March 2017

Abundant Show
Opening Reception March 3

WiVLA’s Abundant Exhibition opened to the public on February 27 at the Cloisters Gallery, adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, 77002. The Opening Reception will be Friday, March 3 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Refreshments will be served. 
Join us Friday, March 3 to celebrate the opening of Abundant.  Twenty-two WiVLA members had their art selected by juror John Runnels, and the art is displayed in the Cloisters Gallery. Mr. Runnels will present a short discussion of the show at 6:45 pm that evening. Free parking for the opening is available in the Christ Church garage only during the hours of the show. Enter the garage from San Jacinto Street. 

The gallery is open from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sundays. The show will run from February 27 through March 23, 2017.  

Members who are part of the Abundant exhibit are:
Josena Arquieta   Cori Austin   Marguerite Baldwin
Linda Daigle    Lane Devereux    Zita Giraldo
Rona Lesser    Melody Locke    Beth McCracken
Jane Mulholland   Marcia Patrick   Shaheen Rahman
Mary Ramain   Janet Reynolds   June Russell
Roberta Sajda   Susan Salter      Judith Shamp  
Peggy Sexton   Dune Tencer   Nan Toole
Carol Watson   Sally Worthington

March's Meeting:
Donna M. Johnson -- Author

   Beyond Fact: The Role of Poetic Truth in Memoir.
   Award winning memoirist Donna M. Johnson discusses how personal narratives break open historical facts in order to find poetic as well as literal truth. Memoir, she says, is about more than what happened to you; it’s about how what happened continues to live inside you and shape your perspective.
   Donna is the author of Holy Ghost Girl, a critically acclaimed memoir deemed “enthralling” and “a sure bet” by the New York Times, and “compulsively readable” by Texas Monthly. The book was hailed by the Oprah Magazine and made the Memoirs We Love list twice.
   Named by Publishers Weekly and The Nervous Breakdown as a Top 10 pick, Holy Ghost Girl won the Mayborn Creative Nonfiction Prize and took top honors in the spirituality category at the New York Books for a Better Life Awards.
   Donna's work had been collected in several anthologies. She has written about religion, family, and culture for the Huffington Post, The Rumpus, Psychology Today, Lion’s Roar/Shambhala Sun, the Dallas Morning News, the Austin American-Statesman, and other publications. Please join us for this program!
5:45 -- 6:15 Gather and snacks
6:15 – 6:30  Short business meeting
6:30 – 7:30  Talk by Donna M. Johnson
7:30 -- Casual dinner at Brasil Cafe, 2 blocks south at the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer. (Dutch treat.)
   Interested in more info on the speaker? Please see this site: http://holyghostgirlthe

President's Message
“Name one moment that drastically changed your life” was printed on the nametag that I filled out at the latest Creative Mornings gathering.  Looking back at many moments, I remembered the request offered to me one long-ago WiVLA Literary evening at Archway. “Would you consider being the Literary Co-Chair?” Gulp. Swallow. I was just at the fringes of seeing myself as a “real” poet, I didn’t know many women in WiVLA, and I was not sure I could take on the position in this group of women who seemed so sure of themselves and their creativity.
   But jump in I did, and felt at home immediately. I found sisterhood and camaraderie among the board members, and I grew to know many other members. Then opportunities for exhibitions and readings came about, and with growing confidence, I entered them. WiVLA not only changed my sense of who I was as a creative woman, it gave me challenge and opportunity, support and fellowship. It continues to further my creative practice in so many ways.
   What I wish for you are moments that change your life, and I hope that WiVLA can bring some of them. Join us as we have a late dinner after our regular meetings – we’ve been loving The Brasil Café lately. The conversation at dinner helps us know each other better and fosters new friendships.  The newsletter provides many events in which our members will soon participate.  Support them by attending, viewing, listening, reading. Check out the listings of visual art and literary opportunities available in the near future. Challenge yourself to enter something you never have before.  
   As we look forward to our forthcoming show, Abundant, I hope everyone involved, whether artist, board member, viewer, or supporter of a visual-artist friend, will think of her own journey to the creative place in which she stands. Look inward and reflect on the abundance that WiVLA brings to your life: the joy and challenge of creativity, the friendships, the cooperative work involved in staging our own exhibitions, and what lies ahead in the future. Join others in the opening reception at the Cloisters Gallery on Friday, March 3rd from 6:00-8:00 pm for the opening reception of Abundant.
   Cori Austin

