Image courtesy of Stephanie Cruz

An unparalleled experience for UNF art students

The University of North Florida student-in-residence is a highly competitive opportunity that awards access to a MOCA Jacksonville studio and exhibition space to complete a new body of work and hone skills over the course of a final semester. 

Seniors in the Department of Art and Design are encouraged to apply in the spring for this opportunity that occurs during the fall semester. The work completed in the studio is displayed in the fifth-floor Education Gallery.



Alexandra Brody

Alexandra Brody, the 2020 UNF Artist in Residence, is a photography senior at UNF, with a minor in Mass Communications and Art History. In her work, Brody explores social and political topics, mixing analog and digital processes, and incorporating collage and other media to communicate her ideas. For her residency at MOCA, Brody will be developing her ongoing series “Public Domain,” documenting street artists in Florida. 

Brody was drawn to street art because it is type of art that is fully accessible to the public, indiscriminately. “Street art can uncover so much about the community that it is in,” says Brody. “Each wheatpaste, tag, or graffiti is a reflective work that can reveal the traditions, religious beliefs, and social standards of the space it is in.”    

Photo Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Rachel Huff Smith

Rachel Huff Smith

Rachel Huff Smith is MOCA Jacksonville's third annual UNF student-artist-in-residence. While pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of North Florida, Smith dedicated a significant amount of time in her MOCA Jacksonville fifth floor studio, developing emotionally resonant portrait paintings to be included in her exhibition Circumvolve: Narratives and Responses to Life Cycles. During her residency, Smith also facilitated the production of community painting in which local artists and non-artists alike explored and responded to the themes of Smith's painting series.

Photo by Hannah Joy Wells
Artist Profile Mark Lester

Mark Lester

Mark Lester is a Fine Arts major at the University of North Florida focusing on functional and sculptural ceramics. His work draws inspiration from precise forms found in nature, and attempts to find a balance between these forms and those that are more mechanical and geometric. As MOCA's fifth annual Student Artist-in-Residence, he will create a series of abstract wall sculptures that will be a blend of steel, glass and clay.

Image courtesy of the artist.
Artist Profile Erica Mendoza

Erica Mendoza

Erica Mendoza received her BFA in sculpture at the University of North Florida and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Interested in many different materials such as cast metals, steel, leather, and natural/existing objects, she finds inspiration in personal experiences and events. The bird is a common thread throughout Mendoza's work, touching on concepts of loss, love, and healing. Works become a homogeneous blend of dark and feminine through the balance of fragility and weight. Mendoza's work has been exhibited throughout the Jacksonville area, historic downtown Kissimmee, and Atlanta, Georgia. Her Visual Love Letters exhibition, a series of sculptural works created in response to the formation of a new relationship, was the result of her student residency at MOCA Jacksonville.

Image courtesy of Jennifer Grissom and the University of North Florida.
Artist Profile Jennifer Peek

Jenn Peek

Jenn Peek is a multidisciplinary artist attending the University of North Florida to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in sculpture. Her artwork focuses on processes of cast iron and steel fabrication, but she also utilizes elements of fiberglass, foam, fabric and ceramics in her work. Inspired by metamorphosis, rebirth and her nomadic life experiences, Peek creates a sense of movement and tension within stationary compositions meant to illicit a feeling of momentum and change.

Photo courtesy of the artist
Artist Profile Mary Ratcliff

Mary Ratcliff

Mary Ratcliff is a senior at the University of North Florida working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in sculpture and a minor in professional education. Her artwork primarily focuses on processes of steel fabrication, but she is attracted to a variety of mediums, utilizing elements of fiberglass, cast iron, foam, ceramics, and recycled/found objects in her work. Ratcliff's rural upbringing in southeastern Ohio has a strong footprint on her artwork, influencing her both aesthetically and conceptually. She is drawn to the beautiful intricacies of nature and plant life, finding inspiration in the repetitive, organic, colorful structures found in nature. Ratcliff also find interests in human nature, specifically, the psychological and physiological connections and dependencies that link us together as a society.

Artist Profile Amanda Rosenblatt

Amanda Rosenblatt

Amanda Rosenblatt is a fine art and creative portrait photographer currently living in Jacksonville. Her interest in photography began in her early teens and flourished from there. She is currently attending the University of North Florida where she will complete her BFA with a photography concentration. She finds inspiration for her work in many places including art history, fashion, and literature. Much of her work is done in analog or alternative processes including cyanotypes and albumen prints. Her Allegory of Fortune exhibition is the result of her student residency at MOCA Jacksonville.

Image courtesy of the Artist.