December 2013


WiVLA's Mission:
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.



Board Bites
WiVLA News
Reviews: Margaret McElrath; Archway Readers
Cafe Table
Announcements and Upcoming Events
Calls for Entries: Visual and Literary Arts
Calendar of Events

          A Note from Your President

Holiday regards WIVLA Women,

The miracle of December weaves the magic of brotherhood.
It fills hearts with peace and causes a weary world to pause ,
to remember and to hope.

I send fondest thoughts of gratitude and admiration to my 2013 Board of Directors, my Advisory Board and the remarkable creative women of our organization. We have made great strides. We are sharing, learning and laughing together in great solidarity. 
I am honored to have led this unique group of talented individuals.

Let us continue to caress our artistry with a soulful spirit and a wistful passion.
May we continue to go forward and explore the magical world of invention and creative thought together.
It is a most unique journey.
Sending all good wishes for this season,
Your president,
Cathy Nieman
Cathy Nieman Head Shot

                                       I've Been Thinking . . .                                                      
Dear readers: 

I've been thinking:  Many years ago (let's call it 27), I worked as a technical writer/editor in a business owned by women and staffed by women.  We were a busy bunch -- ambitious, focused, disciplined, intellectually curious -- with a growing clientele.  Only one problem:  It was a humorless office.  No levity.  No kidding around.  No watercooler wit.  Not even a lame knock-knock joke.  Seriously . . . we were way too serious.

Now, I know women can be funny.  I direct your attention to Sarah Silverman, Rita Rudner, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett.  But it seems to me that, more often than not, we women need to give ourselves permission to lighten things up.  I could go deep into my theories about that, but who wants to read a stuffy treatise?  I'm trying to keep things light here. 

Anyway, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  One day, I brought a dry erase board to the office.  I stuck it to the side of a file cabinet in a back room and wrote This can't be happening to me!  I [fill in the blank] at the top.  I explained to the other women that they should fill in the blank with something brief, unexpected, surprising, and a little bit true -- in other words, something funny.  I wanted to see a different joke each day. 

The boss said "Hmmph."  The receptionist said "OK" and went back to answering the phone.  The proofreader said "I get it" and wrote "floss daily" in the blank.  This can't be happening to me!  I floss daily!  We both chuckled.  She did get it.  She deserved  better pay.

The board became pretty popular, but not in the way that I had hoped.  For every This can't be happening to me!  I'm a vegan! there was a This can't be happening to me!  I'm a taxpayer!  Flat, flat, flat.

So I decided to try a different, less fatalistic approach, one in which permission to be funny, immodest, assertive, and, dare I say, a little bit powerful was inherently granted.  I erased the original line (the one that was going over like a lead balloon) and replaced it with I deserve [fill in the blank] because I'm freakin' awesome. 

It worked.  In fact, the results were freaking awesome.  These women were participating.  We weren't exactly a shy bunch to begin with, but it seemed as though we were now more bold, outspoken, interesting, and yes, funny, than ever before.  Responses ranged from I deserve applause when I walk into a room because I'm freakin' awesome to I deserve a wage adjustment in an upward direction . . .     You see what I mean.

My point is this:  All of us are in the midst of what should be a joyous holiday season.  But preparations, social gatherings, and family demands can be stressful.  This reminiscence is just my long-winded way of saying that we women, over the next few weeks -- heck, every day -- should give ourselves permission to kid a little, laugh, tell a joke.  We deserve it.  We're awesome.

Cheers to you and yours during this special season,
Cathy Lachin


Board Bites:  November WiVLA Board Meeting


20th Anniversary Celebration

Planning for an exciting twentieth anniversary show and reception continues!  Find more news below.


Slate of Nominees for 2014 Board 


The Nominating Committee has been hard at work recruiting candidates for open board positions.  See the results of their efforts in the News section.   


