March 2018

Join us for an Afternoon 
at Main Street Theater!
 WiVLA members have the opportunity to attend this event on Sunday, March 4, at 3:00 pm. Afterward, there will be a Female Voices in Writing Post-Show Discussion with Texas novelist (and WiVLA founder) Karleen Koen, Houston playwright Elizabeth Keel, and Main Street Theater Founder and Executive Artistic Director Rebecca Greene Udden. Optional dinner to follow at a local restaurant for a post-play discussion. We hope to see you there!
   If you missed signing up through the WiVLA website, please contact Main Street Theater to purchase a ticket.
March Meeting with Anat Ronen, Houston Muralist 
   Have you noticed the street and city art that is growing in Houston? We welcome one of Houston’s finest urban artists, Anat Ronen, to our March meeting. Her art career started “from scratch” with little traditional art education. But she carried her “regular” self into an art career. Then she “came to discover that there’s more to me than just being, that creating was a part of who I am, and it was like a volcano started to erupt and never stopped.”
    She writes, “Every project teaches me something new – about art, about people, about myself. Every project takes me to a new adventure, to new discoveries. Every mural, every piece of art I produce stays in me, but also takes away a part of my soul. My artistic metamorphosis is now complete in a sense that I cannot see myself as anything else. I have become my art.”
   The list of urban art events and creations is an impressively long document on her website. We look forward to finding out where her local murals are located,  in what events she will be participating during future months, and how she grew and developed into the artist that she is. Here is her website: 
Archway Gallery at 2305 Dunlavy, Houston TX 77006
5:45 – Mix and Mingle     6:15 –  Short Business Meeting
6:30 to 7:30 – Program
Optional dinner at Brasil’s on Westheimer to follow (dutch treat).

President's Message: Many different sources have recommended gratitude journals as helpful, both to keep us aware of the gifts of life, and to help heal difficult circumstances that we encounter at times.
   I’ve been thinking lately about the gratitude that I hold for WiVLA. 
 Nine years ago, I didn’t think I could ever belong to a group like WiVLA. Now? Yes, definitely. I’m grateful that I know myself better and trust my identification as an artist and a writer. Yes, I belong. I would have found that out eventually, I think, but WiVLA gave me a needed support system to get there sooner rather than later. 
   One of the first workshops I took was a poetry class with Sarah Cortez. Oh my. I was very impressed with her professionalism, her encouragement, and her knowledge. She is an excellent teacher (P.S.: she’s coming in April for a WiVLA workshop!). For the next three years, I was often a student of hers, sharing her living room with other writers, feeling the sacredness of that space. I have learned so much from Sarah and fellow writers in her classes. WiVLA showed me the path to her.
   A project that I did as a new member (I knew no one) was for the collaboration Altered Books. A woman whom I had never met before sat next to me at a meeting and asked me to join her in a book-making project. On our working evenings, she would make dinner and I would join her and her husband in wonderful conversation before our creating began. Then it was designing, photographing, cutting, and all kinds of collaborating to create The Tao of Dog. Jeannette, you were such fun and so delightful to work with. I have wonderful memories of this time together. Collaborations are projects that are unique to WiVLA and we have one coming up in November!
   One April night, several years ago, we had two amazing presentations by our ECO Fund winners, Cathy Lachin and Jo Zider. Mesmerized by their projects -- Cathy read from her book about prison life in Angola and Jo related her labyrinth installation at the Rothko Chapel grounds -- I was in a reverie about what opportunity the ECO Fund gives both its winners and the audience. Suddenly, I heard my name. I was the next winner, along with Sandi Stromberg! I felt like I had won the Superbowl, only I wasn’t going to DisneyWorld, I was going to Glassell! Taking art classes seems to have become a habit now, and WiVLA has helped me build my art foundation. 
   Yes, those were all very special situations. But something I thank WiVLA for each month is the opportunity to commune with kindred spirits, stretch my knowledge during a great program, and be nurtured by interesting women. The regular meetings are the highpoints of my month, and give me energy that carries me further. Remember our Holiday Gathering? How much fun was that! And what about the WiVLA Big Circle in January when we shared our ideas for jumpstarting our creativity? We energize each other – and that is one of the gifts that WiVLA gives us. 
   Thank you, WiVLA!
   Cori Austin
WiVLA’s ECO Fund Open for Applications!
Educational and Cultural Opportunity Awards 2018                 Opportunity Knocks!      
     Did an art or writing opportunity recently turn up 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 17 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 6, 2018.
      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 17 meeting. Everyone has an equal chance of being selected.
      The program that evening will be presentations by the 2017 scholarship winners, Mary R. Ramain and Kay McStay. Then, drum roll……, the new awardees will be chosen. It is always a fascinating and exciting program!  
Third Annual Books2Eat Festival
on Saturday, March 31, 2018
   Editor's note: Click here for an informative invitation to Books2Eat.
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, 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 that is 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! To register for your entry in this fun event, go to our home page:   If you want to be on the committee to help with the festival, contact Cori Austin at 
When: Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Where: Printing Museum.
Ideas: Google "Books2Eat" for more ideas.
Houston poet and winner of the Texas PEN Literary Award, Sarah Cortez, presents a workshop for WIVLA: 
 Use of Poetic Techniques to Make Your Prose Sparkle
     This hands-on workshop will engage both poets and prose writers to sprinkle their creative output with the most effective tricks-of-the-trade commonly used to amp up poetry’s effectiveness.  This is a perfect class for the prose you’ve written that seems tired, a trifle limp, or simply boring—yet, you don’t quite know how to fix.  This is also a great class for poets who wonder why their lines seem predictable, sluggish, or perhaps, simply forgettable.  Join in our fun as we focus on understanding and using poetic techniques to max out the power and reader engagement with our writing.
 Day & Time:  April 28  9:30am -12:30pm
Location:  Central Market,   3815 Westheimer Road
Limited to 15 participants         $45 Wivla members/$60 public

