Introducing: Women Centered Art Co-op

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It looks like more than one group of Charlotte artists is brewing ideas for launching an artist commune. Meet Brooke Hofsess and Shane McCormick, two Charlotteans who met all the way in New York City where they were studying for an M.A in Arts and Arts Education at Columbia University. They met on their first day and quickly realized they shared a dream of changing their lives and others through the arts.

They’ve returned to Charlotte and are now working on that dream. Both artists and teachers, they’ve recently begun delivering art workshops in the community. Their next step, which we talk about here, is their vision for Women Centered Art Co-op; a women-focused artist venue that they hope will become a second home to Q.C.-based female artists.

Women Centered Art Co-op

Interview with: Brooke Hofsess

Date founded: Women Centered Art Co-op began to take shape in February of this year, but the idea has been brewing for some time.

What gave you the inspiration for the group?

Founding a grassroots community art center has long been part of my consciousness, but when I met Shane a few years ago, we clicked — and an opportunity for collaboration opened up. We’ve since worked together making art and trying to expand the boundaries of art education in and out of schools here in Charlotte.

Shane and I have also had many long talks about the fact that, as women, we “want it all”— great careers, chances to exhibit our work, inspiring workshops to attend and a supportive community of friends and family with whom we can share it. So this project is about nurturing our own needs as artists and educators while still embracing the community. It goes beyond the idea of becoming a professional artist and into the realm of living an artful life.

WCAC also evolved from a place of evaluating whether or not to make this city my home after living between Charlotte and NYC for the past three years. For me, this is about a commitment to building what you want for your life, rather than leaving town for a city with more to offer.

What’s your vision for the group?

WCAC is about building community for women artists. I believe there is an innate sense to create in all of us. Through our capacity to create, our lives become rich, purposeful and empowered. Together, we can strengthen the female voice and vision here in Charlotte by creating a space to work and a place for nonjudgmental and open dialogue about the creative process.

Eventually, (once opened) the WCAC will offer an array of options for women artists and community members who are interested in the arts but lack confidence, time, money or space in which to pursue it. I imagine a place that is a second home to many; a place that offers studio spaces, workshops, community classes, a community garden, monthly potlucks, art exhibits, yoga/movement classes, film screenings, youth outreach and where mentoring relationships among emerging and professional artists form.

I have recently started teaching community art classes to help folks get back in touch with their natural impulses to play, create and explore. How can we stay inspired in the day-to-day grind? How do we reconnect with our natural inherent creativity? Those questions intrigue me and I plan to continue that work through WCAC.

When and how do you meet or communicate?

Until WCAC opens its building, it is meeting in different locations throughout Charlotte. Its first official meeting is at Amelie’s French Bakery and Café from 4p.m.-6 pm on Saturday, March 27th. This day falls on SWAN (Supporting Women Artists Now) day — a new international holiday that celebrates women artists. We also hold monthly free art workshops at Pura Vida Worldly Art (it’s next one, Nitty-Gritty Printmaking, is scheduled for Saturday, April 10th). For a calendar of workshops and other meetings, visit WCAC’s Facebook or website: www.womencenteredart.org.

What can others do to support it?

We hope that the idea for WCAC resonates with women and inspires them to take action. Anne Lamott said, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Our vision is only as powerful as the people behind it. Those who are willing to wait, watch and work will help make this vision a reality for generations of future women.

People can purchase WCAC membership cards to begin supporting our vision. Benefits include e-newsletters and invitations to all events and programs, exhibition opportunities, monthly potlucks where we share work and food and discounts on workshops.

We also urge everyone to follow us on Facebook and attend WCAC events and meetings. Everyone has something to give and we are open to receiving that energy and expertise from the community as we evolve.

What’s your vision for the group?

WCAC is about building community for women artists. I believe there is an innate sense to create in all of us. Through our capacity to create, our lives become rich, purposeful and empowered. Together, we can strengthen the female voice and vision here in Charlotte by creating a space to work and a place for nonjudgmental and open dialogue about the creative process.

Eventually, (once opened) the WCAC will offer an array of options for women artists and community members who are interested in the arts but lack confidence, time, money or space in which to pursue it. I imagine a place that is a second home to many; a place that offers studio spaces, workshops, community classes, a community garden, monthly potlucks, art exhibits, yoga/movement classes, film screenings, youth outreach and where mentoring relationships among emerging and professional artists form.

I have recently started teaching community art classes to help folks get back in touch with their natural impulses to play, create and explore. How can we stay inspired in the day-to-day grind? How do we reconnect with our natural inherent creativity? Those questions intrigue me and I plan to continue that work through WCAC.

When and how do you meet or communicate?

Until WCAC opens its building, it is meeting in different locations throughout Charlotte. Its first official meeting is at Amelie’s French Bakery and Café from 4p.m.-6 pm on Saturday, March 27th. This day falls on SWAN (Supporting Women Artists Now) day — a new international holiday that celebrates women artists. We also hold monthly free art workshops at Pura Vida Worldly Art (it’s next one, Nitty-Gritty Printmaking, is scheduled for Saturday, April 10th). For a calendar of workshops and other meetings, visit WCAC’s Facebook or website: www.womencenteredart.org.

What can others do to support it?

We hope that the idea for WCAC resonates with women and inspires them to take action. Anne Lamott said, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Our vision is only as powerful as the people behind it. Those who are willing to wait, watch and work will help make this vision a reality for generations of future women.

People can purchase WCAC membership cards to begin supporting our vision. Benefits include e-newsletters and invitations to all events and programs, exhibition opportunities, monthly potlucks where we share work and food and discounts on workshops.

We also urge everyone to follow us on Facebook and attend WCAC events and meetings. Everyone has something to give and we are open to receiving that energy and expertise from the community as we evolve.


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