HISTORY

About Women’s Caucus for Art

The Women’s Caucus for Art was founded in 1972 in connection with the College Art Association (CAA). WCA is a national member organization unique in its multidisciplinary, multicultural membership of 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.

As an NGO (non-governmental organization) of the United Nations, the Women’s Caucus for Art actively supports Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). 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.

As a founding member of the Feminist Art Project (TFAP), 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.

OUR RECORDS

Special Collections/University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

Browse the list of records from 1972–1988 if you are looking for items concerning these years.
For an updated container list, or to make an appointment to access the special files from the archive, please contact Fernanda Perrone, Archivist and Head, Exhibitions Program, Curator of the William Elliot Griffis Collection, Special Collections/University Archives, at hperrone [at] libraries.rutgers.edu.

2020 Lifetime Achievement Catalog, 40th Anniversary of the Lifetime Achievement Awards
Designed by Karin Luner, Edited by Janice Nesser-Chu.

For a short description of every artist who has received a Lifetime Achievement Award:
2020 40th LTA Anniversary Catalog

Excerpted from Foreword by Barbara A. Wolanin, Former Curator for the Capitol in DC

“Second president Mary Garrard convinced CAA to make WCA an affliated society, and since 1977 WCA has met on the national level along with CAA at the winter conferences. When the conference was scheduled to be in Washington, D.C. in 1979, Charlotte Robinson led the local effort as conference chair to create the first Honor Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, supported by national president Lee Anne Miller. A new WCA chapter for the greater Washington, D.C. area met at the Washington Women’s Art Center, where conference planning also took place. The Vice President’s wife Joan Mondale was instrumental in arranging for private awards in the White House Oval Office to be presented by President Jimmy Carter to Isabel Bishop, Selma Burke, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O’Keeffe (in absentia). It was followed by a ceremony for WCA members at the conference and an opening of an exhibition of their art. In addition to three days of conference papers and receptions, women’s art was shown in 42 museums, galleries, and in college, university, library, and federal spaces in the area.”

2012 Lifetime Achievement Catalog, 40th Anniversary of the Women’s Caucus for Art
Designed by Karin Luner, Edited by Janice Nesser-Chu.

For an amazing array of essays about WCA’s history, download the
2012 WCA’s 40th Anniversary Catalog

Excerpted, page 21:

1976–1978 |  Judith K. Brodsky Associate Provost, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, NJ.
I became president of the Women’s Caucus for Art in 1976. I was nominated by Diane Burko, who had come to know me through Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts (FOCUS), which she had initiated and in which I participated by becoming the financial person and raising the funds. It was the first grant writing and I learned a lot in doing a budget. Now I can do those grant applications and budgets in my sleep, but that was my first. It was an application to the National Endowment for the Arts and it was successful. It was the also the first time that the NEA supported a feminist project! The incident shows how we all became leaders through our feminist art activism.”

THE POWER OF FEMINIST ART: The American Movement of the 1970’s, History and Impact
Edited by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrad

Excerpted, page 93:

“In 1972, feminism’s new ”permanent“ status in the arts was manifested in three important developments. First, the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) was created on January 28, 1972, at the San Francisco convention of the College Art Association (CAA).”

Karen Frostig and K. A. Halamka
Blaze: Discourse on Art, Women and Feminism.
Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2007)

Eleanor Dickinson, Report on the History of the Women’s Caucus for Art.
In K. Frostig & K. A. Halamka (Eds.), Blaze: Discourse on Art, Women and Feminism (pp. 37-69).
New Castle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. (2007) Track change edits for “Report on the History of the Women’s Caucus for Art” by DeRenne Coerr and copy edits by Barbara Benziger

Excerpted, page 37:

”The Women’s Caucus for Art was born in anger and nurtured by challenge and innovation for many years thereafter. Following a series of major upheavals in Europe and the United States, never-ending wars, “police actions” and war protests left wide-spread feelings of dissatisfaction with the conditions of life that previous generations had been willing to fight for. The Civil Rights movement, begun to end racial discrimination in America, had raised awareness of many other kinds of discrimination in the educational system, employment, and housing, and in the military forces where racial segregation both of the African Americans and the Japanese Americans had forced them into concentration camps on doubts of their patriotism. These movements raised questions of many other forms of discrimination, such as when women were forced to give up their war time jobs as men returned from the battlefields.“

To read more, please order the book, or ask you local library to order the Blaze book.

Mailing Address

Women's Caucus for Art
PO Box 1498
Canal Street Station
New York, NY 10013

Office

Women's Caucus for Art
640 Bartholomew Road–Rm 122A
Piscataway, NJ 08854 

Director of Operations

Karin Luner
k.luner@nationalwca.org
212-634-0007

WCA President

Laura Morrison
president@nationalwca.org