 organizations will bring their communities together around a great work of literature through their participation in the NEA Big Read.”

Managed by Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.The program supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Organizations selected to participate in the NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, and educational and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.

MOCHA will offer art and literacy programs at its downtown museum space as well as at several Oakland Public Library branches. MOCHA selected The Namesake as the basis for programming because MOCHA believes this title relates and will resonate with the organization’s traditional audiences of children, youth and families. Programming for these audiences will be developed around the main themes from the book: parent and child relationships, name and identity, and language. Topics of identity, culture, and heritage are topics that MOCHA often incorporates into its work through various artistic mediums.

For more information about the NEA Big Read, please visit

The mission of MOCHA is to ensure that the arts are a fundamental part of the lives of all children through hands-on art experiences, arts training and curriculum for educators, and advocacy for the arts. A nonprofit agency founded in Oakland, California, in 1989, MOCHA’s work is centered in the city of Oakland and neighboring communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, with a focus on reaching children in communities underserved by the arts and/or in schools where the majority of students are academically at-risk. Programs successfully serve preschoolers, school-age children and teens; parents and other family members; English language learners; special needs students; and educators.