The mission of WiVLA is to provide an inspiring forum for women to explore and advance their creative development, to promote their work in the marketplace, and to infuse the community with their spirit of cooperation and invention.

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August 2014


Calendar of Events

Monday, August 11, at 6 p.m.
WiVLA Board Meeting
Sosa Community Center
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX  77055

Tuesday, August 19, at 6 p.m.
WiVLA Membership Meeting
Circle of Five Sharing Event
Museum of Printing History
1324 W. Clay Street
Houston, TX  77019

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit the WiVLA calendar online.

We're on Facebook!
Did you know WiVLA has a Facebook page?  We do, and we want you to LIKE us!


Our Facebook page is an excellent tool for informal communication among members.  Do you have a show coming up?  Post it on our page. Are you teaching a workshop or selling equipment?  Post it on our page. Do you have something to brag about or share?  Why not post it?


To find us on Facebook, click here, then LIKE us and post a greeting to all your WiVLA friends.

In This Issue

~ Picture from the Past

~ WiVLA News:  Stay informed.  Get involved.

~ A Look Ahead:  Exciting monthly meetings planned.

~ Announcements:  Who's doing what?

~ Review:  Orna Feinstein

~ Calls for Entry:  More opportunities than ever!

~ Quick Links:  Connect with the Houston arts community.

Picture from the Past

February 15, 2011:  Pattie Berg makes a point to Diana Meade and Vivian Blaha at a Circle of Five meeting.

If you have a photo that you would like to submit to Voices, please email it, along with an informative caption, to  We'd love to print it in our next issue!

A Note from Your President

Summer regards, WIVLA members,
My opening message for the month of August:  Make circles.  Circle your calendar.
The first circle should be August 19th.  The Circle of Five still remains a positive learning tool for all who are in attendance.  Breaking into groups of five women and sharing who we are resonates with the WiVLA voice.  We share our passions and the journeys we must follow to express the unique crafts we have chosen.  I encourage you to take part in our clever show and tell.
Find a mentor. Whatever you are trying to accomplish will become much easier if you follow those who have already accomplished it.  The mentor is the one who comes to shorten the distance.  (Rex Crane)  Bring a new friend to share with us!

Circle today -- make it the day that you visit our newly-redesigned web site.  While you're there, read the entire prospectus.   Become aware of how our November event is open to a variety of possibilities to exhibit in the warm, inviting  atmosphere of 18 Hands Gallery.
Make another circle.  Circle the target date that you will choose to enter your contribution to the VCR show.
Apply one more circle on October 11th, a Tuesday.  This will be your last chance to purchase that lucky raffle ticket. 
In closing, circle the third Tuesday of each month, 6 p.m.  Our roster of speakers is filled with dynamic women with unique stories.  You will benefit in many ways.

Be with those who help your well being.  (Rumi)
Warm wishes,
Cathy Nieman

Postscript --
August reading choice: The Painted Door Opened, Carolyn Dahl and Carolyn Florek
Vocabulary word: ekphrastic

Contribute to Voices

Are you participating in an exhibit or a reading?  Do you know of a cultural event that would be of interest to fellow WiVLA members?  Have you sold a sculpture or published a poem?  Let us know in our monthly newsletter. 

Posting an announcement in  the newsletter is your foremost method of reaching every WiVLA writer and artist.  Make Voices a part of your networking effort. 

The deadline for contributing to Voices is the twentieth of each month.  Simply send your contribution  We'll do our best to include your announcement!

 Judy Cassab (8/15/1920)

Dorothea Tanning (8/25/1910)


Isabel Allende (8/2/1942)

Dorothy Parker (8/22/1983)

Mary Shelley (8/30/1797)

I've Been Thinking

Dear readers,

I've been thinking about opportunity.

