The MoCCA Arts Festival, an annual festival of indie and self-published comics and graphic novels organized by the Society of Illustrators, will be postponed due to the continuing spread of the new coronavirus. The indie comics show was scheduled to be held April 4-5 in New York City. The Society hopes to have a new date for the event by next week.
In a message directed to exhibitors, artists and fans, Society of Illustrators executive director Anelle Miller said that her decision was driven by the continued spread of the virus: “New York is now in a state of emergency and the number of cases [of COVID-19] continues to climb.” She said “we are currently working with Metropolitan West [event space] to find a suitable replacement date. We hope to have this information next week, and we will be in touch with this news and details about our refund policy.”
Miller also acknowledged “there are financial ramifications for all of us with this decision to postpone.” She added that “while New York is not officially calling for events of large gatherings to be canceled, many have been and we do not know what the next few weeks will entail. We recognize the amount of work and finances you put into your table and are trying to minimize the burden on you.”
MoCCA awards several prizes, among them the Awards of Excellence, which will continue to be judged and awarded. The winners will be featured in an online exhibition. Miller said, "we are currently setting a new date for judging and giving people a little more time to enter," and added that more information on the awards will be forthcoming.
The decision to reschedule MoCCA follows the postponement of the Emerald City Comic Con last week. The rescheduling of MoCCA shifts attention to the Toronto Comic Arts Fest, another popular indie comics festival scheduled to be held May 9-10.
In an updated statement released Wednesday March 13, the organizers of TCAF and VanCAF (a similiar indie comics show held in Vancouver) are now telling the public not to purchase transportation or hotel accommodations for the show in light of new public health recommendations. TCAF’s official hotel is also accepting cancellations. The Toronto Reference Library, where TCAF is held, and all public libraries in Toronto have been ordered closed until April 6. In addition the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health has recommended the suspension of all public gatherings of more than 250 people.
TCAF organizers added: “TCAF is currently moving forward because it falls outside of these closure windows, but that could change very quickly. Closures may be extended and we have no way of knowing when those announcements will be made. Because of this, we want to minimize the financial risk of exhibitors and attendees."
Update: a new statement from the organizers of the forthcoming TCAF and VanCAF indie comics shows has been added to this story cautioning against making plans to attend the shows.
Correction: the original date of the MoCCA Art Fest was incorrect in an earlier verision of this story.