To register: (it will be up by Saturday 3-3): 

 Cortez’s most recent anthology, Vanishing Points, has been named a 2016 Southwest Book of the Year and won first place for editing in the Press Women of Texas annual awards.  It has also been shortlisted for an International Latino Book Award and won the prestigious First Place in Editing from the National Federation of Press Women. She is a Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters and Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and has been a finalist for City of Houston poet laureate and State of Texas poet laureate. She teaches poetry, fiction, memoir, and creative writing. She has served 25 proud years as a peace officer in Texas.
Renew Membership Now - Easy to Do!  
Make 2018 your opportunity for creative encouragement and support by renewing your membership to WiVLA. The coming 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: click here  and pay online (even though you are renewing, please fill out the informational form), OR download a membership form and send the form and a check for $40 to WiVLA, P.O. Box 130406, Houston, TX 77219-0406.  One of the best deals in the city!
      You can also renew at the March meeting. To facilitate this, please print the membership 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 2017 (October through December), your membership will run through the entire year of 2018.  Please try to complete your membership renewal by the end of March.  Then you will be current with every opportunity that becomes available.
February Meeting Highlights Main Street Theater Production
of Men On Boat
Shannon Emerick, marketing director and actor with Main Street Theater, gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the current production Men On Boats. She described the playwright’s intention of casting the play using women in all the character roles, which causes a shift in perspective, as the ten explorers make their way down the Colorado River in 1869. “It’s been great for the ten of us to get on board for this wild ride,” Shannon said.  The roles are fairly equally developed, and the collaboration among the actors and within the production team has been extraordinarily strong. 
   It was fascinating to hear Shannon discuss the historical action adventure story, and what it feels like for her and the cast to play the roles. “It shouldn’t make a difference if the boats have men or women in them,” she stated. Right, it shouldn’t. But it often does, and that is part of what shakes up the expectations of both actors and audience members. Of course, when you shake things, things happen: fun, unexpected occurrences, circumstances which create thoughtful responses as well as jarring ones on occasion. At Main Street Theater, “We believe in 'go bigger or go home',” she stated and the production attempts to meet that goal. 
   Shannon's enthusiasm for theater arts and her rapid-fire and sparkling delivery made for an exciting presentation. Over 20 members and guests enjoyed hearing her stories about rehearsals, her background, and the discussion of the themes in the play. Audience questions focused on the play itself and the ins-and-outs of running an established theater company.
  Several WIVLA members will attend the play on Sunday, March 4, at 3:00. It will be followed by a panel discussion of Female Voices in Writing, which will include our own Karleen Koen. Dinner out will follow if any attendees are interested. If you don’t have tickets, there is a good chance there are still tickets available. Here’s Main Street Theater’s website:  Order yours today! 

