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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   January 2015



Calendar of Events

Monday, January 12, at 6 p.m.
WiVLA Board Meeting
(Transition Meeting:  All Outgoing
and All Incoming Board Members Attend)

Trini Mendenhall Community Center
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX  77055


Tuesday, January 20, at 6 p.m.

WiVLA Membership Meeting
Mark Osborne III
Executive Director, The Printing Museum

The Printing Museum
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.

~ 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.                     

Picture from the Past

From 2010:  Elizabeth Earle, Jennifer Watson, and Rebecca Kveton toast WiVLA and the New Year.

A Note from Your President

Women of WiVLA,

A new year begins -- 2015.
"And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been." (Rilke)

The vision of that first WiVLA meeting on March 19,1994, has stayed the course with creative philosophy twenty years later.  The twenty-first year begins fresh and new.  Tabula rasa.

As we reflect on this new year, we can be extremely proud of our ongoing accomplishments.  The 2014 Board of Directors can smile with satisfaction at their extensive contributions.

"No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another."  (Anonymous)

My gratitude is immense for the hard-working group of women who served on my board!  We now bid farewell to those who have spent two years in their given positions.  They leave us knowing that their volunteerism has helped build a strong foundation, assisting us in moving forward.

As I look back on my two years of leadership, I am reminded of the artists and writers who have spoken to me:  the sculptor, Bridgette Mongeon; the writer, Nan Cuba; the diverse members participating in the Circle of Five; the young women of our future who were the recipients of The Gold Key Award.  These women have encouraged and inspired me.  My Commonplace Book is now filled with new vocabulary words.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language,/And next year's words await another voice.'"  (T. S. Eliot)

It is my honor to pass the WiVLA gavel to Jane Mulholland.  Her  lengthy dedication and experience will be a gift to us all.

My time on this side of the page has come to a close.  I was the eleventh president to take the helm of this creative organization.  I hope that I have used my personality, passion and creative background to enhance the strong foundation of my predecessors.  I am thankful for all that I have learned.

"And so she closed one chapter and moved on to the next and smiled to herself as she thought, 'This isn't the end of my story.' "

I send all good wishes in the new year.

I bid you a fond adieu,
Cathy Nieman
President Ex-Officio

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!

Artists Born in January

 Alice Neel, 1900

Susan Rothenberg, 1945

Kiki Smith, 1954

Writers Born in January

Zora Neale Hurston, 1903

Simone de Beauvoir, 1908

Tillie Olsen, 1913

I've Been Thinking

Dear readers,

It's 2015, and  I've been thinking about cleaning out the toolbox.

I'm a writer.  Words are my tools.  And although I struggle for the right word more often than I care to admit, my toolbox is far from empty.  I dig around in it daily, sifting through the clutter, searching for the most accurate linguistic unit available to clarify, illuminate, surprise, argue, bless, or swear.  Sometimes my tools get rusty from repeated exposure to a harsh environment (I could be more creative in my swearing).   Sometimes they get dull from overuse (for instance, the word seriously -- I never cared for adverbs ending in -ly, so why do I use this one?).  Sometimes a word shifts and settles to the bottom of the box, and I'm delighted when I rediscover it.  Doyenne.  I had forgotten about doyenne until it came to me again early one morning.  What a pretty word. 

Now, I'm not a big believer in making resolutions, but I figure cleaning out my toolbox is worth the effort.  My writing may benefit, my efforts at small talk could use a boost, and it's easier for me to improve my vocabulary than it is to lose ten pounds. 

First, I plan to abandon certain words altogether, simply because I'm tired of hearing them and tired of reverting to them.  To my ear, they're overused.  They've lost their power to impress.  Included in my list of "lazy" words are :
  • practice (the noun)
  • process (noun or verb)
  • icon or iconic
  • effortless
  • absolutely (especially when used in place of the economical "yes")
  • perfect
  • fun (particularly as an adjective)
  • nightmare
  • devastated
  • miracle
  • awkward
  • anxious (when one really means "eager")
  • ridiculous
  • awesome
  • whatever
Next, there are the words I plan to avoid not only because they're overused, but they're also a bit, well, trendy.  When I hear or read these, I tend to shut down just a little:
  • discernment
  • artisinal
  • mindfulness
  • transparent (as in "open")
  • inform (meaning to infuse or inspire)
  • bespoke
Finally, there are those words or phrases I feel just plain silly using, and I kind of wish they would go away:
  • celeb for "celebrity"
  • connection (apparently the first step toward building a "relationship")
  • relationship
  • journey (life, whether or not you're in a relationship)
  • lovelovelove (I blame Pinterest.)
  • like
  • Just sayin'.
  • It's a thing.
  • surreal (Note to celebrities:  Not every experience is surreal.)
Now, words are funny things.  Our inclinations or disinclinations toward certain ones are often deeply personal, based on everything from their resonance when spoken aloud (although I've never met a person who didn't like the sweet-sounding lullaby) to their vulgarity, however efficient (I don't think I've ever said the word "puke"  -- I don't even like typing it).  There are those who claim never to have sworn in their lives, while I admire a well-crafted string of expletives.  We are who we are, and during the course of a day our words can soar in the air between us, hang, or drop with a thud.  As much as I appreciate the well-chosen word, I can't discount the importance of the delivery.

