April 26


Save the Date to Join Us for COCAcabana 2024

COCAcabana, COCA’s annual fundraiser, is a dynamic and creative spring event that draws more than 500 business and community leaders for cocktails and dinner, silent and live auctions, artistic performances, special celebrity guests, and imaginative themes that are uniquely COCA.

Started in 1988, COCAcabana sustains COCA’s work throughout the community, which provides arts programming in schools without access to arts education and offers scholarships for students to participate in COCA programs. Accounting for nearly 20 percent of COCA’s annual contributed revenue, COCAcabana is crucial to continuing this vital work.

COCAcabana 2024 Leadership

Melissa & Rob Merlin, Honorary Chairs

Karen & Mark Grudzien

Aisling & David Leonard 

Laurie & Sean Lock 

Daffney Moore 

Bahja Johnson, Alumni Chair

Bahja Johnson Headshot

Meet our 2024 COCAcabana Alumni Chair, Bahja Johnson

Bahja Johnson is a dynamic fashion and diversity & inclusion leader, with proven success leveraging inclusion as a catalyst for innovation, and innovation to drive growth and change within the retail industry. In her current role as Head of Equality & Belonging at Gap Inc., Bahja focuses on cultivating a culture of belonging for employees, delivering inclusive products and experiences for customers and communities, and enabling the end-to-end integration of the Equality & Belonging strategy across the Gap Inc. portfolio.  

Bahja first joined COCA in 1998, taking Jazz I as a student of the incomparable Ms. Lee Nolting. Bahja went on to join COCA’s Pre-Professional Division, taking classes in jazz, ballet, modern, and tap. She continued dancing in high school as part of the Dance Squad and yearly Dance Show at the John Burroughs School in St. Louis and went on to join the Quaker Girls Dance Team at the University of Pennsylvania as a student at The Wharton School. As a proud COCA alumnus, Bahja maintains a love of dance as a student at the Alvin Ailey Extension in New York City. 


Become a COCAcabana Sponsor

Interested in sponsorship opportunities and benefits for COCAcabana? Contact Virginia Howell at 314.561.4870.

COCAcabana 2023: Electric Oasis

Thank you for your support of COCAcabana 2022: Electric Oasis. The event helped raise more than $840,000 to ensure access to arts programming for our creative community.

COCAcabana Sponsorships and Donations

Contact Virginia Howell, Director of Individual & Corporate Engagement, at to find out how you can support COCAcabana.