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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 February 2015



Calendar of Events

Because of the Board Retreat there will be no
WiVLA Board Meeting in February.

The next WiVLA Board meeting will be
Monday, March 9 at 6 PM
Trini Mendenhall Community Center
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX  77055

Monday, February
 2 at 6 PM
WiVLA Sketchbook Group
Trini Mendenhall Community Center
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX 77055


Tuesday, February 17 at 6 PM

WiVLA Member Meeting
Artist Mari Omori

Tuesday, March 17 at 6 PM
WiVLA Member Meeting
Artist Margaret Smithers Crump

Tuesday, April 21
WiVLA Member Meeting
2014 ECO Fund Winners: 
Jo Zider and Catherine Lachin

Tuesday, May 19
WiVLA Member Meeting
WiVLA Scholastic Gold Key Award Winners

The Printing Museum
1324 W. Clay Street
Houston, TX  77019

Saturday, February 21, 9 AM to Noon
"Untamed City: Exploring the City and Nature in Poetry" Rebecca Spears
Registration required


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

~ Pictures from the VCR Show Opening

~ WiVLA News:  Stay informed.  Get involved. ~ ~ Read our new column: The WiVLA Diary

~ Writing Workshops for 2015:  Sign up now!

~ A Look Ahead:  New programs for 2015.                
~ Announcements:  Who's doing what?

~ Calls for Entry:  More opportunities than ever!

~ Quick Links:  Connect with the Houston arts community.  

Pictures from the VCR Show Opening

         18 Hands Gallery, November 1, 2014  

Margo Davis and Literary Co-Chairs Sandi Stromberg and Maryann Gremillion


Visual Juror Kellye Sanford and Donna Durbin at opening of VCR Show at 18 Hands Gallery

Artists June Russell, Becky Soria and Piyali Sen Dasgupta

A Note from Your President

February 2015
One year I made a New Year’s resolution to learn jokes. I must have told everyone, because by February I knew many jokes. None of them were jokes I wanted to repeat. Some were incomprehensible, some were ok but not great, and others were plain raunchy.  My life as a comedian never began.  After that year I quit making New Year’s resolutions. I realized that when I resolve, I often fail. But when I ask questions, the world opens in ways I can’t predict.

“Do you want to go to the movies?” I asked my fourteen year old grandson as we were shopping for clothes in the after-Christmas sales. He was spending the night with us.

“Yes, let’s go see The Hobbit.”

“Sounds like a plan. Let’s go after dinner,” I replied, knowing Grandpa would stay home. Although I agreed to go, I expected to be bored and perhaps frightened with all the warring. When Smaug appeared on the screen, I was smitten – love at first sight. It was two days before the New Year and gave me my first questions for 2015:  How can I step out of the box of my usual experience and do something different? Or do something I think I won’t like?

Looking at the year ahead and devising a creative path fits the question of doing things that I haven’t done in the past.  The writing workshops that WiVLA has planned (see details in this newsletter) will help. Our Literary Co-Chairs, Maryann Gremillion and Sandi Stromberg, have kicked up a lot of literary dust to get us sharpening our pencils and our wits to do some writing. And remember:  You don’t have to be a writer to attend any of these workshops.
On January 24, I attended the first workshop on writing non-fiction where Max Regan challenged us not to be perfect: “Perfect is the enemy of done.” (While "perfect" definitely does not fit me, sometimes trying to be perfect does.) He said writing non-fiction is the acknowledgment that your life matters and reminded us that we all have unique experiences that no one else has had. “Until you do it – it hasn’t been done!” The workshop was supportive and inspiring, but also practical as he showed us how to develop, improve, and enhance our writing. This was a stellar workshop to begin our series, and I encourage you to sign up for the others before they are filled.
As for challenges this year, WiVLA is at the top of my list.  By the time you read this, the WiVLA Board will just have had their annual retreat putting plans into motion for the year. Next month I will give you a full report of what we are planning. One thing that is new in the newsletter this month is a cartoon by member Dorothy Colp. With the horrific events that took place in Paris in early January, there has been a lot of attention given to satire and cartoon art – sequential art. With Dorothy’s promise to be our official “WiVLA Cartoonist” we have what many daily newspapers no longer have – our own in-house cartoonist. And you did read that right – most newspapers no longer employ a cartoonist to develop the paper’s editorial opinions visually. A huge loss for those who still read papers!

You will also see a new column in this newsletter: The WiVLA Diary. Here we ask you to report on your experiences with WiVLA and share them. 

Our Visual Co-Chairs Peggy Sexton and Jo Zider ask again to let them know at if you have print making experience. Also, they have been collaborating with our literary co-chairs, and while currently that might seem like a conspiracy, it is merely a plan in the making that we hope to reveal soon.

