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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   December 2014



Calendar of Events

Monday, December 8, at 6 p.m.
WiVLA Board Meeting

Home of Vice President Jane Mulholland

No membership meeting in month of December

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

~ Introducing the 2015 WiVLA Board of Directors   

~ WiVLA News:  Exciting Literary Workshops

~ A Look Ahead:  January Program                
~ Announcements:  Who's doing what?

~ Calls for Entry:  More opportunities than ever!

~ Quick Links:  Connect with the Houston arts community.                     

Picture from the Past

From December 2010:  An impressive potluck feast.  Holiday cheer provided by WiVLA board members. 

A Note from Your President

I am WiVLA proud!
Our November endeavors were stellar.  We celebrated our 20th year with great enthusiasm, hard work, and talent.  The reception at 18 Hands Gallery was a warm-hearted, successful event.  The homecoming of tenured members and former presidents made us very happy.  They helped celebrate the memories of our journey.

This momentum carried on to the literary reception held at the Printing Museum.  Karleen Koen encouraged all of us with her opening presentation.  As one of the founding developers of WiVLA, she defined the purpose of this unique organization:  "Protect, nurture and grow."  She emphasized her criteria in jurying the written word, the writer's voice: 1. Was a leap of faith taken?  2. Was the work polished?   3. Was the written word overworked? (This element being the most problematic.)

"No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you." (Althea Gibson)

The volunteers who steadily worked in achieving our VCR Show are many.  I wish to especially thank Maggie Baldwin and Janice Smith for their photographic talent at our gala events.  They have helped chronicle our very special year.

"A great accomplishment shouldn't be the end of the road, just the starting point for the next leap forward." (Harvey Mackay)

The 2015 Board of Directors were elected by acclamation in November.  We are most appreciative of these women who will commit their time and energy to lead us forward in the new year.  Our journey will continue with the next chapter.  Our 21st year will begin.

In closing, "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful, and don't forget to make some art, write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself." (Neil Gaiman)

With the fondest of wishes for WiVLA's next chapter and new year,
Your President,
Cathy Nieman

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 to  We'll do our best to include your announcement!


 Helen Frankenthaller

Emily Dickinson

Jane Austen

I've Been Thinking

Dear readers,

I've been thinking about gratitude.

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone.  Chances are, we're as stuffed as the birds that graced our dinner tables.  I, for one, am full.  Of fine Southern cooking.  Good wine.  Pie.  Football.  More pie.

And gratitude.  I'm full of gratitude for the members of WiVLA -- all of them, from 1994 to the present -- for sustaining an organization worthy of November's twentieth anniversary celebrations.  And what celebrations they were!  It's safe to say, based on the attendance at both 18 Hands Gallery and The Printing Museum, that The VCR Show was a smashing success.  And I would be remiss if I didn't properly thank those who contributed to that success.  Please indulge me as I acknowledge the following persons for their contributions of time, talent, gathering spaces, food, drink, financial support, and genuine encouragement.  Many, many thanks to the WiVLA Board of Directors, and especially to:
  • The Twentieth Anniversary Planning Committee:  Cathy Nieman, Lane Devereux, Jane Mulholland, Cori Austin, Zita Giraldo, and Lillian Tharp
  • Visual Co-Chairs Luisa Duarte and Theo Billings
  • Literary Co-Chairs Sandi Stromberg and Maryann Gremillion
  • Every brave artist and writer who entered the show
  • Everyone who bought a raffle ticket
  • Membership Chair Joyce Marie
  • Social Media Chair Ima Oduok
  • Photographers Janice Smith and Maggie Baldwin
  • Visual Curator Kellye Sanford
  • Literary Curator Karleen Koen
  • Katy McKinin, Betsy Evans, and Karen Cruce of 18 Hands Gallery
  • Charles Criner and Mark Osbourne III of The Printing Museum
  • Kristine Rivers of West of the World
  • Nancy Michon, Graphic Designer
  • Eileen Collins of Liberty Mutual
  • Silvestre Ontiveros of Multigraphics
  • Cas Werner of CAS Graphics
  • Kellie Foltz of Sweetly Scrumptious
  • Kendall Mcdermott of Whole Foods
  • A generous donor of wine and flowers who prefers to remain anonymous
  • All those who helped me load and unload my car countless times.  You and your backs know who you are.  My thanks and my apologies.
Finally, I'd like to thank the guests who attended both events.  There's nothing like a room full of folks standing shoulder to shoulder, sharing in food, drink, and conversation, connecting in friendship and meaningful memories.  I think the smiles I witnessed and the glowing remarks I heard (and overheard) at each event indicate that a good time was had by all.  I hope that's true.  I hope WiVLA continues to celebrate its history, support its mission, and pave an innovative path to the future.  I hope every one of my readers has a beautiful holiday season and experiences a new year of health, happiness, prosperity, and creative inspiration and productivity.

