The Museum of Children's Arts was originally founded in 1989 around the idea that creative, curious children build stronger communities. MOCHA continues to serve East Bay schools and neighborhoods today, teaching children as young as 18 months to channel creative energy while developing self-confidence and critical-thinking skills.
MOCHA's mission is most apparent during open-studio times, which allow parents and children to work together and experiment with painting or creating traditional folk art. A teaching artist is on hand to provide guidance, assistance, and lectures on the differences between Rococo and Impressionistic landscapes. Although these hands-on experiences are an integral part of the museum, MOCHA also invites visitors to peruse its community-inspired exhibitions, such as its displays of original pieces created by students of the Oakland Unified School District.
The Magic Paintbrush’s fully stocked studio adds a thick brushstroke of creativity to everyday life, giving nascent Monets and Rembrandts of all ages the chance to craft artworks and celebrate occasions such as birthdays and bridal showers. Nontoxic paints in dozens of hues give corporeal form to the figures that dance through patrons’ imaginations as they size up their blank templates. The Magic Paintbrush also holds classes that teach students ages 7 and up useful techniques for crafting pottery, tiling mosaics, fusing glass, and sculpting papier-mâché statuettes from unpaid credit-card bills.
Though FLOAT's neon sign is small and easy to miss in the window of a converted historic cotton mill, its interior is anything but unremarkable. The artist-owned urban art spa stimulates the mind with work from established and rising local artists and submerges clients in warm, dark chambers that relieve bodies of their senses. These floatation therapy sessions enhance relaxation and open up channels of creativity, freeing brains from the incessant digital stimulation and algebraic speed-limit signs of the outside world. While enclosed inside the tank, clients float in a weightless state in a solution composed of 1,000 pounds of medical-grade Epsom salts and water. There, air, water, and skin become alike—refreshing the nerves while recharging the mind more efficiently than sleep. Complementing floatation sessions are massage services that enhance already relaxed states.
With roots that stretch back to 1927, the Oakland Flower Market stretches across 10,000 sq. feet, with one-third dedicated to the floral department, and houses three walk-in coolers that store aesthetically pleasing ground-sprouts imported from countries as far reaching as the Netherlands, Thailand, and Australia. The large coolers keep floral varieties such as lilies and tulips (market price) from breaking a sweat. Patrons may also take home a phalaenopsis orchid ($15.99+) or cymbidium orchid plant ($29.99) to add an exotic flair to dull living rooms or drab ovens.
Through Studio+One:Design, professional abode beautifier Susan Hershman enlivens home interiors by drawing from her expertise in interior architecture and bathroom and kitchen renovations. Color consultations guide customers through thousands of paint-color options and enlists a medium to consult the restless spirit of Van Gogh. Susan can ensure walls are dressed in modern palettes, match an established decor, or evoke desired interior looks and feels. An interior-architecture consultation helps beautify and maximize the space inside kitchens, hallways, and underground racquetball arenas. Those who would like to read more about the aesthetic and financial benefits of proper color coordination can check out Susan’s book, House Colors: Exterior Color by Style of Architecture, which includes detailed information on how great exterior design can impact property value and which windowsill colors make you look the slimmest.