This is my last column as your newsletter editor, and I don't want to leave you with the impression that I'm getting crotchety as I face my departure, planning to cast over two dozen words from my vocabulary with no mind to improvement.  So, here is a list of words of which I am particularly fond and hope to have the occasion to use in the coming year:
  • ribbon
  • meander
  • bungalow
  • horsefeathers
  • poppet
  • stygian
  • bellwether
  • providence
  • rowdy
  • sigil
  • swank
  • trickster
  • syncretic
  • deracinate
  • Bozo
They're not high-falutin' or particularly current or fashionable, but I think they're evocative.  Or provocative.   And this I know WiVLA writers and artists understand:  Evoking and provoking?  Well, they're part of our job descriptions.

I wish you the best in your creative efforts in the coming year.  It has been a pleasure to serve as your newsletter editor.  More than anything else, I wish you my favorite word of all,


Your outgoing editor,
Cathy Lachin

WiVLA News


Welcoming 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

Rona Lesser, Historian

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.  Contact information for 2015 board members may be found at the end of the newsletter.

January's Guest Speaker:  Mark Osborne III

We look forward to welcoming Mark Osborne III, the Executive Director of the Printing Museum, as the guest speaker at our membership meeting January 20, 2015.

Osborne joined the Museum in August 2014 and will speak about the future of the museum (formerly the Museum of Printing History) and how its new direction is implied by the name change.
Before joining the Printing Museum, Osborne was the Director of the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum at Lamar University where, during his tenure, museum visitor attendance and annual revenue increased significantly.
Osborne's early career involved managing continuing education programs at Lone Star College-Kingwood and Tyler Junior College. He was also Publications Coordinator at Weatherford College.  He has an MA in Public History from American Public University System, a BS in History/Public Relations from University of Texas at Tyler, and an AA degree from Weatherford College.

Please plan to join us as we begin another year of stimulating programs!


Jump-Start Your Creativity: Sign Up Now!

In the next few months, WiVLA is sponsoring four 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 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.
Letting in the Light: Writing the Creative Non-Fiction Essay
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Saturday, January 24, 9 a.m.-noon
Members: $45; Non-Members: $55
Limit: 20
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.
Poetry Workshop
Trini Mendenhall Community Center, 1414 Wirt Road
Saturday, February 21, 9 a.m.-noon
Members: $45; Non-Members $55
Limit: 20
Untamed City: Exploring the City and Nature in Poetry
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. 


Sketchbook Gathering


                                                                                                                           (art by Pat Perry)

Monday, January 5, 2015
6-8 pm
Trini Sosa 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! 

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:



A Look Ahead:  A New Year, New Programs

For your scheduling convenience: 
  • 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.
  • February 17, 2015:  Artist Mari Omori will speak. See her work at Lawndale now through January 10, 2015.
Join us in the coming year for stimulating offerings by vibrant members of the Houston arts community.  You won't be disappointed!



~ Are you a print maker? Have you used printing techniques in your art work? Our Visual Co-chairs, Jo Zider and Peggy Sexton are brainstorming and want to hear from you about your print making experience. Jo Zider: and Peggy Sexton:

~ A drum roll, please!  Patricia Barry Rumble's play, Little Red,  is one of only three works that have been chosen for staged readings at the Texas Educational Theatre Association's Playfest at the TETA Conference. The readings will be on Saturday, January 31, 2015, 3:30 - 4:45 p.m., in the Regency Ball Room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.


Little Red by Patricia Barry Rumble


Trish would love to fill the ballroom.  She says, "You're guaranteed to laugh and have a great time.  The giant chicken is pretty darn funny.  The music is toe-tapping great.  It's a very modern take on Little Red Riding Hood."  Please let Trish know if you can make the reading at the conference by emailing her at
~ Marian Szczepanski will read from her debut novel Playing St. Barbara at Bar Boheme, 307 Fairview St., 77006, on Thursday, January 15, 7 pm, Cultured Cocktails program for Writespace.
Marian also will be teaching 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 $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:


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). 

VAA Early-Bird Prospectus

32nd Juried OPEN Exhibition 
Available NOW

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 2015 Board of Directors

President Jane Mulholland

Vice President Cori Austin 


Secretary Alicia Young          


Treasurer Josena Arquieta

Membership Linda Ann Stelljes

Communications Ima Oduok

Programs Zita Giraldo      


Newsletter Cornelia Amiri    


Visual Arts Peggy Sexton
and Jo Zider  


Literary Arts   Sandi Stromberg
and Maryann Gremillion   


Social Media Ima Oduok        

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