NiteTalk: MOCA’s Lark Keeler Keeps the Art After Dark

Lark Keeler Resized

The era of museums being relegated to the day time have long gone. And at Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) much of the reason for this is due to the efforts of Lark Keeler. Keeler serves as the Assistant Curator of Education, which is kind of a roundabout way of saying she's largely responsible for the ever-upward learning curve that is MOCA by Moonlight. Niteside got with the keen-minded instructor/coordinator to find out what we all need to know about their art after dark.

You're MOCA's Assistant Curator of Education. Would you tell us a bit about the position? I'm actually currently serving as the Interim Curator of Education as well as the Assistant Curator of Education. The combination of duties includes teaching, planning, organizing and overseeing 30 programs that are offered by MOCA's Education Department. We've got programming for all ages, including the MOCA Art Pixie for preschoolers at Aventura Mall, Creative Arts Summer Camp, Free Teen Programs like our Young Bohemians Event which showcases teen artists, musicians and writers and then the ongoing programming for adults in our MOCA by Moonlight Wednesday night programs.

Speaking of MOCA by Moonlight, what are some of the events associated with the series?
Every Wednesday evening MOCA's cutting edge exhibitions are open from 7 to 9 p.m. We also host evening events for adults. Our programs consist of the Contemporary Art Boot Camp Lecture Series, 5 Minutes of Fame Artists' Forum, Time for Design-Designers' Forum and Arts for All, a class that introduces information about contemporary artists, and participants create their own artwork using similar techniques and materials. I'd like to add that MOCA by Moonlight has been generously sponsored by MOCA patrons and active members Tom and Stephanie Bloom. 

The next 5 Minutes of Fame is tonight. Who are the artists involved and what might we expect to discover? 5 Minutes of Fame is such a great time! Local artists register to present their work -- of all kinds and skill levels -- to a very active audience, and each artist speaks for 10 minutes about where their art work has been, where it is now and where it is going. Tonight's presenters are Eric and Derrick Lane, Monique Lassooij, Basha Ruth Nelson, Engelbert and Jutta Rakoniewski, Mike Rivamonte and Gerry Stecca. It'll be both fascinating and fun. 

The April 21 Moonlight event is Time for Design. Could you please give us the lowdown on that? That will be a special Earth Day-themed discussion moderated by Ilana Sod, who's the co-director and broadcaster of the MTV International documentary series "Agents of Change." The panelists will be Jonathan and Yair Marcoschamer of Ecoist, furniture designer Facundo Poj and Paloma Teppa of Plant the Future. They are four designers working in Wynwood whose projects promote sustainable design. A complementary reception will immediately follow the discussion, with food provided by Mercadito. It will be a fantastic way of kicking off Earth Day, which is the following day.
While we have you here, can you please also tell us a bit about the Art Boot Camp run by MOCA's Executive Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater? Our very successful lecture series invites the audience to learn about themes and techniques that dominate art through the decades. It's based on Ms. Clearwater's original research, and she takes the audience on a visual journey through the art that has led up to the cutting edge exhibitions that can be viewed here at MOCA.

What else is coming up at MOCA that we all need to know about? In celebration of Haitian Heritage Month there will be metal sculptures by artists Serge Jolimeau and Michée Ramil Remy on view in MOCA's Lobby Gallery from April 16 to May 30.  The two live and work in Haiti, and they follow that country's long tradition of metalwork, using hammers and chisels to transform metal oil drums into objects relating to natural elements of the Caribbean. Among the artworks included will be the originals that were presented to recipients of the 2009 Clinton Global Citizen Awards, which are on loan from the Office of President William J. Clinton. And the exhibition's opening coincides with the April 16 to 18 run of the Clinton Global Initiative University at the University of Miami.

What's on the horizon for Lark Keeler? I am looking forward to an exciting summer filled with daily Summer Camp, Adult Digital Photography and Figure Drawing Classes and MOCA's Teen Summer Photojournalism and Journalism Institute. We are in the process of expanding our 2010-2011 programming for teens in hopes of offering free afterschool classes every day of the week in both communication and art. I continue to look forward to exposing our youth to the engaging world of contemporary art -- it's a universal language that can connect on so many levels.

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