  • May Meeting – Speed Dating! Since we will have a Collaboration Event in November, we want to provide members with an opportunity to meet and get to know each other, so you can choose a collaboration partner. We’ll provide a few questions to help guide you, but also be thinking of things you want to ask others or present about yourself.
    October -- Houston History Alliance project for October – more info coming soon.
    Collaboration Event early November.  Theme:  S P A C E
  • Leigh Owen announces the White Glove Salon. Save the date for this University of Houston's Rare Books Collections event on Wednesday, April 18, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the University of Houston MD Anderson Library, Honors College. Click here to view the save-the-date card and information. The evening will feature book treasures from the university's Rare Books Collections displayed with art pieces they inspired. Participating artists producing these works are Cori Austin, Janet Reynolds, Lee Steiner, and more. Janet was inspired by a rare palm leaf book and Lee's amazingly detailed art book, "Field Guide to Four-Footed Beasts," was inspired by Topsell's History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents. Make plans to attend. Invitation to follow.
  • Becky Soria points our attention to a lecture series at The Women's Institute of Houston entitled ART AND THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE: From The Renaissance To The Present. The presenter is Fernando Casas and the lectures begin on Feb. 5. Go to or click for info here.
  • Google Photos and Facebook items by Regina Vitolo Mader, our social media guru. Regina encourages everyone to share their WiVLA photos to a Google album. Click here to read her thoughtful request and see more details. Regina says: "Hi, everyone, this is a link to WIVLA'S GOOGLE PHOTOS ALBUM. Please feel free to to upload any of your own WiVLA photos, or email them to me at" Use this link to the album itself. And, finally, use this one for a how-to tutorial on Facebook. 
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
  • Join LuLynne Streeter, local author and WIVLA member, at the historic Galveston Book Store as she signs copies of her new book, FROZEN LIVES: KARL AND ANNA KUERNER, ANDREW WYETH'S ICONIC COUPLE. Granted unprecedented access to the Kuerner family, the author sheds light on the complex impacts the Kuerner family had on Andrew Wyeth and his art and his "extraordinary" influence on their family. Streeter is an award-winning author, poet and journalist. A lifelong resident of the southwest, LuLynne currently lives and works in Galveston TX.  Frozen Lives is published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. The book signing will be at the Galveston Book Store, 317 23rd StreetGalveston TX on Saturday, March 24, 2018 2:00 - 4:00 pm 
  • Rona Lesser was accepted into the Alabama Women's Caucus for Art juried exhibit, Paper/work:works on/of Paper juried by Abigail Yoder at the Salmon Gallery, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama. The exhibit will be up from Feb. 4 to March 4, 2018.  Also, Rona has work in the exhibit Body Image at Webster Presbyterian Church, 201 Nasa Pkwy which will be up until March 18th. 
  • Debbie Blumberg writes: "It's been a while since I've written a personal essay. I'm very proud to share this one I wrote for Wellesley Magazine about my grandmother's death, flooding during Hurricane Harvey, and finding a sense of home. I'll also be teaching a workshop at Inprint this spring about freelance writing. Please spread the word -!   Read some of my latest articles:
    -For Keller Williams, "When Opportunity Calls...Say Yes"
    -For Folks magazine, "Lullabies for Lexi"
    -For JPMorgan Chase, "From Government Policy to Forest Walks"
    -For AAA Texas Journey, "Out of the Fire"
  • Save-the-Date notice for June Russell who will have an exhibit in October at the Cloisters Gallery in downtown Houston. Details to be published in a future newsletter.
  • Sandi Stromberg recently celebrated her ninth time as a juried poet in the Houston Poetry Fest. She also has work appearing in the 2018 Texas Poetry Calendar, "Giving up the Herd," about her grandfather. She read this poem in April on KUHF's Voices and Verses program, which honors Poetry Month,  Her upcoming work includes two poems in Weaving the Terrain: 100-Word Southwestern Poems (Dos Gatos Press), and a reminiscence in Houston's Favorite Poems, initiated by Houston's 2016-2017 Poet Laureate Robin Davidson. In addition, as co-editor and poet, she has just finished an anthology, Echoes of the Cordillera, which will debut in Alpine TX, on January 13 in an exhibit of photos and poems together. This book and exhibit feature the photography of renowned photographer Jim Bones and the works of 39 poets who wrote ekphrastic poems in response to his pictures.
  • Denise Bossarte has exciting news: "I am self-publishing a novel and two short stories on Amazon in February. All of my works in Kindle format are available for pre-order on Amazon now. Paperback versions will be available on launch day, see below. Information is available on my website at  The titles are:  Glamorous: A Grace Bishop Novel; Return: A Story of Grace Bishop's Paranorm World; and Beginnings: A Story of Grace Bishop's Paranorm World. It is recommended they be read in that order. For a little history of Denise's writing journey:
  • Editor’s 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 25th 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.

