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Untitled drawing by artist Hannah Lotz of Merced High School.

Merced Area Museum of Community Art, Exhibit #3

Inspirational young artists featured in latest MA-MOCA show


Welcome to the Merced Area Museum of Community Art!

With regard to current shelter-in-place conditions, and the fact that local art museums are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the County Times has created the Merced Area Museum of Community Art, or better put: “The MA-MOCA,” for art fans of all ages. 

In this, our third newspaper / online exhibit, we present the work of six local artists — including three Merced High School students, and one who is still too young for grade school. 


‘Mermaid’s Tail’ by Merced artist Michelle Valderrama.


Artists & Survivor

Michelle Valderrama is a 46-year-old Merced resident, and a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse. She ran away from home at age 12, and today she says: “Life has never been easy.”

“Painting is my therapy,” Valderrama says. “I paint my life away every chance I get.” 

She also encourages her little 3-year-old girl, Madilyn, and her little 10-year-old girl, Audrina, to paint as well.    

The works presented here were completed by Michelle, Madilyn and Audrina in recent days. Valderrama says she ran out of canvas to paint on, so she is currently using scrap wood. 

More of their artwork can be viewed on the Facebook page “Pisces Makes Art.

Abstract work by Madilyn, age 3.


‘Heart and Galaxy’ by Audrina, age 10.


Mother and Daughter Mermaids by Merced artist Michelle Valderrama.


Mermaid Sunset by Merced artist Michelle Valderrama.


Mermaid Dive by Merced artist Michelle Valderrama.


Senior Student Photographer

Hannah Lotz is a senior at Merced High School and plans to attend UC Merced in the fall. Her photography talents were recently recognized in a contest by California Streaming, an education and digital media network. 

On this page we feature ‘Turning of the Weather,’ an example of her abstract still life photographs, along with a few notable other examples. There is also an untitled drawing that the artist says represents “being away from friends and missing everything for high school seniors because of the virus.”


‘Turning of the Weather,’ still-life photography by Hannah Lotz.


‘Refractions,’ still-life photography, by Hannah Lotz.


‘Water Lillies,’ still-life photography by Hannah Lotz.


‘Acrylic Swirls,’ photography by artist Hannah Lotz.


‘Brilliant Peacock,’ photography by artist Hannah Lotz.


Untitled drawing by artist Hannah Lotz of Merced High School.


Brother & Sister Team

Siblings Ethan and Mia Rodriguez study in the same special education class at Merced High School. They live with their mother, Margie, in Le Grand. They both have been creating art for many years, and they have organized exhibits in recent years at the downtown Merced Art Hop. 

Ethan likes to draw his favorite movie and video characters, and Mia creates small figurienes. Lately, Mia has been into an artform called “paper plushies.” Eventually, she wants to learn how to sew the plushies out of felt, and make videos with them. Her mother is interested in finding someone who can teach her how to sew once the current health crisis is over and the family can freely roam outdoors. 


Mia Rodriguez with her paper plushies ‘Dog-guy,’ ‘Bluey,’ ‘Strawberrix.’
Ethan Rodriguez with his drawing of ‘Alien.’


Mia Rodriguez
Chester the Paper Plushie by artist Mia Rodriguez


‘The Golden Creeper,’ animatronic figurine, by artist Mia Rodriguez.


Paper Plushies by artist Mia Rodriguez.


The Times thanks all the artists for sending in their works of art to the MA-MOCA!

At this difficult time, the Times wants to do its part to help share these talented works, and bring joy and recognition to the artists and our newspaper readers.

Artists are encouraged to send us jpeg photos of their art, along with a short bio, and explanations behind the work to this email: [email protected]



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