WiVLA Market 

We've been talking about it for years, and, now, with your participation, it will be a reality.  Many thanks to board members Jane Mulholland and Theo Billings!  

Exciting Programs
Your board has been brainstorming!  Look forward to month after month of stimulating programs in 2014.  As always, your suggestions for vibrant speakers are welcome.    


WiVLA Membership Approves 2014 Board
At the general meeting on November 19, Cori Austin, chair of the Nominating Committee, presented the candidates for the 2014 Board of Directors.  The slate included:  Cathy Nieman, returning president; Jane Mulholland, returning vice president; Rona Lesser, returning secretary; Josena Arquieta, treasurer; Zita Giraldo, program chair; Joyce Marie, membership chair; Sandy Wells, returning communications chair; Theo Billings, returning visual co-chair; Mary Baker (returning) and Tayyba Kanwal, literary co-chairs; Ima Odouk, social media chair; Cathy Lachin, returning newsletter editor; Cindy Rasche (returning) and Peggy Sexton, at-large.  Nominees were unanimously approved by the membership.  Positions that remain open include visual co-chair and historian, and the Nominating Committee hopes to fill them quickly.  The board meets on the second Monday of each month, with goals to uphold WiVLA's mission, to maintain fiscal responsibility, and to provide exciting opportunities for its members.  


Sketchbook Gathering





6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. 


Join your WiVLA friends as we sketch, journal, paint, etc., in our sketchbooks. The gatherings thus far have been fun, relaxing, informative, inspiring, fruitful, thoughtful, humorous, generous, safe, adventurous, supportive . . .


Please join us Monday the 2nd.  If you choose to work in your sketchbook, that's fine.  If you want to use a different sketchbook or create on plain, separate papers, by all means, bring those.


If you'd like to work toward a completed sketchbook to submit to the Sketchbook Project, we will be happy to supply you with information regarding that.  Here's a helpful link:   


According to their website, "The Sketchbook Project is a global, crowd-sourced art project and interactive, traveling exhibition of handmade books. [Their] mission is to allow anyone to be able to participate in art and to create a collection of work that represents the current state of artists worldwide."


AND DON'T EVEN SAY, "BUT, I'M NOT AN ARTIST."  Because we have people from all kinds of backgrounds in our community -- poets, novelists, essayists, painters, sculptors, photographers.   We use the word "sketchbook" as a loose term for a record of our experimentation in creativity. Join tens of thousands of people in this global, traveling art library.


Just bring your supplies and a willingness to have fun breathing artsy air. We always come away with smiles on our faces.  Se y'all on the road!  



WiVLA Market!


 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2013   10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.




The rumors are true, women of WiVLA!  You now have the opportunity to shop for unique, keepsake holiday gifts at the first annual WiVLA Market.  Invite friends and family to join you as you browse a singular collection of paintings, photographs, books and jewelry created by fellow members.

There were 24 tables available for rent at the market, and they were snatched up quickly by enterprising creatives.  To inquire about the possibility of remaining tables, please e-mail Jane Mulholland at the address below. 

Let's support our fellow writers and artists with an impressive attendance on the 7th!   



Gift Baskets in the Works for Twentieth Anniversary Celebration!

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 in March of 2014.  Details about ticket sales will be forthcoming, but, in the meantime, we are soliciting donations from our 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.  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. 

Glenda Araiza with Art Movement Art Gallery has graciously allowed us to drop off our donations at her location in Memorial City Mall (in the wing between Dillard's and Camille La Vie) during regular business hours. Glenda will keep a record of all donations, and your pieces will be safe and secure. You may also bring any contributions to the January and February general meetings.  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! 

Liberty Mutual Comes Through for WiVLA Again


Last year, Eileen Collins, a Liberty Mutual insurance agent, made WiVLA a generous offer. For every member that asked for an insurance quote, her company would make a donation to our treasury. The members who took her up on the offer were pleasantly surprised to find that Liberty Mutual's rates were extremely competitive; many switched their insurance as a result. Reports from individuals who, unfortunately, have had to make claims are that Liberty Mutual has been responsive and easy to work with on all aspects of the process. This program was very beneficial for the WiVLA members who participated.