As I learn more about how to drive MailChimp, I will also promise to leave Cathy Lachin alone to work on her writing. She deserves a rest and has done considerable heavy lifting for WiVLA over the last two years. And speaking of Cathy, we look forward to her presentation, along with Jo Zider’s, at our April meeting when they report back to us on how they used the money they won in the 2014 ECO Fund.

Also, with Cathy Lachin’s assistance, I am doing the newsletter this month. The great news is that we have a new newsletter editor, Harriet Riley, who is an accomplished writer and has done newsletters for other organizations in the past. When I asked her to join the board as newsletter editor she said, “That is really right up my alley.” (Cornelia Amiri, who had agreed to be editor, had to resign due to work commitments.)

A question for all of us: What can WiVLA do to better serve our creative needs? It is helpful to the board members to hear from you. For example, our Program Chair, Zita Giraldo, is always looking for ideas for our monthly meetings. Your ideas are welcome as we plan the year. The newsletter is the place for you to let other members know what you are doing, but you are our reporters, and if you don’t tell us about your exhibit or your new book, you have only yourself to blame. All news can be sent to, and the deadline each month is the 20th.

The last question this month is: How do you want to get more involved in WiVLA this year?  I think the more the merrier, and we hope to increase your participation in a variety of ways. But in the end, it really is up to you. The board is open to new ideas, and we can help you be as active in WiVLA as you would like to be. I know everyone is busy, and over and over I think of the line in Priscilla Frake's poem from the VCR Show in November: “Even my chores have chores.” Mine also, but how much more exciting are the chores when we are building something together! 

Jane Mulholland


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 bes
t to include your announcement!


Elizabeth Bishop:   February 8, 1911

Kate Chopin:          February 8, 1850

Carson McCullers: February 19, 1917

Toni Morrison:        February 18, 1931

Gertrude Stein:       February 3, 1874

Amy Tan:                 February 19, 1952

Alice Walker:          February 9, 1944
Dulah Marie Evans:           February 17, 1875

Paula Modersohn-Becker: February 8, 1876

Joan Mitchell:                     February 12, 1925

Gabriele Munter:               February 19, 1877

Veronica Ruiz Velasco:      February 1968

Augusta Savage:                 February 29, 1892

Harriet Riley

Our New Newsletter Editor
The WiVLA Board is pleased to announce the addition of Harriet Riley to the board as Newsletter Editor. She will begin as editor in the March edition of WiVLA Voices. As one of our newer members, we are pleased she has agreed to undertake this crucial role.

Riley is a free-lance writer focusing on creative nonfiction. She has published several articles in Teachers & Writers Magazine. She recently had a personal essay in Mississippi magazine and had a short piece selected for publication with Telling Our Stories Press.

Before moving to Houston in 2007, Riley taught undergraduate writing classes at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. She has also worked as a non-profit director, hospital marketing director, and newspaper reporter. 

Riley has an MA in print journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in English and  journalism form the University of Mississippi. She is in her seventh year with Writers in the Schools. She has taught creative writing in WITS programs at the Arboretum, the Menil Collection, and at elementary and middle schools throughout Houston. She also teaches adult writing classes through Spring Branch Community Education. Her website is:

Please join us in welcoming Harriet.

Linda Stelljes and Elizabeth Burnham
Membership Now a Two-Member Team!
The WiVLA Board is pleased to announce that they have voted to make Membership a Co-chaired position on the WiVLA board. Elizabeth Burnham was elected to the position of Co-chair to work with Linda Ann Stelljes who was elected by the membership at our November 2014 meeting.
Many of you may have noticed that the membership chair not only maintains our member roles and sends updates to our website but also sees to it that our membership badges are updated at the member meeting and greets us a we come in the door. She also makes temporary name tags for our visitors and add their emails to our mailing list. Given the scope of this role, the board decided it was one that needed two people. 

When you see them at the membership table at the next member meeting, say "Hello" and thank them for serving in this important job.

The WiVLA Diary
Members share their experiences about WiVLA
It must have been providence steering me into a path of determined focus, out of the meandering fog into which I had fallen. Teaching had become all-consuming, but I thought, "There must be more to life."  Lynn Weeks, the president of WiVLA, had asked for 100% volunteer participation to make our gala event that year a success. So on that stygian night, like a poppet opening to release its ribbon-like flow, I said “horse feathers” to lesson plans for the next week's classes, and made my way to an arranged meeting of talented women; the meeting would perhaps reveal a syncretism of interests, but I was determined that this was going to be a fun, productive involvement. I left my bungalow (relieved to have a reason to not join Bozo, who chose to watch a football game)!  When I arrived at the designated location, I perceived that it was not swank, and a rowdy group had already gathered in the back at tables pushed together.  Once seated, our bellwether chairperson asked that we introduce ourselves and tell a bit about our backgrounds and interests.  My turn came and I related the deracinate experience of leaving a small community just north of Detroit, Michigan, and spending seven months 'camping' in our Volkswagen throughout Europe, returning to the United States on a freighter which ported in New Orleans, and ending up getting jobs in Houston where we stayed.  I expected to hear some comments of shock at this adventurous tale, but instead a voice called out, "Where in Michigan are you from?"  "Oh, a village called Roseville, just north of Detroit -- you've never heard of it," I replied. The voice rang out with a joyful burst saying, "That's where I grew up!  Roseville.  I went to Roseville High School."  "So did I,” I said.

