Lauren Cross – Visionary for Women and the Arts

Lauren Cross, TWU Doctoral Candidate

Lauren Cross, TWU Doctoral Candidate

Lauren Cross is rapidly earning the reputation as a visionary for women of color in the arts. A current Ph.D. student, Lauren will soon join her mother Loretta (Lucas) Ausbie, a 1974 graduate, and her aunt, Shirley (Lucas) Dachaun, Class of 1970, as an alumna of Texas Woman’s University. Lauren’s background, her vision for WoCA Projects based in Fort Worth, is an inspiring story.

Lauren holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and a B. A. in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, the American International University in London, England.  Her work has been exhibited and screened at various galleries, museums, and colleges/universities across the country.  Lauren’s documentary, The Skin Quilt Project, was an official selection for the 2010 International Black Women’s Film Festival.  You would be able to see her work from June 20th to August 15th, 2014, when it will be featured in a regional juried exhibition at Artspace111 in Fort Worth, an exhibit which was juried by Andrea Karnes, curator at the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum, an Ron Tyler, former director and curator at the Amon Carter Museum of Art in Fort Worth.

Lauren is a 4th year doctoral candidate in Women’s Studies at TWU concentrating in Multicultural Studies with a  projected graduation date in December 2014.  For the Women’s Studies department she teaches a course titled Gender and Social Change: An Introduction to Multicultural Women’s Studies and U. S. Women of Color.  Her dissertation research, exploring the implications of curating exhibitions that feature women artists of color, ties directly to her current passion, the WoCA Projects, an innovative artspace in Fort Worth.  According to the website ” WoCA Projects is an non-profit, artist-run artspace featuring contemporary artworks by local, national, and international women artists of color, and diversifying the contemporary landscape through exhibitions and community arts programming.  WoCA Projects defines ‘women of color’ as women of African, native American, indigenous, Latina/Chicana, Asian/Pacific islander, and Arab/Mediterranean descent, as well as women representing diverse ethnicities and nationalities with and outside the U. S.”

The WoCA artspace in Fort Worth

The WoCA artspace in Fort Worth, located in the Riverside Arts District, a local community of arts studio spaces.

In 2013, Lauren was one of three artists selected by the Fort Worth Weekly magazine to receive a Visionary Award.  Her vision for the WoCA projects is indeed unique.  A visit to the WoCA artspace  website  illustrates Lauren’s vision for such programming as Curating4Change, a “program that engages both youth and adults in a community based curatorial program that teaches the practice of curating with the hopes that communities can become more involved in exhibition making, and thus creating the exhibitions they would like to see.”   WoCA offers a Summer Youth Arts Curating Camp as well as a workshop for adults.  Another innovative offering is “Afternoon Teas@ WoCA.”  Afternoon teas are held on the 2nd Saturday of each month and feature a three course afternoon tea menu, a guest lecture from women leaders in the arts, a vendor and a raffle.   

Since its opening in 2013, WoCA has hosted several exhibitions including a recent one called “The Hoodie Project” featuring images from the work of TWU Alumna, Susan Sponsler, dealing with the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager shot to death in Sanford FLA in 2012.

Lauren is excited to join her mother and aunt as alumnae of Texas Woman’s University, an accomplishment that is made particularly meaningful by the fact that they have been her strongest supporters in her continued education and her work at WoCA.

TWU wishes Lauren all the best in her doctoral studies and her visionary work in Fort Worth!

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