I've always thought of August as the month of "meh."  First of all, it's hot.  Then there's the whole back-to-school thing, which, when you're a kid in the Deep South, you reluctantly accept since it's really too hot to do anything else.  There are no holidays in August.  In my family?  Not even a birthday to celebrate. I can't find any leftover Fourth of July fireworks around the house -- not even a sparkler (believe me, I've looked).  My kind of movie never premieres in August, and I'm all caught up with House of Cards.  The summer reading list is dwindling, and I'm searching for new titles again.  The theater season is over a month away, and a trip to the beach is blistering.  Did I mention it's hot?

So it's hard for me to think of August as a month of opportunity.  But a scan of  this month's Voices quickly proves me wrong.  Allow me:
  • As a member of WiVLA, you can announce your efforts and achievements to an artistically diverse group of approximately 300 newsletter recipients each and every month.  I'd call that an opportunity in marketing/public relations, wouldn't you?
  • This month's Circle of Five meeting just might give you a chance to see some of your fellow members in a new or different light.  You'll be inspired by the work they do.  You'll probably provide some inspiration yourself.  My guess is that you'll leave the meeting feeling creatively challenged, energized, and ready to tackle your next project. 
  • You can increase your chances of winning a twentieth anniversary gift basket by purchasing a few more raffle tickets.  One ticket goes for less than the price of a cup of coffee.  And you win art.  Can't beat that with a stick.
  • You can be charitable.  Donate a piece of your own creation to the gift basket drive.  It's a bighearted thing to do, and you'll feel great doing it.
  • You can help make The VCR Showan exceptional event.  Enter a piece.  Or two.  Or three. 
  • There's been nothing but sweet, sweet buzz about the monthly Sketchbook Gathering.  Attend on the first Monday of the month and prepare to draw.  Productive andfun, am I right?
  • Start planning your proposal for next year's ECO Fund Award.  Wouldn't it be great to have some extra cash to dedicate to that idea you've been kicking around?  WiVLA is here to provide you with that chance.
  • Volunteer for one of two available board positions.  You'll make some wonderful friends while helping to lay the groundwork for WiVLA's future.
  • Support WiVLA by starting your shopping at  Online shopping is convenient, and this website makes donating to our organization a breeze.
  • When you think you're ready, enter one of the competitions listed in Calls for Entry.  Isn't that what Orna Feinstein would recommend?  Who knows -- maybe you're readynow.  Get your entry form in order and go for it!
That's ten -- count 'em, ten -- opportunities presented in this one newsletter alone.  August is so hot it's cool . . .

Your editor,
Cathy Lachin



Not  knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.
~ Emily Dickinson


We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work.
~ Thomas Edison

WiVLA News

   August Meeting:  Circle of Five
Join us for one of WiVLA's most popular events of the year, the Circle of Five meeting. 

Circle of Five is WiVLA's version of "show and tell," providing its artists and writers with a welcoming place to share their most recent work.  After the general business portion of the meeting, members break into groups of five.  Each member of every group then has the opportunity to present briefly a current project -- a painting or drawing in progress, a fragment of a story, a poem, a sketchbook or sculpture. 

What is so remarkable about Circle of Five is that it is not a critique session.  It's a wonderful occasion of introduction, revelation, conversation, and support.  If you thought you knew your fellow members, think again.  They're doing work that never fails to surprise, delight, and inspire.

So pack up your canvas or sketchpad, your manuscript or journal, your photography or your pottery, and join us on August 19.  You'll be glad you did.  

 Raffle Tickets Available at Next Meeting

The fun has begun!  Raffle tickets for WiVLA gift baskets, to be given away at the opening of The VCR Show, will be sold at the August, September, and October meetings. 

Here's a heads-up, though:  You might want to get in the game as early as possible; we predict a swift sellout!  Tickets are $1.00 each, or $10.00 for a book of ten.  You may purchase as many tickets as you like.  Cash or a check made out to WiVLA will be accepted (change will be available for cash purchases, but exact amounts are always preferable).  Because your contact information must be printed on each ticket, you may want to bring small address labels to expedite the process. 