Now Eileen has made another generous offer to our organization. She invited WiVLA to join their affinity program and, after review, the board has accepted the offer. By participating in the Liberty Mutual affinity program, WiVLA is now eligible to apply for grants from them for special projects. 


In addition, we have secured exclusive group savings for our members of up to 10% off their insurance bill. Since doing business with them already means competitive rates, quality auto and home coverage, plus 24-hour claims assisiance, after-hours policy service, and 24-hour home repair services, getting a discount is a great bonus. 


If you want to take advantage of WiVLA's affinity relationship with Liberty Mutual, simply contact Eileen Collins at 281-320-1181 ext. 59053 or by cell phone at 832-248-7445. Like so many other WiVLA members, you will probably get a very pleasant surprise.



Reviews:  Margaret McElrath; Archway Readers  

Our speaker at the November general meeting was Margaret McElrath, who related her experience as assistant director for the 1989 Clay Stomp, a Peace Through Art project sponsored by Clay:  A Healing Way.  The Clay Stomp event was a dream of Joel Pfeiffer, an artist and teacher in Hartland, Wisconsin.  In her relaxed, affable way, McElrath explained how 5,000 Americans gathered on the shore of Lake Michigan to celebrate community, stomp clay, and create a mural filled with ideas of peace and friendship to give to the people of Leningrad.  The story of the resulting mural, and Leningrad's reciprocation, is a prime example of how art can be used to transcend language and cultural differences.  To illustrate her presentation, McElrath showed a 30-minute, award-winning PBS special filmed on the site of the projects in Milwaukee and Leningrad.  WiVLA members in attendance were duly impressed by the mission of Clay Stomp, and a brief but lively Q & A period followed the film.  Our thanks go out to Laura Pena, program chair, for bringing us yet another fascinating speaker.

Later in the week, on Thursday, the 21st, nine WiVLA writers shared their talents with an appreciative audience at the Archway Readers event held at the eponymous gallery on Dunlavy.  For almost two hours, with a brief intermission, these women shared memoir, lyric and personal essays, haibun, sonnet and villanelle, a novel excerpt, free verse, plenty of laughter, and a tear or two.  Brave readers included Leigh Owen, Mary Baker, Meloni Davis, Cori Austin, Cathy Lachin, Jane Mulholland, Kimberly Barone, Gladys Mae Bullock, and Pat Morgan.  Mary Baker, literary co-chair, deserves our gratitude for staging this event.   

Cafe Table  


This section of Voices is reserved for original, previously unpublished literary submissions from WiVLA members.  If you have a short piece, either poetry or prose, that you'd like to submit, feel free to e-mail it as a Word document to newsletter@wivla.org with Cafe Table in the subject line.  We'll make every effort to run your work.     


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. 



Congratulations to Marguerite "Maggie" Baldwin!  For the first time, she was juried into JoMar Visions Studio, 902 Hardy, for Art Crawl 2013.  The event was held on Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24.  If you missed Maggie then, you will find her at the WiVLA Market on December 7. 

Marian Szczepanski, debut author of the novel Playing St. Barbara, participated in an Indies First event in association with Small Business Saturday.  The event was held at Blue Willow Bookshop, 14532 Memorial, on Saturday, November 30, from noon until 3:00.   

Tayyba M. Kanwal's short story, "Mailee and the Saint of Horses," from which an excerpt was read at the WiVLA Earth/Energy: Through Women's Eyes exhibition, appears in the Fall 2013 issue of Quarterly West journal.  Read this fable of a potter's girl and the blind saint she loves here: 
Kudos to Tayyba!  
As the winner of the 2013 WiVLA Literary Scholarship, Anne Rita Taylor attended the Mayborn Literary Conference.  Anne has written a Zine about her participation in the Conference and submitted the Zine to another contest:  Art Exchange Program Zine Grant.  The winner receives 100 copies of their Zine plus $150.  You can read about Anne's Zine submission about the WiVLA Scholarship online at:
 Would you like to post an announcement? Send your e-mail
by the 20th of the month to newsletter@wivla.org.



