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Friday 11th January 2013


Lauren Cross
(817) 901-7135

Fort Worth, Texas–January 11, 2013–If you ask artist Lauren Cross what “WoCA” means, she'll tell you that “WoCA” is an acronym for “Women of Color Arts." Cross is the founding director and curator of WoCA Projects, new non-profit artspace opening in Fort Worth on February 15th.
The new gallery will be located in the Riverside Arts District, a budding arts district in the Fort Worth Riverside community.
The mission of WoCA Projects is to highlight contemporary art by emerging, mid-career, and established women artists of color. Cross conceived the space to be both artist-run and project-oriented, her charge is to expose the city of Fort Worth and the broader arts community to artists who are often left out of the art equation. Cross’ inspiration for WoCA goes way back and touches a very personal side of her own art experience.
While studying art in undergraduate school Cross noticed that the art and artists she was exposed to did not relate to her own experience. As an African American woman artist, she discovered that the art world was highly white-male oriented, and later discovered that there were women of color artists exploring similar issues to her own.
“It wasn’t until I studied overseas that I discovered works by artists of color in a classroom setting,” says Cross, who discovered artists such as Chris Offili and her later mentor Rene Cox while studying art in London, England. “The irony was that there were artists exhibiting in the United States ( as well as a cultural arts history), but I was never introduced to their work. When I went to graduate school I realized that there were women artists of color making work very similar to what I was making in the studio… that would have helped me earlier on in art school.”
As a result, graduate school inspired Cross to start initatives that highlight women artists of color. Cross' documentary film and accompanying exhibition,The Skin Quilt Project, explores the works of contemporary African American quilters, and her online site, CVAAD Projects, exposes viewers to contemporary artists of the African diaspora. “These projects were all inspired by my desire to create spaces where contemporary artists of color could be recognized,” said Cross, which later became the motivation for WoCA.
With the opening of WoCA Projects, Cross is taking on a new space—the exhibition space. WoCA Projects will feature community and cultural arts programming through exhibitions, film screenings, artist talks and lectures, and community arts education.
On February 15th, 2013 from 6-9 p.m., WoCA Projects will officially open its doors to the public with a grand opening reception, premiering new exhibitions that feature artists Linda Lucia Santana, Desha Dauchan, and Joy Ude. "I am excited to feature these artists in WoCA," says Cross, "the space aims to help diversify the contemporary art landscape." WoCA hopes to complement the programming that other cultural arts instutitions are offering to local communitities. Cross admits that "I could have benefited from WoCA when I was in art school...recently I've had the opportunity to talk with other women artists of color in the development of this project and its shocking that many young artists still feel that their experiences are either unacknowledged or misrepresented." Cross hopes that the exhibitions and programming at WoCA will make a signficant impact on the local arts community, while also reshaping the art world.
For more information on WoCA Projects and upcoming exhibitions and programming visit www.wocaprojects.com and follow WoCA on Facebook.

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