For more information on the gift baskets, read on.  Remember, you need not be present to win!
We Need Your Gift Basket Donations! 
Wouldn't you love to own a piece of a fellow WiVLA member's work?  Or have a truly unique opportunity to promote your own creations? WiVLA's Twentieth Anniversary Planning Committee is pleased to announce its plans to create dazzling, art-centric gift baskets to be raffled off during our celebration on November 1, 2014.  We are currently soliciting donations fromour talented membership in order to fill the baskets.  Be imaginative -- any piece of your own creation is welcome, including 2D and 3D work in your choice of medium or media, photographs, books, altered books, chapbooks, framed or unframed pieces. 

So far, we have received prized contributions from Jo Zider, Shirl Riccetti, Marian Szczepanski, Linda Stelljes, Cornelia Amiri, Joyce Marie, Theo Billings, Jane Mulholland, and Anne Rita Taylor.  But we need more! Zita Giraldo has offered to lend her boundless talent to assembling the baskets (we plan to offer three -- small, medium, and large), so they are sure to be lovely.

You may bring any contributions to the WiVLA general meetings -- Cathy Lachin will happily collect them.  Gift baskets have been both highly coveted and immensely successful in the past, so scour your studios, ladies, for the perfect piece(s) to donate! 

The VCR Show:  Vision. Collaboration. Retrospection.


A Twentieth Anniversary Celebration 


The Twentieth Anniversary Planning Committee is pleased to announce that our celebratory exhibit will be held at 18 Hands Gallery, 19th Street in The Heights, on November 1, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.  Curators are Kellye Sanford (visual) and Karleen Koen (literary).

We encourage all current and prospective members to enter this very special show by going to  There you'll find a complete prospectus with links to online applications and payment options.  Entry is simple -- you can do it from the comfort of your easy chair in a matter of minutes!

And here's something interesting for all to know:  The VCR Show is not a themed exhibit.  This is truly an opportunity to exercise your creativity without the restriction of a particular subject.  So get started now, and enter those pieces that you've always wanted to share.  A twentieth anniversary is considered a platinum celebration -- this is your time to shine! 

For more about The VCR Show, including entry requirements and bios of our curators, click on the link above.  Any questions may be directed to Cathy Lachin


Sketchbook Gathering
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. 


Join your WiVLA friends as we sketch, journal, paint, etc., in our sketchbooks. We have enjoyed the camaraderie and sharing thus far, and always come away having learned something new.  

If you wish to work in the sketchbook from the Sketchbook Project, that's fine.  Or bring a sketchbook of your own or plain heavy paper for drawing.  Bring any supplies that will satisfy your sketching needs - pencils, pens, paints, markers, etc.  If you have a book or other resource you have found helpful, bring it along to share.

If you'd like to work toward a completed sketchbook to submit to the Sketchbook Project, we can provide information, or you can look up  We look forward to seeing you!
New WiVLA Website Up and Running!
We've been talking about it for quite some time now, and it's finally here.  WiVLA's redesigned website is officially unveiled!  The web address remains the same -- just search www.wivla.orgto view.  Many thanks to Kristine Rivers of West of the World for her technical expertise, her commitment to the project, her reliably quick turnaround time, and for truly understanding our vision for the site.  Please visit and let us know what you think.  

Looking for lively interviews:  While you're visiting the new site, please notice that there's a tab labelled "Featured Member."  If you click on it, you'll see that it says "Coming soon!"  Your newsletter editor is looking for members who will consent to an interview to be posted to this section.  WiVLA members are always curious to know more about one another -- who we are, where we're from, what we do, how and why we do it.   Why not be our first "Featured Member"?  To volunteer, just contact 

The ECO Fund Award:  Do You Know What It Is?

