[Update 10/3/11: The exhibit opened at an alternate venue, a minute’s walk from MOCHA.
Thursday, September 29, 10:00am – Wednesday, November 30, 5:00pm
NEW VENUE! 917 Washington Street in Oakland
The exhibit will be open to the public
September 30-November 27
Saturdays and Sundays: 12pm-6pm
The Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) decided yesterday to cancel an exhibition of art by Palestinian children that was scheduled to open in Oakland on September 24, and run through November 13. As reported in today’s SF Chronicle, months of development had gone into the free exhibit, which was sponsored by nearly twenty local organizations, and featured special activities for children and families, including a cartooning workshop and poetry readings. MOCHA has exhibited wartime art by children more than once in the past, including an exhibit in 2004 by Iraqi children depicting the U.S. invasion that was similar in content to “A Child’s View from Gaza.” This time, however, “there was a concerted effort by pro-Israel organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to pressure the museum to reverse its decision to display Palestinian children’s art,” according to a media release from the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), who had partnered with MOCHA to present the exhibit. In the eyes of MOCHA board member Randolph Bell, the controversy had become “a distraction” to the main objective of bringing arts education to all children. On the contrary, Barbara Lubin, executive director for MECA, expressed her dismay that the museum decided to censor this exhibit in contradiction of this very mission: “to ensure that the arts are a fundamental part of the lives of all children,” including the children of Gaza. “We understand all too well the enormous pressure that the museum came under. But who wins? The museum doesn’t win. MECA doesn’t win. The people of the Bay Area don’t win. Our basic constitutional freedom of speech loses. The children in Gaza lose,” said Lubin. More information at www.mecaforpeace.org and sfgate.com Update 9/12: Additional press coverage San Jose Mercury News Huffington Post