commentary by Bea Garth
“The History of the Women’s Caucus of Art” by Eleanor Dickinson, 2007 makes a very interesting read. You can find it here: http://www.nationalwca.org/wcadocs/TheHistory%20of%20the%20WCA.pdf
Our artist organization has radical feminist roots we can be proud of. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s women in general began to become aware that we were being overlooked and treated as if we were invisible. “The personal is political” became the watchword–which aroused many women artists and art educators . It was noted that even the history of women artists was being suppressed. Out of both anger at the limiting views of the patriarchy concerning our rights and a newly arising feeling of sisterhood, women artists like Judy Chicago began to take creative leaps that rocked the consciousness of the time.
Out of this ferment, the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) was born. Throughout the years since, the WCA has been instrumental in helping feminist women artists become recognized as strong contenders in the art scene and in art education in the US and, to some extent, throughout the world. Our continued creative presence has made a positive difference for all women.
Eventually, however, the WCA faced an organizational and financial impasse. True to its roots, the WCA found a way to overcome organizational chaos and potential financial disaster. Strong women in the arts took the reins and made decisions on how to become better organized so it could no longer be undermined from within. Certainly since then, the computer age has helped to make its complex organization simpler.
The WCA now offers a platform of support and camaraderie for women artists, students and educators while maintaining both the independence and importance of its many national chapters and international connections.
It is my opinion that we, as feminist artists, are finally getting ready for the next phase. What that is, is up to us. Will we decide to be a part of the new paradigm shift towards a more socially, politically and ecologically interconnected view, away from what appears to be an increasingly desperate and corrupt patriarchal system? Or not? The decision is up to us.
In any case, whatever we decide, the Women’s Caucus for Art will continue to connect and support feminist artists in meaningful ways in our various communities.