Nestled in the heart of New York City, the Society of Illustrators produces  a singular celebration of creativity —the MoCCA Arts Festival. Established in 1901, the Society stands as America’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration, with its museum of illustration on the Upper East Side serving as a beacon for the promotion of illustration and its rich history.

At the core of this creative institution lies the MoCCA Arts Festival, a two-day extravaganza held at the Metropolitan Pavilion. This festival has evolved into NYC’s premier independent comics and cartoon gathering, drawing over 9000 attendees annually. The festival’s origins trace back to 2001 when the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) was founded at 594 Broadway. MoCCA became a haven for exhibits, educational programs, and the annual MoCCA Fest, a small-press comic convention that debuted in 2002.

In 2012, MoCCA bid farewell to its physical space but not its spirit. It entrusted its remarkable collection to the Society of Illustrators, with the visionary condition that a dedicated gallery be established within the Society’s museum to showcase comic and cartoon art. Thus, the MoCCA Fest found a new home and purpose.

Since its relocation, the SI MoCCA Arts Festival has developed into one of the nation’s largest independent comic and cartoon festivals. With over 500 exhibiting artists, the festival offers attendees an immersive experience, delving into the diverse worlds crafted by these talented creators.

Beyond the vibrant displays, the festival brings award-winning honorees to the forefront, sharing insights into their illustrious careers and artistic processes. Attendees can witness live demos, engage in thought-provoking lectures, and participate in panels led by featured artists. The result is a rich tapestry of artistic expression reflecting myriad stories and perspectives within the world of comics and cartoons.

As the SI MoCCA Arts Festival continues to evolve, it stands as a testament to the enduring power of illustration to captivate, inspire, and unite. From its beginnings at 594 Broadway to its current status as a cultural cornerstone at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the festival’s journey exemplifies the resilience and creativity embedded in the world of comics and cartoons.

This year the SI MoCCA Arts Fest is being held on March 16-17, 2024. Tickets can be purchased here.