Actor and master acting teacher, Richard Lawson, and fashion designer, art collector and philanthropist Tina Knowles Lawson have joined forces to establish the new WACOTheater Center in Los Angeles. As Founders of the recently built non-profit art and performance center, the husband and wife team are kicking off the occasion with the first annual Wearable Art Gala. The charitable event is set to take place at the California African American Museum (CAAM) on Saturday, April 29, 2017 inLos Angeles.
“We are truly thrilled to establish a new creative center in Los Angeles where art can occur,” Tina Knowles Lawson says, alluding to WACO’s acronym. “The purpose of this endeavor is empowering people to gain the skills and ability to identify and pursue their dreams no matter who they are or where they came from. It is also to give both professional and non-professional actors, artists and youth a place to celebrate their own talent and artistry.” Richard Lawson adds, “WACO is our dream come true.”
For the inaugural Wearable Art Gala, the Lawsons looked no further than their own family to help bring attention to their mission. Thus, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Solange Knowles, Bianca Lawson and Kelly Rowland will serve as the Gala’s Honorary Chairpersons. The evening will include live and silent auctions and guests will be invited to explore the CAAM’s galleries and exhibitions. The museum serves as the ideal venue for the Gala and for wearable arts to be feted by guests dressing in art and original fashion designs. The wearable art movement is surging now due to fashion designers such as Knowles Lawson who bring greater attention to wearable art pieces by encouraging patrons to be creative and design their own wearable art. The Gala will be dedicated to the arts. “From performance, fashion, music, and the visual arts, including painting and sculpting, it’s never too late to develop and cultivate talent,” says Lawson. “Dreams do not have an expiration date, and that is what we plan to instill in our students at WACO Theater Center.” The Center will also be the new home of Richard Lawson Studios, the acting school founded by Lawson.
The Gala will introduce WACO Theater Center’s community mentorship programs, which include Tina’s Angelsand Richard’s Warriors focusing on the education and empowerment of 14-15 girls and boys; and, the Mobile Theater, which takes theater, music and visual arts to underserved communities around the greater Los Angeles Area. The theater lobby will serve as a gallery to showcase new artists’ work.
“It is a proven fact that when you are exposed to the arts, you do better in other areas. We want to feed the mind of the entire young person from the arts to life skills. The mentoring program for young women will teach them everything from basic etiquette to public speaking. Young people need to clearly see the best versions of themselves,” says Knowles Lawson, who is also collaborating with the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM Los Angeles) to foster the creativity of its students.
Fashion and design majors from across disciplines will have the opportunity to participate in the event’s production and showcase their talent at the Gala.
“We hope to establish the Wearable Art Gala as one of LA’s signature philanthropic events and bring awareness and attention to the power of the arts,” adds Lawson. The Gala will include festivities rooted in the Lawson’s Louisiana Creole ancestry such as Second Line music and dancing. A Creole-style dinner will be presented by the renowned Los Angeles restaurant Harold & Belle’s whose third-generation owners, Chef Ryan and Jessica Legaux, will present beloved family recipes of Creole classics throughout the evening.
Tickets to the Wearable Art Gala include a dinner reception presented by Harold & Belle’s Restaurant, musical entertainment, dancing and night long celebration at the California African American Museum (CAAM). The $500donation to WACO, a registered 501 (3)© non-profit organization, will be applied to funding community programs such as Tina’s Angels and Richard’s Warriors, and may be a tax deduction to patrons. For tickets to the Gala, visit www.wacotheatercenter.com/events/gala