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MOCA Jacksonville and Art With a Heart in Healthcare celebrate 10 years of partnership with new exhibition

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville (MOCA) Artwork from pediatric patient of a white rose and abstract colorsand Art with a Heart in Healthcare (AWAHIH) honor a decade of partnership in exhibiting the works of regional pediatric patients with the new exhibition, “A Decade of Art with a Heart: 10 Years of Partnership.” The exhibition highlights artworks by pediatric patients from the past ten years of Art with a Heart exhibitions at MOCA Jacksonville. This exhibition runs from September 12 – December 13, 2020, and there is a virtual reception open to the public on September 19 at 11:00 a.m. where guests can hear the young artists share about their work.

"I am so proud to present the compilation of these incredible works of art created by very special patients over the past 10 years. This is such an honor to be able to reach out to these past patients and hear their stories of how art impacted their time in the hospital,” said Christy Ponder, Co-Executive Director and Artist-in-Residence of AWAHIH.

Since 2008 (with a two-year hiatus), the MOCA has partnered with AWAHIH, to present this model healing arts program that AWAHIH offers at Wolfson Children's Hospital, Nemours Children's Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Baptist Health and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville. Under the guidance of an artist-in-residence, the young patients explore their natural talents and learn art-making skills, while gaining self-confidence and self-awareness during their hospital experience. Each year, the museum launches an annual exhibition of the young patients’ artworks which then travels throughout the region over the course of one year.

“We are proud to show the works of these exceptional young artists,” said Director of MOCA Jacksonville, Caitlín Doherty. This collaboration, now going on its tenth year, serves as an opportunity for the museum to both celebrate this exceptional program, and the children whose creativity and resiliency shines through each exhibition.”

Through the years, the program developed different themes to encourage the students to express themselves through art, helping them to articulate their feelings, ideas and experience, while gaining technical skills in both art and photography. The themes have included “Express Your #Selfie” in 2014, encouraging the young artists to expand upon the basic photographic self-portrait, revealing something more personal; “Unmasked” (2015), where participants were asked “What’s in your head?” using the mask as a metaphor for what was inside them; “A World of Their Own” (2018) where each artist started with a question, "If you could create your own world… what would it look like?" or the highly popular “Animal-Gamation” of 2019, where the young artists where asked to explore their personalities, stories, and identities in an animal form. This year’s show, “A Decade of Art with a Heart: 10 Years of Partnership,” includes works by young artists from ten years of exhibitions, showcasing the different themes from past exhibitions.

“Preparing this show was such a journey. This show would not be possible if not for the collaboration of so many non-profits organizations, businesses, amazing artists and families. These pieces evoke love, healing, legacy, creativity and community,” said Lori Presto, Co-Executive Director and Artist-in Residence of AWAHIH.

“A Decade of Art with a Heart: 10 Years of Partnership” opens to the public on September 12. There will be a virtual reception on September 19 at 11:00, where those who attend can hear some of the young artists speak about their works on view as well as their journey with AWAHIH. Guests can register for the virtual reception, at

“We are truly blessed to have such a terrific partnership with MOCA over this past decade, and we look forward to working with them for many decades to come. Special thanks to Florida Blue for their support of the arts in healthcare and Art with a Heart - we couldn't do it without them!" Said Ponder.