• King School Museum of Contemporary Art (KSMoCA)

  • About KSMoCA

    KSMoCA Wall with logo

    KSMoCA, Dr Martin Luther King Jr School Museum of Contemporary Art, is a contemporary art museum inside of Dr. MLK Jr. School in northeast Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2014 by Portland State University professors Lisa Jarrett and Harrell Fletcher, the project creates an unusual pairing between public school students and internationally renowned artists and their work. KSMoCA’s programs are collaboratively developed with the Dr. MLK Jr. School community, PSU students, and volunteers.

    Students learn through experience about museum practice and careers in the arts by participating as curators, preparators, artists, gallerists, writers, and docents. KSMoCA reimagines the way museums, public schools, and universities can affect people, culture, and perspectives by creating radical intersections and sharing resources across organizations.

    For more information, visit www.ksmoca.com and Instagram.


    KSMoCA hosts three main exhibitions throughout the course of the school year (Fall, Winter and Spring). Each exhibition features the artwork of a world-renowned contemporary artist, and work made by Dr MLK Jr school students who met the artist and participated in a workshop. This artwork is displayed in the hallway between the cafeteria and the gym.

    KSMoCA also hosts three exhibitions annually in the MLK Jr. Gallery. This space is curated by the Student Curatorial Committee, a group of 4th and 5th grade students who meet with and select artists for this space. This gallery is located in the hallway between the office and the cafeteria.

    To learn more about these exhibitions, please visit the exhibitions page on their website. 

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  • Upcoming Events

    black and white photo of artist

    Artist Talk with Intisar Abioto, KSMoCA’s Spring 2024 artist in residence

    THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2024
    10:00 — 10:30 AM

    Intisar Abioto is an artist and explorer working across photography, dance, and writing. As a storyteller, her works capture the many narratives of peoples of African descent across various geographic regions. She is also the curator of the monumental exhibition, Black Artists of Oregon, recently shown at the Portland Museum of Art. 

    For her KSMoCA exhibition, Abioto will showcase a photography series that focuses on Black and Indigenous stewards of the land across various landscapes—family farms, gardens, and other rural domains. 

    Photo of the artist by Erika Huffman, courtesy of Intisar Abioto.


    kids with ms. ruby and a plant

    Exhibition Opening — The Hold: Land & Water Stewards of Pacific Northwest Turtle Island, Intisar Abioto with Ms. De Lara-Vargas' Kindergarten Class

    THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2024
    10:30 AM  11:00 AM

    For her KSMoCA exhibition, Intisar Abioto will showcase a photography series that focuses on Black and Indigenous stewards of the land across various landscapes—family farms, gardens, and other rural domains. As such, we thought it would be fitting that this exhibition also include our favorite steward at Dr. MLK Jr. school, the incomparable Ms. Ruby Sims!

    For over fifteen years, Ms. Ruby has served tasty and nutritious meals to students, emphasizing the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables. As an avid gardener and herbalist, she is passionate about wellness and strongly believes in the healing power of plants. The exhibit features a portrait of Ms. Ruby by Abioto taken in the park next to the school.

    For this exhibition’s accompanying workshops, Ms. Ruby led a “touch, smell, taste” session with Ms. De Lara-Vargas’ kindergarten class, where students had the opportunity to taste and learn more about her favorite herbs. In a second workshop, the students generated a creative response to the first workshop, adding drawings of their favorite herbs to t-shirts. After the workshop, they wore their shirts to the cafeteria, surprising Ms. Ruby with a “Kinder GARDEN Parade” through the lunch line. Documentation of both workshops will be exhibited with Abioto’s photography series.

    KSMoCA hosts many projects, activities, and artist talks throughout the school year. Stay up to date on upcoming activities by visiting their events calendar or by following their Instagram page.

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