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


CaFE' for Artists!


CallForEntry.org 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.



2014 National Exhibition of Traditional Oils Call for Entry

Oil Painters of America will hold its Twenty-third Annual National Exhibition of Representational Oil Paintings, June 7 throuogh July 27, 2014 at Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, Vermont.

Approximately 30 awards will be given with a total value estimated in excess of $75,000, including a $25,000 Best of Show.  Juror of Awards is renowned artist Charles Movalli.  A full-color catalog will be available. 

Deadline for mailed-in slide submissions is January 31, 2014.  Deadline for online submissions is Februrary 7, 2014.

To enter, artists must reside in the U.S., Canada or Mexico and be a current member of OPA at an annual fee of $60.  OPA is currently accepting members for 2014.  Join now and receive the rest of 2013 for free.

National Exhibition entry fee:  $30 for the first entry, $15 for the second.  Maximum size unframed:  1200 square inches.  Please send your request for a prospectus in a SASE to:  Oil Painters of America, P.O. Box 2488, Crystal Lake, IL  60039-2488 or visit the website at

Looking for a Volunteer

Goldberg Towers, an apartment residence for the elderly and disabled, needs a volunteer to teach fused glass.  If you are interested, please contact Rona Lesser at ronales@wt.net. 


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


Here's a tip from poet Catherine Rankovic:  "If you wish somebody would keep you up to date on the latest publishing and contest opportunities, the Yahoo Group Creative Writing Opportunities, edited and updated daily by poet Alison Joseph, is a must-see.  You don't have to do a thing but go there.  No signing in, discussions, donations, or anything:  Just postings with the info you want about first-book contests, poetry contests, fiction contests, online magazines seeking writers for theme issues, residencies, creative-writing jobs, and grants.  Most of the time with direct links to the source so you can obtain complete information.  You can subscribe to the postings or you can just bookmark it and go there when you feel the need.  I visit about once per week. "   


Here's the URL:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crwropps-b



Seeking strong poems of human experience and personal reactions: 
Good-bye, Mexico:  Poems of Remembrance will be a poetry anthology of original work composed in response to the following question:  What do you remember about Mexico?    Publisher:  Texas Review Press                      Editor:  Sarah Cortez
Submission guidelines:  





Monday, December 9 at 6 p.m.

WiVLA Board Meeting  

Sosa Community Center

1414 Wirt Road

Houston, TX77055 


Tuesday, January 21 at 6 p.m.

WiVLA Membership Meeting 

Speaker: TBA

Museum of Printing History

1324 West Clay


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

WiVLA 2013 Board of Directors


President                     Cathy Nieman             wivla.cathyniem@yahoo.com

Vice President            Jane Mulholland          mulholland.jane@gmail.com

Secretary                    Rona Lesser                  ronales@wt.net


Treasurer                    Pattie Berg                    jewelry@sapamojo.com  

Membership               Cori Austin                    artjournal50@gmail.com

Communications       Sandy Wells                  sandy@sandywellsart.com  



Programs                    Laura Pena                   iselapena@hotmail.com

Newsletter                  Cathy Lachin                newsletter@wivla.org

Visual Arts                  Theo Billings                  visual@wivla.org 

Literary Arts                Mary Baker                    literary@wivla.org   


At-Large                     Cindy Rasche                cindyrasche@yahoo.com


Historian                     Cathy Lachin                 cplachin@yahoo.com          

Past President            Lane Devereux             lanedev@comcast.net  

A complete list of 2014 board members and their contact information will appear in the January 2014 issue of Voices.

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