Well, needless to say, the trickster was present that evening!  Cathy Nieman and I, Jo Zider, have arrived in Houston by rather circuitous journeys, but without equivocation we have found warm and lasting friendships in WiVLA. 

By the way:  One of us graduated in 1962 and one in 1964 from Roseville High School. (And thank you to Cathy Lachin for all those fun words!)
Jo Zider

~ I spoke at a WiVLA meeting 15 years ago about my writing career, which, after being successful during years of endless moves, had gone barren on my arrival in Houston. Being with these women and receiving their affirmation brought me back to writing. I received an honorary membership for a year and have renewed every year since.
Sandi Stromberg

~ Karleen Koen recently told the newsletter that she was "on sale" during a promotion through Too late for us to publicize after the member meeting, Koen mused, "It feels odd to be on sale, but it's nice to think digital readers may get to know me as an author." 
 WiVLA's 2015 Board

Jane Mulholland, President

Cori Austin, Vice President

Josena Arquieta, Treasurer

Alicia Young, Secretary

Rona Lesser, Historian

Sandi Stromberg and Maryann Gremillion, Literary Co-Chairs

Jo Zider and Peggy Sexton, Visual Co-Chairs

Zita Giraldo, Programs

Harriet Riley, Newsletter Editor

Ima Oduok, Communications/Social Media

Linda Ann Stelljes and Elizabeth Burnham, Membership Co-Chairs

Lillian Tharp and Theo Billings, At-Large


WiVLA Member Meeting Speaker:


We look forward to welcoming artist Mari Omori, as the guest speaker at our membership meeting on February 17, 2015.
Born and raised in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Mari Omori is a multimedia artist, art educator, and curator who received her MFA from UCLA and her BA from California State University Northridge. 

She is currently a Professor of Art at Lone Star College-Kingwood, TX, a position she has held since 2002.  Her awards include the 2008 Mino Washi/Paper Artist-in-Residency, Japan, in conjunction with her Sabbatical Grant, and the 2007 Palm Beach County Cultural AIR Grant, culminating a solo exhibition at the Morikami Museum, Palm Beach, Florida.   Her recent AIR experiences are Oaxaca, Mexico in 2013, Hilmsen, Germany in 2012, and COLLAGE: Art for Cancer Network with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, ongoing since 2007. 

Her works have been exhibited internationally  in Japan, Germany,  Mexico, Taiwan, and Thailand, as well as in solo and group shows in the US, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Texas.  Her work is in the collection of Museum of South Texas, Corpus Cristi, TX, Mino Washi Museum, Gifu-Prefecture, Japan, and Lone Star College-Kingwood, Kingwood, TX. 


Member Dorothy Colp is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design

and is currently building her business as a sequential artist.

More from the VCR Show Opening

18 Hands Gallery, November 1 2014

Past President Lane Devereux and VCR Chair Cathy Lachin


Poetry, Creative Collage and Writing, Flash Fiction:

Sign Up Now!
Interested in spending a day with writers, sharpening your skills, being inspired, perhaps trying a new genre? Join us for one or more of the workshops below.
We’re also encouraging non-members, interested in knowing more about the organization, to sample WiVLA offerings at a slightly higher price, but the extra $10 can be applied to membership. So invite a friend or acquaintance!
There will also be opportunities to discuss outlets for publication.
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
Limit: 20
Our cities and suburbs exist in, and on top of, nature. 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 crowding 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. Participants will also receive information on how to submit their work to Mutabilis Press’s Houston Nature Anthology and other journals.
Rebecca Spears is 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.
Creative Collage and Writing from Your Wild Heart
Wild Heart Art, 909 Harvard (Houston Heights)
Saturday, March 28, 1-4 p.m.
Members: $45; Non-Members: $55
Materials Fee: $10
Limit: 8
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
Limit: 20
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
To register for any of these workshops, click here:
If you have questions, email your Literary Co-Chairs at!


WiVLA Sketchbook Group
         Monday, February 2, 2015
6-8 pm
Trini Sosa Community Center
1414 Wirt Avenue (Spring Branch)
(just north of intersection of Wirt and Westview)

(art by Peter Olson)
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! 