Mention the ECO Fund Award, and you're likely to see a few WiVLA members, both new and longtime, scratch their heads.  Perhaps the award doesn't get the press it deserves.  Maybe it's the name ("Does it have something to do with ecology?").  Whatever the reason, it's time to clarify, so here we go:

ECO stands for Educational and Cultural Opportunity. Each year in April, WiVLA gives two $1,000 awards -- one to an artist and one to a writer. All individuals who have been dues-paying members for two consecutive years are encouraged to apply. (Previous winners are ineligible.) Applications are first reviewed for consistency with WiVLA's mission and goals by a committee that includes previous ECO Fund award recipients. Then the names of two lucky members are drawn from the pool of qualified applicants at the April membership meeting. The application form is made available on the WiVLA website in early March.

Previous winners have used the award to attend classes and workshops, purchase equipment, improve their workspace, install community art, research books, travel, and more. Each recipients is asked to make a short presentation about the project that she completed as a result of the award at the following year's April membership meeting (if you win the award in 2014, you present in 2015).  Whether the presenter is a skilled orator or a nervous novice, she is always greeted warmly and supported by the genuine interest of her WiVLA sisters. 

The ECO Fund award has made a significant difference in the artistic lives of all the past winners. Now that you know more, please don't miss the chance to participate in next year's opportunity.
Be a part of our leadership team!  Remaining board opportunities include . . .
Historian and Communications Chair.  If you think you'd enjoy occasionally delving into the treasures that are WiVLA's archives or documenting any of our activities with a candid photo or two, then Historian is the job for you.  If you fancy yourself a fledgling PR whiz who enjoys promoting a worthy event by way of Houston's many media outlets, then you'd make the perfect communications chair.

Any interested party must be current on her WiVLA dues and must have been a member for at least one year.  The board meets on the second Monday of each month, excluding December, at 6:00 p.m., at the Trini Mendenhall Sosa Community Center on Wirt Road.  Our gatherings are friendly and lively, creative and insightful, energizing and productive.  If your talents and skills lend themselves to one of these positions, please contact any of the board members listed below.  Serving on the board is a wonderful opportunity to get to know other WiVLA members and to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way.  Let us hear from you!


A Look Ahead:  Exciting Monthly Meetings Planned

Thanks to our resolute Program Chair, Zita Giraldo, here are the programs that WiVLA members have to look forward to in the coming months
  • August:  Circle of Five meeting (members share their work in groups of five)
  • September:  Alicia Young, journalist and author of The Savvy Girl's Guide to Grace
  • October: Mary Lampe, Executive Director of Southwest Alternate media Project  (SWAMP)
  • November:  Twentieth Anniversary Literary Presentations
Join us for stimulating offerings by vibrant members of the Houston arts community.  You won't be disappointed!




~ SuzAnne C. Cole has had a productive first half of 2014 with short prose forthcoming or in Binnacle, Les Femmes Folles, Blotterature, short fiction on Sugar Mule’s facebook page, inCarnival Literary Magazine, and in Wild Literature, poetry accepted for June Cotner’s Prayers to Change the Earth, Whistling Skin’s anthology Poetry Saved My Life, The Texas Poetry Calendar 2015, and already published in The Shine Journal and Postcard Poem’s Haiku Haven. Another poem took second place in the Greater New Braunfels Arts Council’s competition. An essay was published in Pork Belly Press’s anthology Love Me, Love My Belly.

~ Karen Anne Smith is pleased to announce that all four pieces that she submitted for the Visual Arts Alliance Sixth Juried Invitational Exhibition were accepted into the show.  Juried byNicole Longnecker of Longnecker Gallery, the exhibition, located in the lobby at 1600 Smith Street, Houston, will hang from July 13 to August 23, 2014. Please feel free to drop by any time and take a look at some amazing art from local artists. Says Smith:  "I cannot believe I submitted 4 art pieces to be juried and 4 art pieces were selected for the event. This has never happened. PS. I am on cloud 9."

