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once upon a time

A young woman named LaShonda found her purpose and calling through creating.  Business degree in tow, she lived many lives whether working retail or as a journalist or in fundraising or insurance, while art remained an important staple of her journey. Whether through classes at community college to study drawing and falling in love with charcoal and quick sketching, or tackling murals in some of her favorite neighborhoods, painting before a live audience or in the solace of the night, art found its way into her heart.

This is her artist story. 

Artist Statement:

I love exploring cultural norms, beauty and identity through words, images and community engagement.   I use painting, drawing and mixed media to dissect pretty privilege, ethnicity, gender roles, expectations and biases on canvases of all types including plates, wood, mirrors and fabric.



  • Painting quick post-Impressionist portraits based on photo and live references

  • Sketching quick life drawing images in public and private

  • Create custom illustrations, sketches and paintings based on client’s needs, budget and vision

  • Curating timely exhibits to create opportunities for myself and fellow emerging artists

  • Host arts and crafts workshops in southern Dallas as a form of art therapy and incubator of creativity with community partners


  • Best in Show, Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum Juried Art Show, Texas, March 2024

  • Denis Diderot Grant, Chateau D’Orquevaux Creative Residency, France, Oct 2023

  • CACHR Hall of Fame Inductee, Texas Feb 2023

  • Selected muralist for Deep Ellum Blues Alley, Texas, May 2022

  • Forest Theater Artist of the Month, Texas, Nov 2021

  • Best in Show, Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum Juried Art Show, Texas, March 2021

  • Recipient of Iota Phi Lambda Dorethea N. Hornbuckle Business Entrepreneur Award, Texas, April 2020

  • Recipient of Mayor’s Rising Star Council Bus Stop Project, Texas Jan 2019

  • Recipient of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Cultural Projects Funding Grant, Texas, Fall 2018


Group Exhibition:

  • Lenora Rolla Show, 400H Gallery, Fort Worth, Feb 2024

  • Small Works Show, 400H Gallery, Fort Worth, Nov 2023

  • Mayor’s Suite Exhibition, Dallas City Hall, March 2023

  • Hue, Msanii Hous, Dallas, July 2022

  • Respite, Pencil on Paper, Dallas, Feb 2022

  • Constuyendo La Paz Con El Lenguaje Del Arte, Illamar Galeria, Peru, Oct 2021

  • Tears: Weaponized, Devalued, Reconciled?, African American Museum, Dallas, March 2021

  • Hair Story: Myths, Magic and Methods of Black, African American Museum, Dallas, Nov 2020

  • As a Matter of Black: The Roaring 20’s, MUCE Campus Miami, Feb 2020

  • We the People, Mosesian Center for the Arts, Boston, Nov 2019

  • Identity, Oak Cliff Cultural Center, Dallas, Nov 2019

  • The Masks We Wear Community Exhibit, March 2019

  • Falling in Love with Me, Grand Prairie, Feb 2019

  • Salute Life Miami, WeWork Miami, Dec 2018

  • Art, Power, Respect, Ponchavelli Studio at Drawing Board, Richardson, Sept 2018

  • 100 for 100 Show, Fort Works Art, Sept 2018

  • Four Women Art Show, Brewing Arts Festival, Arlington, Sept 2018

  • Muses Art Show, TVAA Gallery, Dallas, Aug 2018

  • Art Conspiracy, Life in Deep Ellum, Dallas, June 2018 .


Two- Person Exhibition:

  • Sanctuary, St. Matthew’s Cathedral Arts, Jan 2022

  • Ownership Series, Babson College, Feb 2018 (with abstract artist Jamaal Eversley)

  • Coming of Age Art Show, Babson College, Hollister Gallery, Sept 2017 (with abstract artist Jamaal Eversley)



  • “Meet LaShonda Cooks,” CanvasRebel, July 2022

  • “Like father, like daughter: Pair Hosts First Joint Art Exhibit,” Spectrum News, March 2022

  • “Hair Story Grabs History by the Hair,” Dallas Observer, Dec 2020

  • “Hair Story Exhibit explores his Black Hair is more than mere follicles,” KERA, Dec 2020

  • “Artists Explore the Roots of Black Hair Culture,” D Magazine, Nov 2020

  • “From her beautiful stories to her pointillistic painting style. Meet artist LaShonda Cooks,”, Feb 2020

  • “An artist and an Entrepreneur,” Babson Thought & Action, Sept 2019

  • “Conversations with the Inspiring LaShonda Cooks,” Voyage Dallas, Jan 2019

  • “Native Dallas Artist Creating Positive Impact at Babson College,” Dallas Post Tribune, Oct 2017

  • “CityLine: Coming of Age,” WCVB, Sept 2017

  • “Alumni Joint Exhibition: A Coming of Age,”, Sept 2017

  • “Alumni LaShonda Cooks, Jamaal Eversley exhibit art at Babson College, Wicked Local, Sept 2017

  • “A Brush with Happiness,” Babson Magazine, August 2017

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