And I hope I didn't forget to thank anyone. 
Your editor, in sincere gratitude,
Cathy Lachin
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a
spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Albert Schweitzer
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

William Arthur Ward

WiVLA News


Announcing WiVLA's 2015 Board of Directors
Those present at the November 18 membership meeting approved, with a vote by acclamation, the following slate of candidates for the 2015 Board of Directors:
Jane Mulholland, President

Cori Austin, Vice President

Josena Arquieta, Treasurer

Alicia Young, Secretary

Sandi Stromberg and Maryann Gremillion, Literary Co-Chairs

Jo Zider and Peggy Sexton, Visual Co-Chairs

Zita Giraldo, Programs

Cornelia Amiri, Newsletter Editor

Ima Oduok, Communications/Social Media

Linda Ann Stelljes, Membership

Lillian Tharp and Theo Billings, At-Large

When you see these women, please remember to thank them for their dedication to the leadership of our very special organization. 




And the winners are . . .

Three lucky women were over the moon when their names were drawn from over 600 raffle ticket stubs at the opening of The VCR Show at 18 Hands Gallery on November 1.  Congratulations to Lillian Tharp, Cathy Nieman, and Katy McKinin (who bought one -- that's right -- one ticket).  We hope you enjoy each and every treasure within.

Workshops to Start the New Year Creatively

In early 2015, WiVLA offers four writing workshops for writers and artists alike. You can sign up now for these tantalizing opportunities to get the new year off to a creative start. We’re encouraging women interested in the organization to sample WiVLA offerings at a slightly higher price, but the extra $10 can be applied to membership.

Letting in the Light: Writing the Creative Non-Fiction Essay
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Saturday, January 23, 9 a.m.-noon
Members: $45; Non-Members: $55

In this three-hour workshop, we will discuss the genre of non-fiction, specifically the craft of writing the small, personal, creative non-fiction essay. This form has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity lately, appearing in magazines, websites, journals, blogs, anthologies and newspapers. Some of the most widely read examples are published in the "Modern Love" and "Lives" sections of the New York Times, and we will be looking carefully at the craft of stories in these sections to see what makes them tick. In class, we will develop ideas and beginnings of our own essays and discuss the ways in which they might reach the reader. Writers of all genres and levels of expertise are welcome. 
Max Regan, M.F.A., is a teacher, an internationally published poet and writer, and the founder of Hollowdeck Press LLC. Max’s first volume of poetry, Faithless,” was published in 1996, “All’s Faire” in 1997, and “Harbour,” in 1999. Max’s newest anthology of poems, Take,” was published in 2005. He has taught poetry and writing to various groups and has worked as a writing coach for the past 15 years, in addition to working as a journalist and columnist for publications around the country. Max has taught and lectured at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Rose Medical Center and at Naropa University, as well as offering weekend workshops in Winter Park, CO, Houston, TX, Seattle, WA and Baltimore, MD.

Creative Collage and Writing from Your Wild Heart
Wild Heart Art, 909 Harvard (Houston Heights)
Saturday, March 27, 1-4 p.m.
Members: $45; Non-Members: $55
Materials Fee: $10

Join other women in a fabulous afternoon of creativity, connecting art with heart and writing. You will be guided and supported in creating a unique collage amid a wonderful array of handmade papers, fibers, collectibles and embellishments. Dive in and express your wild heart. Previous art experience is not necessary.
Delight in the fertile ground of going from art to story with your collage becoming the springboard for your writing expression. Let the creative juices flow as your poem or story takes flight.
No need to bring anything but an open heart. 
Facilitated by Kay Kemp, creativity coach and artist. Kay is founder of Wild Heart Art in Houston, where she guides others in finding their true voices of self-expression. Her programs lead participants to explore and experience their own creativity in new ways as they open to the joy and healing creativity brings.
Kay's love of paint and paper are evident in her work, which has been displayed, collected, and published in venues throughout the world. Many of her pieces include images and symbols along with an appreciation for the spiritual and creative power of women. Often Kay's work is described as healing and inspirational. 

Stock, Spices and a Pinch of Arsenic: A Recipe for Flash Fiction
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Saturday, April 11, 9 a.m.-noon
Members: $45; Non-Members: $55

Flash fiction, story-telling in less than 500 words, is particularly well-suited to the short-attention span of the digital age. In this workshop, you will experiment with a basic recipe for generating shamelessly punchy first drafts. You will work individually and as a group to produce several first drafts and develop one or two into complete stories. The emphasis will be on experimentation and creativity. You will also receive specific information on how and where to publish your stories in the digital world.
Marie-Pierre Stien is a writer and illustrator living in Houston, Texas. You can read her flash fiction at  or visit her site at

Untamed City: Exploring the City and Nature in Poetry
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Saturday, February 21, 9 a.m.-noon
Members: $45; Non-Members: $55
Our cities and suburbs exist in, and on top of, nature. Yet no matter how urban our experience may seem, the city intersects with nature in ways that may surprise your imagination. Have you ever been stopped at a traffic light and started daydreaming about the birds overcrowding the overhead electric lines? Have you considered how your experience of a storm is changed when you view it from inside an office building or in your backyard?
In this workshop, we will use writing models and an art activity, to produce lyric, narrative, and prose poems that explore how the city colors our experience of nature.
Facilitated by Rebecca Spears, a writer and instructor in Houston, Texas. She is the author of The Bright Obvious;  her poems and essays appear in a number of journals, most recently Crazyhorse, TriQuarterly, Relief, and Texas Poetry Calendar 2015.
To register for any of these workshops, click here:
If you have questions, email your Literary Co-Chairs at!




