Lauren Cross Leaves Texas for a Curatorial Position at The Huntington in California

by Jessica Fuentes February 7, 2023

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California has announced the appointment of Lauren Cross as its new Gail-Oxford Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts.

A headshot of curator Lauren Cross.

Lauren Cross. Photo: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

While many of her projects have been centered in North Texas, independent curator, scholar, and artist Lauren Cross has made a name for herself across the state over the past few years. In 2022 the Galveston Art Center debuted her solo exhibition Come Sunday (I’m Crossing Over), which was inspired by narratives of Black migration, emancipation, and freedom. She also curated the 2022 Contemporary Art Month Perennial in San Antonio and co-curated a photography exhibition, Black Every Day, at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. In 2021, she debuted a public art piece as part of the Nasher Sculpture Center’s Nasher Public program, curated New Stories: New Futures, a temporary public art exhibition in Fort Worth, and authored an essay in a publication for Art League Houston’s 2021 Texas Artist of the Year, Vicki Meek. And in 2020, Mrs. Cross served as the guest curator for Artpace San Antonio’s fall 2020 International Artist-in-Residence program.

Mrs. Cross’ curatorial career began in 2010 when her documentary film The Skin Quilt Project spurred the traveling exhibition The Skin Quilt Project: Uplifting Our Culture, Celebrating Tradition. In 2012, she founded WoCA projects to highlight women artists of color through exhibitions and community programming. Since 2015, Mrs. Cross held several positions at the University of North Texas, including adjunct professor, lecturer, senior lecturer, and most recently Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Art and Design Studies.

Mrs. Cross holds a Ph.D. in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies from Texas Woman’s University, an MFA in visual arts from Lesley University, and a BA in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, the American International University in London. She also studied photography and media arts at the University of Texas at Arlington.

In a press release announcing the appointment, Dennis Carr, The Huntington’s Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art, stated, “Lauren joins The Huntington with a wealth of curatorial expertise and a deeply multidisciplinary perspective. Her insights and experience will be key as we continue to highlight underrepresented voices and grow our American decorative arts collection in a way that is more representative of the diversity of decorative arts across American history.”

In her new role, Mrs. Cross will develop programs, propose acquisitions, engage in research projects and exhibitions, and cultivate public engagement. While The Huntington’s collection strengths include American folk art, decorative arts, furniture designs of Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene, and Colonial-era material, Mrs. Cross is tasked with broadening the collection to include more works by artists of color and to highlight global exchange between the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Mrs. Cross has remarked, “I have always admired the range and quality of The Huntington’s decorative arts collection. At the same time, I am thrilled to join the team at this important moment to help build out areas of the collection and fill important gaps with respect to representation. I’m looking forward to creating new stories with the Gail-Oxford collection and working collaboratively with curators at The Huntington to help visitors — both on-site and online — better understand and appreciate the nuances of American decorative arts.”

Mrs. Cross officially stepped down from her position at UNT in early January and assumed her role at The Huntington shortly thereafter. Though she is relocating to California, Mrs. Cross will continue to work on projects in Texas, including as Executive Strategist for the National Juneteenth Museum, which is being developed in Fort Worth. Mrs. Cross is also a judge for Glasstire’s 2023 North Texas Art Writing Prize, a competition that solicited writing from North Texas-area students.

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