~ Member Denise Bossarte says: "I subscribe to emails from the Houston Arts Alliance. They sent out new grant announcements.  this is an example of the emails I receive. I recommend WIVLA members subscribe." [Editor's note: Denise's personal website is Found Worlds Photography at]

~Member Patricia Flaherty Pagan, editor-in-chief at Spider Road Press, calls attention to the new press release and announcements at the press. On February 15th, the Spider's Web Flash Fiction Prize contest opened for submissions of pieces of 750 words or fewer, featuring a complex, female-identifying protagonist. The cash prize this year has been
increased to $300, however, the $10 entry fee has remained the same. We've
also increased the number of honorable mentioned awarded from two to four,
this year. Further details can be found in the attached press release or
on our website. Entries are accepted until May 15th deadline.
Please see the excellent website for news, contests, and book suggestions. A link to the press website is here.

~ Kristine Rivers sends this announcement by SouthWest Artists, Inc. They are excited to announce that entries are now open for the SWA SMALL WORKS NATIONAL COMPETITION. Sponsored by SouthWest Artists, Inc., an art organization established in 1945, and their beautiful facility, The Mena Art Gallery, this show promises to be even better than the very successful 2017 show and is quickly becoming an important annual event.
   The SWA SMALL WORKS NATIONAL COMPETITION accepts 2-dimensional, original art. Entries are restricted to a measurement of 18 inches in any direction, including frame. We have partnered with the show management team at SMARTER ENTRY for our submission process. You will find our prospectus when clicking "READ MORE" on the page mentioned below and entry forms by clicking "REGISTER" on this page:  
This link contains the full announcement and registration information.

~Sandi Stromberg shares an exciting  local opportunity: 
     Along with guest editor John Gorman, Mutabilis invites submissions from poets with a connection to Texas for its forthcoming anthology, The Enchantment of the Ordinary. We are looking for poems that express joy in the solidity and value of everyday objects—or their power to denote pathos and tragedy—and/or the poet’s power to transfigure elements of the everyday world by seeing them in the light of closest attention. Does the spell of the ordinary change the viewer? Or does the viewer’s concentrated focus supercharge and transform the ordinary?

~Denise Bossarte points our attention two opportunities: 1) Frontier Poetry for the writers and 2) a new prize for artists. Frontier Poetry out of Bend, Oregon is sponsoring the 2018 Frontier Poetry Digital Chapbook Contest with a substantial prize. The deadline for submissions is March 15th. See the information at this website
For number 2) -- Around February 22, it was announced that a San Antonio couple, art collectors Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, will begin their inaugural Bennett Prize, the largest prize offered solely to women painters (painting in the figurative realist style). The winner will receive $25,000 annually for two years. The prize comes out of the Pittsburgh Foundation and is open to women artists throughout the U.S. For more information about eligibility, visit the Bennett Prize website


~ June Russell, visual co-chair points members to the excellent website for Public Poetry events for the month and, as June notes, call for submissions and contests. Click the blue link for PP's great web page.   The editor notes that the Public Poetry website is always hopping with ideas, events, and opportunities for collaboration.
~ Events and upcoming shows are noted on the Visual Arts Alliance (VAA) helpful website at

~ Archway Gallery has a great website: Click here to go to the website. Monthly exhibits and special events. 

~Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA) has a good website at and it lists the events and workshops that they sponsor. 
Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts was formed in 1979 to meet the legal and accounting needs of artists and art nonprofit organizations across the State of Texas. TALA volunteers throughout Texas handle more than 250 matters per year. In 2016, TALA began serving inventors in the Patent Pro Bono Program.

~Call for entries for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.  This creative writing award is a platform for emerging and established poets and writers to showcase their work to an international audience. There are two categories: Poetry and short fiction. Entries are open until August 31. 
     Literary Events -- Call for Entries
     And see Announcements section of the newsletter

* Jane Mulholland sends us multiple websites announcing WriteFest for 2018. Writefest is a week-long writers' festival taking place April 30 - May 6, 2018 in Houston, TX. It is hosted by Houston Writers' Guild, a nonprofit, volunteer-led community of writers in the Greater Houston area, and Writespace, Houston's grassroots nonprofit literary arts center. The festival kicks off with a series of Monday-Thursday workshops and culminates in a weekend filled with panels and presentations by local and national writers, agents and book editors, literary journal editors of all genres, a Literary Journal Fair, and readings by local and nationally-recognized authors. Visit the Writefest link and the website of the Houston Writers' Guild for exciting program notes, workshops, opportunities with publishers, and much, much more.
Visual Art -- Call for Entries
And see Announcements section of the newsletter

* June Russell, visual art co-chair, sends this Call for Entries from PhotoPlace Gallery. Go to: for complete details. Celebrating Women with Juror, Joyce TennesonDeadline: Monday, March 12, 2018
Exhibition prints due April 20 , 2018
Gallery exhibition May 2 - May 26, 2018  "For this exhibition we seek images that will contribute to a mosaic of what it means to be female: the mystery, the diversity, the enduring and the changeable. Photographs of women of any age are encouraged that reveal aspects of the feminine core -- its physicality, emotional complexity, strength, and vulnerability, and unique place in humanity. Any capture or process is welcome. See the PhotoPlace link of full details.

* Call for artists: HerStory at Webster Presbyterian Church with an entry deadline of April 12.  Email for information. (submitted by Rona Lesser)
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Please forward WiVLA Voices to all your friends who might be interested in WiVLA. BRING A FRIEND TO OUR NEXT MEETING!

Upcoming Events

WiVLA Monthly Meeting
Speaker: Anat Ronen, Muralist
Tuesday, March 20th
Gather: 5:45 pm
followed by program
Archway Gallery
2305 Dunlavy
Houston TX 77006

Opportunities with WiVLA
WiVLA Goes to the Theater!

Men on Boats
at Main Street Theater
Sunday, March 4, 3:00 pm
followed by discussion by 3 Houston
female writers (including Karleen Koen)
about female voices in writing.
Tickets thru the WiVLA site,
are now closed. Please go to the
Main Street Theater site.

Books2Eat Festival
Saturday, March 31
3:00 - 5:00 pm
Printing Museum
See article in newsletter

ECO fund application due
Friday, April 6

WiVLA Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, April 17
ECO Fund presentations
followed by the 2018 
fund drawing

Writing Workshop
with Sarah Cortez

Saturday, April 28
Registration open soon

See what's ahead in NEWS Section
of this newsletter.

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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 - Lee Steiner

Secretary - Ann Boutte         

Treasurer - Melody Locke
Membership - Susan Salter & Gladys Jones

Communications -  Lilibeth Andre

Social Media - Regina Vitolo Mader
Programs - Gail Mebane     

Newsletter - Kay McStay 

Visual Arts - Dune Tencer and June Russell                       

Literary Arts - Karleen Koen and Debbie Blumberg            

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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