~ Two of Luisa Duarte's three entries were accepted into The Big Show at Lawndale Art Center.  The show runs through August 9.  Lawndale is located at 4912 Main and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Saturday, noon until 5 p.m.
Second Saturday Open Houses
The studios at Winter, Silver and Spring Streets are open on the second Saturday of each month from 2 to 5 pm. Join us August 9: Josena Arquieta, Margaret McElrath and Jane Mulholland at Spring Street; Luisa Duarte at Silver Street; Piyali Dasqupta, Cary Reeder, Janet Roe and Karen Smith at Winter Street. 

Review:  Orna Feinstein

In July, Orna Feinstein, an accomplished artist who lives and works in the Houston area, spoke candidly to WiVLA members about how best to submit their artwork while following the guidelines of a prospectus -- a timely and practical topic as WiVLA's twentieth anniversary show draws near.  

In addition to offering sage and crystal-clear advice to visual artists about the importance of entering competitions in the most efficacious way possible, Feinstein shared photos (both good and bad, calculatedly) of her distinctive, award-winning work.  As her bio states, Feinstein is "inspired and fascinated by the interior geometry of the organic -- the concentric patterns of tree rings or the cellular structure of a plant when observed under a microscope -- [which she] continues to investigate [by using] oil inks on various surfaces, such as fabric, paper and Plexiglas that she assembles or stitches together."  The results are truly one-of-a-kind, and WiVLA members were a sincerely appreciative audience.
If you missed Feinstein's presentation, she is represented by Anya Tish Gallery here in Houston.  More work and info is available at


Calls for Entry:  Visual Art


Inclusion in this list does not indicate endorsement by WiVLA. We recommend you research each contest, and contact the sponsor(s). 

Visual Arts Alliance 32nd Juried Membership Exhibition

  • Juror Dennis Nance
  • Submission Deadline: August 24, 2014 (midnight)
  • Eligibility: This juried exhibition is open to all members of the Visual Arts Alliance aged 18 and over and is produced by volunteers of the Visual Arts Alliance.
  • Awards & Catalog: More than $2,500 in cash and merchandise will be awarded. An exhibition catalog will be produced.
  • Fees and Entry Form:The entry fee is $40 for 1-4 entries.
  • Promotional CD: All submitted artwork will be placed on a custom-designed CD and hand-delivered to over 50 Houston-area galleries and art consultants
  • For prospectus and application: 

2014 WHAM Call for submissions- Due August 24

Deadline for submisions:  Sunday, August 24, 2014.  See for more information.

CAFE' for Artists! is a website that lists calls for entries nation-wide.  Descriptions of type of art and theme are listed, as is a link for more information.  Deadlines are included.




Calls for Entry:  Literary Art

Inclusion in this list does not indicate endorsement by WiVLA. We recommend you research each contest, and contact the sponsor(s). 
2014 Houston Writers Guild Fall Contest is open for submission!
  • Open to all writers, regardless of publishing status.
  • Winners will be announced at HWG's annual Fall Conference.
  • $75 prize awarded to first place in each category.
  • Deadline for entry is September 1.
  • For entry fees and more information, visit

The Texas Observer Short Story Contest 2014

The 2014 Texas Observer Short Story Contest is now open for submissions. The winner receives a check for $1,000 and publication in the magazine and online.

This year’s guest judge is Elizabeth McCracken, author of the recent story collection Thunderstruck (Random House) and Fiction Chair at the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. 

For more information, go to

WiVLA 2014 Board of Directors

President Cathy Nieman 
Vice President Jane Mulholland

Secretary Rona Lesser     

Treasurer Josena Arquieta
Membership Joyce Marie      

Communications [Open Position]
Programs Zita Giraldo      

Newsletter Cathy Lachin     

Visual Arts Theo Billings
and Luisa Duarte   


Literary Arts   Sandi Stromberg
and Maryann Gremillion   


Social Media Ima Oduok         

At-Large Cindy Rasche  

and Peggy Sexton   
Historian [Open Position] 

Our mailing address is:
Women in the Visual and Literary Arts (WiVLA)
P. O. Box 130406
Houston, TX  77219-0406