Bring the supplies you find most comfortable.  Optional:  Bring items to sketch and share.


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:


~ Please go to the Printing Museum website and look at the list of workshops and classes if you are new to printmaking or if you need a refresher. If we are to participate in a print exhibition at the Printing Museum, we must produce works in traditional printing methods. They are not interested in showing photography. If you do not see anything of interest to you in the Printing Museum's listing, let me know and we can arrange to have a mini-workshop to learn specific techniques of interest to members. We need to have an interest-level indicator in order to go forward with plans for an exhibit either this year or next.  Thanks!

Jo Zider, Visual Co-Chair.

~ New member Denise Bossarte will be giving a two-day workshop, "Miksang Contemporary Photography - Level I Workshop" on February 28 from 9 AM to 4 PM, and March 1 from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Katy Contemporary Art Museum, 805 Avenue B, Katy, 77493. Cost for the two days: $200. See description and register:

~ Rona Lesser has a piece in the VAA Show currently showing at Avis Frank Gallery,1606 White Oak Drive.  The show runs through February 14.

~ New member Mary Ramain has a piece in the Assistance League Show at Williams Tower now through February 27. She also has two pieces at the
 Carolyn Garcia Gallery in the Museum District Clinic Eye Clinic,  4704 Montrose Blvd.

~ Karen Ann Smith is having the opening of her Joe Goodbuddy art, The Abundance of..., on March 14 at Galeria Regina, 1716 Richmond Ave.. from 6 PM to 9 PM. There will be a closing held on April 25 from 6 PM to 9 PM. 

~ New member Mary Wemple, the creator and coordinator of Words & Art, a reading series and workshop series at Rice University Art Gallery announces four FREE workshops to be held in the Rice Art Gallery:  February 7 - Words & Art - Writing Workshop I (for younger writers) -  1 PM; February 21 - Words & Art - Writing Workshop II (for adult writers) – 1 PM; February 28 - Words & Art - Deadline (for those who would like to be a Words & Arts featured reader – email submissions to;  March 11 - Words & Art – Reading – 7 PM.

RSVP to events and find more information at the Words & Art Facebook page:

New member and founder of Writespace Houston Elizabeth White-Olsen invites you to A Night of Love and Letters: Houston Romance Authors Read to Celebrate Valentine's Day, February 14 at 7:30 PM for a romantic candlelight literary reading and fundraiser at Writespace. Come as a single or bring that special someone to enjoy passionate readings by Houston romance writers Melissa Maygrove and Jessica Trapp. There will be wine, beer provided by St. Arnold's Brewery, and chocolate pairings provided by Whole Foods Houston, as well as a love-letter writing contest for a $100 Gift Certificate to a Writespace workshop. Tickets: $20.00 per person. More info and register at

~ Jo Zider's piece entitled "Focus Patience" from her Urban Relic series will be in the juried show "Nourish," which opens February 6, 6 PM to 8 PM, at the Center for Contemporary Craft.
~ Marian Szczepanski will teach a Valentine's Day Special workshop on "The Ins and Outs of Creating Great Sex Scenes" on Saturday, February 14, 1-4 pm, at Writespace, Silver Street Studios #212, 2000A Edwards St., 77007. Class fee is $32.85. Workshop description and online registration:

~ Workspace available:  Writespace creative writing center, Silver Street Studios #212, 2000A Edwards St., 77007, is seeking a weekday studiomate. Details

The Houston Writers Guild (HWG) will host its first Indiepalooza conference for independently published writers on September 26. The HWG board is actively looking for self-published presenters to speak on a wide range of topics: social media, business basics,  reviews, formatting, beta readers and copy editors, marketing/book events, and production timeline. They are also open to other suggestions. Prospective speakers should contact: 

Jo Zider let us know that
former Houston artist Annell Livingston is having a one- person show at O'Kane Gallery, University of Houston Downtown. The opening is on February 12, from 6-8 pm. Annell was very active as a teacher and mentor to many watercolor artists in Houston before moving to Santa Fe.

The Visual Arts Alliance Show at Avis Frank Gallery runs through February 14.

The Assistance League Show at Williams Tower runs through February 27.


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). 


~ 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 2015 Board of Directors

President Jane Mulholland

Vice President Cori Austin 


Secretary Alicia Young          


Treasurer Josena Arquieta

Membership Linda Ann Stelljes and Elizabeth Burnham

Communications and Social Media Ima Oduok

Programs Zita Giraldo      


Newsletter Harriet Riley  


Visual Arts Peggy Sexton
and Jo Zider  


Literary Arts   Sandi Stromberg
and Maryann Gremillion   


At-Large Lillian Tharp 

and Theo Billings  

Historian  Rona Lesser 

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