Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville marks centennial


The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The oldest contemporary art museum in the American South and the second oldest in the nation traces its roots to four visionary women: Merrydelle Hoyt, Louese Washburn, Rose Tharp and Edith Harrison, all members of the Jacksonville Women’s Club. In 1924, they founded the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society, the museum’s original name.

Over the next century, the museum hosted exhibits by many notable artists. In 2009, it became affiliated with the University of North Florida.

MOCA celebrated its history April 6 with its Centennial Gala, the theme of which was New York in the 1970s, inspired by the museum’s current featured exhibition, “A Walk on the Wild Side.” Food was catered by Chef’s Garden Catering & Events. Attendees were treated to art by Corey Kolb, performances by the River City Rollin Crew, music from DJ Timo Weiland, themed cocktails and a full bar.

On Feb. 29, a Project Atrium exhibit by renowned artist Frank Stella was unveiled. “Jacksonville Stacked Stars” is a multi-story installation. It and accompanying prints of Stella’s other work comprise the artist’s fourth show at MOCA, the last being “Frank Stella Unbound” in 2018.

Speakers at the Feb. 29 event included MOCA Jacksonville Executive Director Caitlín Doherty, Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, presenting sponsor Preston Haskell and UNF President Moez Limayem.

“Jacksonville Stacked Stars” will be on exhibit until Aug. 18. “A Walk on the Wild Side” will be on exhibit until July 7.

MOCA is located at 333 N. Laura St. For information, go to