Circle of Five --
February's Inspiring Meeting

Everyone arrived at last month’s meeting with something in hand – a bag, a binder, a framed piece, a bulky envelope. It was like birthday presents for the onlookers – such surprises and delights when containers were opened within our circles of 5. Laughter, animated conversation, and clapping were heard throughout the gathering. Through our art or writing we were able get to better know each other. What a pleasure! What inspiration! If you weren’t able to join us, please try to make the next Circle of 5!
WiVLA’s ECO Fund Now Open for Applications!
Educational and Cultural Opportunity Awards 2017  
Opportunity Knocks!
    Did an art or writing opportunity recently present itself and then you thought to yourself, “Darn! I just don’t have the cash right now?” Or has a project come to mind that would be fun, interesting, and challenging? What about a piece of equipment or supplies that you need to create your art? Have you found an interesting workshop that you’d love to attend? Is there a distant location in which you could create beautiful art or writing?
   Opportunity is knocking on your door!
   WiVLA’s ECO Fund scholarship awards will be chosen at the April 18 Meeting. The application is on the website, and can either be sent via email (save the form on your computer, fill it out and attach the form to your email), or by mail. All applications must be received or postmarked by Friday April 7, 2017. 
   There are certain specifications to having an accepted application, so read carefully. Applications are reviewed, and all names whose application falls within the guidelines are placed either an “artist” box or “writer” box.  One name from each box will be chosen at random at the April 18 meeting. Everyone has an equal chance of being selected. 
   The program that evening will be presentations by the 2016 scholarship winners. Then, drum roll……, the new awardees will be chosen. It is always a fascinating and exciting program!
                       ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~
Renew Membership Now
The new year is a time of renewal and personal reflection. Make 2017 your opportunity for creative encouragement and support by renewing your membership to WiVLA. This year promises to be outstanding in programs, writing and visual art opportunities, and friendships with interesting and creative women. Keep your membership current by renewing today! You can do it easily online: or download a membership form and send a check to WiVLA, P.O. Box 130406, Houston, TX 77219-0406.

You can also renew at the March meeting. To facilitate this, please print the information form and fill it out ahead of time so you don't miss the opportunity to visit friends before the meeting! If you are a new member who joined at the end of 2016 (September through December), your membership will run through the entire year of 2017. Whenever you renew, it will insure you a happy, inspirational and creative 2017!
If you shop at Randall's, use the "Good Neighbor" code of 5341 and WiVLA will benefit every time you shop!

  • Regina Vitolo Mader, who is our Social Media guru, gathered excellent information about Twitter and its uses. To see her advice and resources, click here. For a one-page Twitter guide, click here.
  • Looking for a gift for a special friend? This lovely teacup and saucer set is available for purchase for only $10 and is ALREADY WRAPPED. To order, email
  • Abundant reception - Friday, March 3. See the article at top of the newsletter.
  • Books2Eat - Friday, March 31. See article below.
  • Cultured Cocktails - Thursday, April 20. Fundraiser at Boheme Bar. A percentage of all sales during a certain period of time this evening will go to WiVLA. 307 Fairview, Houston TX.
  • WiVLA received a lovely thank you note from Nikki Hune with the What It's Like Project for our participation in their recent event. She said our volunteers made a great impression and spurred high interest in WiVLA.
  • Stay tuned for upcoming events!                                                                                            

