MoCCA to join forces with Society of Illustrators, move uptown

The press release sounds a little ominous:

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) and the Society of Illustrators have announced plans for MoCCA to transfer its assets to the Society, creating a single cultural institution supporting and celebrating illustration, comics, and animation.

Does that mean MoCCA is going to disappear? Apparently not:

The Society will continue and expand MoCCA’s mission in a number of ways: staging MoCCA Fest in its current location, dedicating a gallery in the Society building to MoCCA’s Permanent Collection, continuing MoCCA programming, and curating a special exhibition of works from MoCCA’s Permanent Collection in their Hall of Fame Gallery (on display March 5-May 4), which will run in conjunction with a major exhibit, “The Comic Art of Harvey Kurtzman,” curated by graphic designer and comics-anthology editor Monte Beauchamp. There will be extensive arts programming around both of these exhibits, including lectures, workshops, film and music series. Current MoCCA memberships will be honored at the Society of Illustrators.

This being New York, it's all about the real estate, or at least that's how it feels; the museum's earlier digs, at 594 Broadway, were in a cool neighborhood but on the fourth floor. MoCCA President Ellen Abramowitz told The Comics Journal last month that MoCCA's lease was up and they needed to decide whether to stay or go. The new space will be a ground-level gallery on East 63rd St., a few blocks east of Central Park.

As for the Society of Illustrators, they seem to be pretty comics-friendly; previous members include Will Eisner, Milton Caniff, Al Capp, and Rube Goldberg—the list in the press release is heavily slanted toward newspaper comics. The question is to what extent MoCCA will be able to keep its own identity, and it seems like for the next year at least, that won't be a problem.

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