I just registered for ‘Balance’ the Women’s Caucus for Art national conference in Chicago this February 12-15, 2014. Early bird registration for the conference ends this Monday, January 6th, but you can continue to register for the conference through February 7th. The WSC Conference parallels the College Art Association Conference, which offers its early bird registration through January 10th.
The WCA conference organizers have kept the actual conference registration at the very accessible price of $40 non-member fee so artists from all backgrounds can afford to attend. There are a number of additional optional events that have added costs but there are ways to attend and keep the costs down. You can register until February 7th, but costs are lowest through Monday.
The WCA Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony is free and open to the public too. This year an amazing group of feminist artists, activists, and thinkers are recognized: Phyllis Bramson, Harmony Hammond, Adrian Piper, and Faith Wilding. The 2014 President’s Art & Activism Awardees: Janice Nesser-Chu and Hye-seong Tak Lee will also receive their awards Saturday, February 15, 2014 from 6:00 -7:30pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The event is followed by a Gala which requires purchased tickets, but the ceremony itself is free and open to all.
The conference program offers events on Thursday and panels and presentations throughout Friday and Saturday that include a wonderful line up of presentations offered by The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) on Saturday.
In addition to the panels and presentations being offered there are a number of exhibitions taking place in association with the conference, and I am delighted to be able to mention that I will have paintings on display in two of them.
- ‘The Eyes of the Mother’ at the Korean Cultural Center Gallery in Wheeling, Illinois, a panel discussion and reception Thursday, February 13th,
- ‘Water: A Universal Human Right’ sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the WCA at the Robert Morris Gallery. Reception Thursday, February 13th. (My watercolor of canvas ‘Air Element: Storm ‘ will be on display among the other works).
- ‘The WCA Best of 2014’ and ‘Korean feminists’ Songs for our Muses’ at the ARC Gallery. Reception Thursday, February 13th. (My watercolor of canvas ‘Earth Element: Droughts’ will be on display among the other works).
- ‘Equilibrium’ a national juried exhibition at Woman Made Gallery. Reception Friday, February 14th
The Women’s Caucus for Art was founded in 1972 as a caucus of the College Art Association (CAA) as women’s artists and art historians in the academy began to organize to fight sexism in the arts and art education. The organization has fought for greater representation and participation for women and under-represented people in the arts and art education throughout its history.
Today the WCA is a national member organization that serves women in the arts in and out of the academy. Offering its membership 23 local chapters, and several internal caucuses (Eco-arts, international, Young women’s, and the Jewish Women’s Artist Network) the WCA is still unique in its multidisciplinary, multicultural membership of independent artists, art historians, students, educators, and museum professionals.
The mission of the Women’s Caucus for Art is to create community through art, education, and social activism. WCA is committed to recognizing the contribution of women in the arts; providing women with leadership opportunities and professional development; expanding networking and exhibition opportunities for women; supporting local, national and global art activism; and advocating for equity in the arts for all.
Also an NGO (non-governmental organization) of the United Nations, the Women’s Caucus for Art actively supports the UN Millennium Goals. WCA utilizes art as the universal language to engage artists, NGOS, and civil society on a broad range of issues such as gender equity and environmental sustainability.
A founding member of the Feminist Art Project, WCA is part of a collaborative national initiative celebrating the Feminist Art Movement and the aesthetic, intellectual and political impact of women on the visual arts, art history, and art practice, past and present.
I am very proud to be a past-president of the Women’s Caucus for Art. I was the organizations 13th national President served from 1994-1996, and preceded that service as a vice president and by serving on the Chapter Council representing Wisconsin. I was particularly lucky to have had the WCA participation in the United Nations NGO Forum as a part of the World Conference on Women in China during my presidency. My vice president, artist Jo Hockenhull organized most of the trip and set up collaborative exchanges with Chinese women artists that continue today. I was especially proud to have written a grant that allowed the Spiderwoman Theater ( 2010 WCA Lifetime Achievement Award recipients) to join us on the trip with 100 artists from the USA, Canada and Mexico. It was a life-changing adventure that taught me much about American privilege (the WCA was able to bring more participants to the NGO forum than many countries). This was the most complicated and rewarding project of the WCA during my presidency, but there were many more adventures in arts leadership that make me take my hat off to the leaders of today’s Women’s Caucus for Art and thank them for their mighty efforts to continue the success and leadership of the WCA.
I highly recommend participation in the organization at what ever level you are able. I spent ten or more years working with the WCA. I started out helping to form a local chapter of the WCA in my community while I was in graduate school so I could meet and get to know other artists who identified as feminists. As a new faculty beginning my career I found myself representing the chapter and State to the national organization. Before I knew it I was in national leadership at the same time I was earning tenure. It was both a joy and a challenge that I do not regret.
The WCA allowed me to experience national leadership in a way that a woman artist, at that time, from Wisconsin building an art career and teaching at a small liberal arts college (Lawrence University) could never have done otherwise. The experience helped me grow in so many ways (that leadership was the hardest thing I had done to date, and taught me I was capable of far more than I realized). My leadership in the WCA laid the groundwork for a lot of the work I did after both as an artist and as an activist and educator.
The most important thing I gained from my participation in the organization was the national and international community of women artist that became my friends and colleagues through our mutual efforts to help create a world were women and people of color are valued contributors to our cultural exchanges. It is a journey that is not complete, but the community is still there to join, participate in and grow.
Maybe I’ll see you in Chicago? Early bird registration is available through Monday January 6th. You must register by February 7th to attend.
Let me know if you are attending!