Please send in your news by the 20th of each month - art exhibits, literary works, news, etc. -  for inclusion in the following month’s newsletter to
  • Tayyba M. Kanwal shares that her short story, "Little Mother" appears in Juxtaprose Magazine. Here is the link:
  •  Priscilla Frake invites all WIVLA members to the opening of her show at the Jung Center on Saturday, April 8 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. As Above, So Below: Inner and Outer Images of the Cosmos will contain metal and enamel sculptures, wall pieces and jewelry. It will run concurrently with photographer Leslie Field’s exhibit Field Explorations. Both will be on view from March 31 to April 28.
  • WIVLA member Patty Flaherty Pagan will be teaching a fun, hands-on workshop, Introduction to Writing Flash Fiction on Saturday, April 1 from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm at Writespace. Students will break down the basic tenets of flash fiction, read inspiring examples, and then get writing! Bring pen and paper or your trusty laptop. Workshop limited to 15 students. Cost: Early-Bird Price until Monday, March 27th: $30 for Writespace Members, $45 Non-Members. After March 27th: $40 for Writespace Members, $55 Non-Members. To register/get more information see:
  • Sylvia Cooper is excited to let us know that her memoir Better Out than In will be published at the end of this month. The book relates her personal journey across two continents and an ocean to escape domestic violence. For more information, please see the press release here .
  • Millie Hast is pleased to announce that she won the Freddie Award for Writing Excellence in the Thriller category from the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. The award was presented at Sleuthfest this past weekend in Boca Raton FL. "As you might imagine, my feet haven’t touched earth since then." Millie's thriller manuscript is entitled Takeover
  • Rona Lesser had work accepted into the Watercolor Society International exhibit with an opening reception Sunday, March 12 from 4:00-6:00 pm following a demo by Juror Stephen Quiller at 2:00 pm. The Art Lover's reception will be Thursday, March 16, 5:30-7:30 pm at WAS-H gallery on the corner of Mandell and Alabama Streets. There are extended exhibit hours during March on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. Check website for hours. The exhibit dates are March 14 through April 6.   
  • Varsha Saraiya-Shah has two upcoming poetry events.
    1) Poetry reading at Morris Frank Library with three poets on Saturday, March 4 at 2:00 pm.
     2) Brazos Bookstore poetry reading at 2421 Bissonnet Street, Houston TX 77005 on Monday, March 20 with Stan Crawford at 7:00 pm.
  • Mary Ramain is pleased to announce that her image “Radiance 2” has been chosen for exhibition in “Collaboration & Soliloquy”. This image was created during a collaboration with literary artist and member Jere Pfister, who is the model in the work. The exhibit “Collaboration & Soliloquy” can be seen at Carolyn Garcia Gallery in the Museum District Eye Clinic, 4704 Montrose Boulevard, Houston TX 77006. Please check gallery website for hours at
  • Be sure to red the article profiling member Jo Zider in this newsletter.
Editors Note: We know a lot of you are showing your work and getting articles and books published, so we ask you to send the information to by the 20th of each month. We want to support you and come to your openings and readings; timely info to the newsletter gets the word to members and their friends and contacts.

