The RVA Critical Art Writing Program was founded in 2017 by Lauren Ross, a curator, writer, teacher, and administrator with over twenty years of experience in contemporary art. Lauren has served as a curator at such institutions as the Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, VA; Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK; the High Line, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, NY; and White Columns, New York, NY. As a writer, she has contributed to exhibition catalogs published by The Dallas Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as to periodicals such as The Art Newspaper, Art in America, and The Brooklyn Rail. Lauren has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University, the School of Visual Arts, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Whitney Museum. She holds a Master’s Degree from Hunter College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University, both in the History of Art.


Past and upcoming program mentors include:

Stephanie Cash (Executive Editor and Interim Director, Burnaway)

Massa Lemu (Stedelijk Studies Journal, E-Flux, Contemporaryand (C&), Third Text)

Jessica Lynne (Editor, ARTS. BLACK)

Amy Ritchie Johnson (freelance writer and creative writing instructor, Richmond Arts Review founder, contributor to LookSEE)

Lauren Ross (Founder, RVA Critical Art Writing Program, contributor to Art in America, The Art Newspaper, The Brooklyn Rail, Burnaway, LookSEE, This Land Press)

Andrew Russeth (Executive Editor, ARTnews)

Noah Simblist (contributor to Art21, Art in America, Art Journal, Art Lies, Art Papers, Art Pulse, Modern Painters, Terremoto)

Chris Vitiello (freelance writer, The Independent, recipient of the inaugural Rabkin Prize for Arts Journalism, and poet)

Christian Viveros-Fauné (critic and curator, Artnet News, Village VoiceThe Art Newspaper, author of Greatest Hits: Arte en Nueva York 2001-2011)

Samantha Willis (journalist, Richmond Free Press, Richmond magazine, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Style Weekly)


Here’s what some participants have said about their experiences:

“In the RVA Critical Art Writing Program, I have found an intentional, devoted gathering of peers who want to create more space for critically engaged arts writing… this is a unique enterprise, and not something I have found within my own rather robust creative and critical communities at home. The rare opportunity to converse, strategize, and share arts writing with this group—and under the tutelage of Lauren Ross and accomplished writing professionals—is what encourages me… I will doubtless take the collective and individual insights that have emerged through this program and put them into practice in my own community, within a greater motivation (which all program participants share) to grow similar writing hubs throughout the South.” – Michaela Dwyer, Durham, NC (Fall 2017)

“Being part of the CAWP has challenged me to write more frequently, with greater clarity and in a stronger voice than I could do on my own. More importantly, though, I couldn’t neglect the opportunity to be a part of what the CAWP potentiates. Within the shimmering rat’s nest that is central Virginia’s culture and politics is a knot of lucid witnesses capable of speaking to the trouble and beauty that are so palpable in the region’s art. The CAWP is an effort to do some untangling, to spend the time finding, cultivating and networking this cluster, so that the work might have greater resonance and visibility locally, regionally and nationally.” – Matt Shelton, Charlottesville, VA (Fall 2017)

Here’s some of the press on the program:

Amanda Dalla Villa Adams, “School for Critics,” Richmond Style Weekly, August 17, 2017

Amanda Dalla Villa Adams, “Richmond Fall Visual Arts Picks,” Richmond Style Weekly, September 5, 2017