Sketchbook Gathering

                                                                                                                                                                                    (art by Nakira)

Monday, December 1, 2014
6 p.m. - 8
Trini Mendenhall Community Center
1414 Wirt Avenue (Spring Branch)
(just north of intersection of Wirt and Westview)
From member Cori Austin:  Join us as we gather with drawing tools and paper, technique suggestions, and helpful books to peruse.  If you want to participate in the Sketchbook Project (some of us are doing so), here is their website:  For those new to sketching, there are a variety of books that provide hints.  Also, a new online class called Sketchbook Skool began in early October for anyone who would like to take the course. ( )  I took this course this summer and learned so much.  I am currently doing the second in their series.

Bring the supplies you find most comfortable.  I have had many summer sketchbook opportunities, and would like to discuss places we could meet and new techniques we can try.  See you soon!


Looking for Lively Interviews


While you're visiting WiVLA's newly-redesigned website,, please notice 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. To volunteer, just contact newsletter@wivla.orgClick here to read our profile of member Dodie Meeks:



A Look Ahead:  A New Year, New Programs

For your scheduling convenience: 
  • December:  No membership meeting.
  • January 20, 2015:  Mark Osbourne III, Executive Director of The Printing Museum, will discuss the museum's history, its recent re-branding, and its vision for the future.
Join us in the coming year for stimulating offerings by vibrant members of the Houston arts community.  You won't be disappointed!




~ Cornelia Amiri will be at Author's Day at Maud Marks Library in Katy, Texas, on Saturday, December 6. The event is from 1:00-5:00. Categories include picture books, leveled readers, children's non-fiction, chapter books, middle grade, YA, and novelty/pop-up books. Cornelia will be there reading from her young adult medieval fantasy romance, Prince Of Powys. There will be a meet-and-greet and an area for selling and signing.

~ Little Scrooge, adapted by Patricia Barry Rumble from the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, with original music by Rock Barry, will run through December 23, 2014, at Express Theatre.
In Rumble's version, an adolescent boy strikes it rich by inventing a popular phone app, but he loses sight of what really matters in life -- love and friendship. Visited by three ghosts of Christmas, Little Eben soon realizes the true meaning of the holiday. The show is suitable for all ages and recommended for pre-kindergarten and up.
All tickets are $10 each, $9 for seniors.  For groups of 10 or more, the price is $8 a ticket.  Call 713-682-5044 to make reservations

~ Marian Szczepanski will teach a fiction-writing workshop, Being Bad Has Never Been So Good: How to Create Awesome Antagonists, at Writespace Houston, Silver Street Studios #212, 2000A Edwards Street. Participants will meet on Saturday, December 6, 1-4 pm. The workshop is $25 and suitable for writers at all levels. To register, go to


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). 

~ Carol Andrews, Visual Arts Director for Newspring Visual Arts Studio, is looking for professional artists to volunteer in Spring Branch ISD middle and/or high school art classes, sharing what they do for a living.  The time required is only an hour to an hour and a half a year, and is determined by the artist's schedule.  For more details, email Carol at or click on

VAA Early-Bird Prospectus

32nd Juried OPEN Exhibition 
Available NOW

Enter by December 12 for $40 (members) or $50 (non-members).
Enter by January 2 for $50 (members) or $60 (non-members).
ALL entries will be on the promo CD VAA makes and distributes to galleries and consultants.
Exhibition dates: March 11, 2015 - April 11, 2015
Location: Williams Tower Gallery, 2800 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056
Juror: Sally Sprout

~ 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). 

Submission Call for Houston Nature, a Poetry Anthology

Mutabilis Press is seeking well-crafted and imaginative poems about Houston's unique nature -- both the persistence of the natural world in spite of its growing, urban sprawl and poems about the nature of Houston itself as a bustling modern city of landscapes:  its climates, arts, cultures, ethnicities, neighborhoods and challenges, poems that define a complex city.

Poems must touch on some aspect of the theme, which has a broad interpretation.  Mutabilis is open to traditional and experimental forms, as well as diverse cultures and voices.

Mutabilis Press will only accept submissions through Submittable, their online submissions manager.  No submissions by mail or email, please.  The submittable link can be found on the press' website:  www.mutabilispress.orgSubmissions accepted now through March 31, 2015.                                                                                             

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