Books2Eat on April Fools Eve! Did you ever read War and Peeps? Or what about A Catsup in the Rye? Maybe Anne of Green Apples? Are you hungry for some delightful and delicious creative work? You are invited to prepare and exhibit an edible work of art based on books and reading. Any edible book idea is eligible, a favorite title, character, or event or a pun involving a book. Join the Houston Book Arts Guild and WiVLA for an evening of eating our words! This evening will be the local festival as part of the International Edible Book Festival, which occurs annually throughout the world. We encourage you to make an edible “book.” There will be prizes and lots of fun! If you want to be on the committee to help with the festival, contact Cori Austin at or Lee Steiner at 
When: Friday, March 31, 2017 from 5:30 – 8 pm
Where: Metropolitan Service Center, 1475 West Gray, Houston TX 77019; Go to the website  for more ideas.
Member Profile: Editor's note from Kay McStay. This month we re-instate an article profiling a current member. Our first profile is Jo Zider. Fellow member Jere Pfister kindly agreed to interview her friend Jo and contribute the article. Many thanks to the both of them! Here is the first paragraph and please follow the link to the entire profile.
The Bones of Many: A Single Life
A profile of the artist Jo Zider by Jere Pfister  
   Jo Zider was raised in a Detroit suburb in a family who were members of a conservative branch of the Baptist religion known as Primitive Baptists. Despite the Christian foundation of the church, she observed the members’ behavior of hypocrisy and prejudice against those who were different by virtue of race and religion, and with her open and curious mind she fought against that hypocrisy. In college at Michigan State University and later at the University of Houston, she broadened her mind by studying world religions and immersing herself in the art and culture of diverse peoples. She was attracted to the void of figurative references in Shinto and the eastern religions of Iran and other Muslim countries which used deep blue paisley and geometric designs to surround worshippers as they prayed.  Jo became a pantheist and a believer in a kind of reincarnation that might be guided and predestined by an omnipotent power.
Continue here to read complete article.
~  From Cori Austin -- Creative Mornings Houston: Every month, creative people gather at a designated place for a program designed to inspire and entertain. There is time for networking, visiting, meeting new people, and having some kind of morning food and drink. I've been three times. Each time has been totally different, but the common denominator (I am a math teacher, by the way), is always interesting people having interesting conversations. To join, sign up for the Houston newsletter at It’s always on a Friday morning and begins at 8:30 am. The location changes each time. 

~ Member Debbie Blumberg writes, "I'm the founder and co-president of the new Texas Chapter of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, ASJA, and would love to grow our group. Founded in 1948, ASJA is the nation's professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our membership consists of nearly 1,200 freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing. Professional writers are able to apply to join. In Texas, we're planning several events, networking and career development opportunities. ASJA also has an amazing yearly conference in New York. Anyone interested can contact me for more information -

~ The newsletter editor suggests you check out the Houston Writers Guild webpage for useful links, workshops, contests, critique circles, advertising opportunities, and news about their April conference. The conference schedule is well-rounded and explores many topics. Good info can be found at

~  Love art and kids? Come teach and share that love.
City ArtWorks is looking for teachers to teach after-school art all around the city this spring semester. Some classes are a full semester and some 10 weeks. Curriculum and supplies provided. Contact Margaret Bott at 713-681-1331 for more information. 

~ Public Poetry  announces a marvelous month of events in March. The Round Top Poetry Festival has been described as "
A Paradise for Poets."  We've put together a poetry trip that's all inclusive so you can experience it for yourself. Additionally, there'll be a Rolling Poetry Workshop with Houston Poet Laureate, Robin Davidson, on the way to the Festival. The price is substantially discounted for all Public Poetry Members, so now would be a great time to join, wouldn't it?!  You can sign up for the trip and also become a member using the links on the website.
   Featured poets for Saturday, March 4 at 2 PM are
, Vincent "BlackBluez'Johnson, Audrey Schwartz Rivers, Varsha Saraiya-Shah  and David Glen-Smith.  Additionally, we always include a talented student selected by Writers In The Schools and also invite anyone in the audience to bring a poem by a favorite poet to read at half time. Editor's note: I urge you to go to the Public Poetry website and view the impressive array of events
~  The Eighth International Urban Sketchers Symposium will be held in Chicago this year.  This is a fantastic opportunity to meet people from all over the world, attend demonstrations, do sketchcrawls around the Chicago area, and learn more about sketching. It is for all levels of ability. 

~  Free  docent-led tours of the current exhibit are available at the Blaffer Museum at the University of Houston on Fri. at 2:00 each week. Check the website for the current exhibition news. Some of our members are docents.

~  3rd Coast Books is now accepting fiction and non-fiction submissions in seven genres. Please go to:

~  Inprint opens its doors at 1520 West Main on the first Friday of every month from 9 am to 12 noon for a writing cafe. Any and all writers looking for a pleasant morning space in which to write are welcome. For information, click here.

WriteSpace is offering several workshops in March. For pricing, registration and more information, go to the WriteSpace website or contact them. Writefest is coming March 6-12, 2017. Please see the WriteSpace website for details. 

~ Art Houston is a new local magazine dedicated to all types of art and they are seeking articles. For general submission guidelines, contact the publisher at Art Houston.

~  Writers will find an abundance of resources on this new website created by writing coach Joan Dempsey.

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).

~ Texas Women's Caucus for Art: Call for Artist Submissions: Texas Women’s Caucus for Art for “Women’s Art Fair” at The Women's Museum Building, Fair Park, April 5-9, during Dallas Arts Week.  Submission deadline: March 6, 2017. Artists Notified: March 20, 2017. This is a wonderful call for submissions.  Note short deadline.  Please go to submissions:
~ Member Leigh Owen shares an online resource for public domain images:
She says, "I was amazed to read that the images are even okay for commercial use."

Member Rona Lesser sends a notice about Breast Strokes: Hadassah Bares All for A.R.T. -- Awareness, Research, and Treatment. This is a unique artistic opportunity with a breast cancer fundraiser. A page with information is here.

~  "WAGE ON!" explores how women artists view the current economic climate and its impact on wages, identity, and lives of women both in and beyond the art world. Artists at all career levels are invited to submit work for consideration on this timely topic. The exhibition will be an integral part of the 2017 WCA conference that runs concurrent with CAA and the TFAP day of panels.

~ Fraction Magazine is an online venue dedicated to contemporary and fine art photography. It brings together diverse bodies of work by established and emerging artists from around the globe.They accept submissions from new and emerging photographers.

~ FreshArts, of which we are members, has many opportunities for artists listed on their website - check it out!

~ Juried Art Services has a digital jurying system. Click on the link above for more information. 

~ CAFE' for Artists! is a website that lists calls for entry 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).
~ Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts announces its 2017 contests and awards. The literary journal was founded at the University of Houston and holds an annual event with cash awards to the winners and publication opportunities. Please click "Contests" on their web page for full information and submission guidelines.

~ Narrative regularly publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, including stories, novels, novel excerpts, novellas, personal essays, humor, sketches, memoirs, literary biographies, commentary, reportage, interviews, and features of interest to readers who take pleasure in storytelling and imaginative prose.

~ Poets & Writers has a great database of conferences and residencies for writers. Check it out.
~ A Yahoo group has an ongoing and frequently updated list of creative writing opportunities. Writers can join and the notifications come directly to your email.     
~ Winning Writers is another great website for writing opportunities. Check it out by clicking here

Please forward WiVLA Voices to all your friends who might be interested in WiVLA. BRING A FRIEND TO OUR NEXT MEETING!

Upcoming Events

Abundant Show
Opening Reception

Friday, March 3, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Cloisters Gallery
Christ Church Cathedral
1117 Texas Avenue, Houston TX 

Tuesday, March 21
Donna M. Johnson, Author
Beyond Fact: The Role of
Poetic Truth in Memoir

Location: Archway Gallery
2305 Dunlavy, Houston TX

Books2Eat -- Co-sponsored with
The Texas Book Arts Guild

Friday, March 31
5:30 to 8:00 pm
Metropolitan Service Center
1475 West Gray
Houston TX

WiVLA Member Meeting
Tuesday, April 18
ECO Fund Presentations

Location: TBA

Cultured Cocktails
Thursday, April 20
Boheme Bar, 307 Fairview
Houston TX 77006
Fundraiser for WiVLA
More information to come!


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


About Women in the Visual and Literary Arts

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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WiVLA 2017 Board of Directors

President - Cori Austin  

Vice President - Lilibeth Andre

Secretary - Lee Steiner          

Treasurer - Lane Devereux
Membership - Zita Giraldo and Kristine Rivers

Communications -  Mary Ramain

Social Media - Regina Vitolo Mader
Programs - Lillian Tharp     

Newsletter - Kay McStay 

Visual Arts - Dune Tencer and June Russell                       

Literary Arts - Karleen Koen and Mary Harlan            

At-Large - Josena Arquieta  and Tayyba Kanwal

Historian - Judy Shamp

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


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Fresh Arts Coalition Houston

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Gulf Coast Poets

Inprint Houston

Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts

Houston Press

Paper City Magazine

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