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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September 2014


Calendar of Events

Monday, September 8, at 6 p.m.
WiVLA Board Meeting
Sosa Community Center
1414 Wirt Road
Houston, TX  77055

Tuesday, September 16, at 6 p.m.
WiVLA Membership Meeting
Alicia Young, author of The Savvy Girl's Guide to Grace
Museum of Printing History
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.

~ A Look Ahead:  Exciting monthly meetings planned.

~ Announcements:  Who's doing what?

~ Review:  Circle of Five

~ Calls for Entry:  More opportunities than ever!

~ Quick Links:  Connect with the Houston arts community.

Picture from the Past


November 17, 2009:  A field trip to Michelle O'Michael's sculpture studio.  A field trip is always a popular activity among WiVLA members.  Suggestions for futuretrips are more than welcome.  Just contact your editor at with your ideas.  She'll be happy to pass them along to the Program Chair and the Board of Directors.  

If you have a photo that you would like to submit to Voices, please email it, along with an informative caption, to  We'd love to print it in our next issue!

A Note from Your President

Hello, WiVLA members,
"What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."                                 
                                             Jane Austen

The month of September is my New Year's.  As an art educator for many years, I think of September as the month of new beginnings:  "Write anew a blank clean page to fill."  So many elements are fresh and new. There are new pencils and blank, clean books to fill.  The smell of newness is always exciting, especially the smell of all new supplies that are ready for fresh beginnings and stimulating challenges.  This is the time that I set goals for myself.  My goal is to get out of my own way. I hope to surprise myself with new, creative thought and, most importantly, with taking action.  "A goal without a date is just a dream."  "If you have a goal write it down.  If you do not write it down you do not have a goal, you have a wish."

August's Circle of Five proved once again that we are such a diverse, creative group of women, filled with unique passion and focus. May I tell you how much I enjoy the stories that I hear?  Just within my group I learned that a poem has breath and shape.  That Glassel offers a class on developing a prospectus.  That some of us suffer from creative jitters, while others envision their own one-woman show.  Imaginative thought runs rampant within the visions of these talented women.

One more time, I wish to express gratitude.  Your Board of Directors and Advisory Board continue to work hard for you.  They have been developing innovative ideas and are making attempts to solve particular issues that need tending. They continue to give of their precious time to help us, the women of WiVLA.  Please convey your gratitude to them.
In closing, I suggest that you set a goal for this month of fresh beginnings.  "Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something.  It is our goal in life to find it and keep it lit."   
                                     Mary Lou Retton

As ever,
Cathy Nieman

Postscript: Circle of Five vocabulary word -- pate de verre

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  We'll do our best to include your announcement!


 Anna Mary Robertson,
a.k.a. Grandma Moses (9/7/1860)

Mark Rothko (9/25/1903)


Agatha Christie (9/15/1890)

F. Scott Fitzgerald (9/24/1896)

Richard Wright (9/4/1908)

Dear readers,

I've been thinking about 
I’ve been thinking about Lena Hauser.

(Not her real name, but close enough.)

It’s quite possible that, way back in seventh grade, Lena Hauser inspired me to become a better writer by introducing me to rejection.  No, she wasn’t one of those incredibly gifted English teachers who sparked my imagination, bolstered my confidence, and introduced me to Chekhov.  Lena was a classmate, and I didn’t have a chance to get to know her very well because, by the time eighth grade rolled around, she’d moved away.

It was 1969 – the year of Neil Armstrong and Janis Joplin, Woodstock and Altamont, Chappaquiddick, local race riots and Hurricane Camille.  We were twelve years old, some of us thirteen, and we sat sweating in a third-story classroom in a Neo-Classical nightmare built sometime in the early twenties. Welcome to junior high.  Thank God for shady oaks and lunchtime on the lawn. 

Anyway, immediately following lunchtime on the lawn was my Language Arts class.  Lena Hauser was in that class.  I don’t know where she came from.  We hadn’t gone to grade school together, so her history wasn’t a part of my history.  But Lena was blonde and tan and athletic and mature, so she made lots of friends pretty quickly.  I was pale and scrappy and smart-aleck and already had plenty of friends.  I couldn’t imagine what Lena and I could possibly have in common. 

Until Mr. Anzalone (not his real name, but close enough) gave the class a challenge.  The seventh grade, he said, would have its own newspaper – one issue every six weeks.  And the paper needed an editor.  We would compete for the position.  I immediately stopped vandalizing my desk with my crush’s initials and paid attention.  I had been the editor of the sixth-grade paper in my elementary school.  I was on board.  I had this.
Mr. Anzalone told us that everyone in our class would write a page-long essay.  The writer of the best essay would get the job.  He himself would make the decision.  “And this,” he said, lifting a nondescript gray stapler from his desk, “is what you’ll write about.  Begin.”

The room went quiet as everyone got to work.  Most of the boys finished within fifteen minutes and used the rest of the hour to squirm, snicker, and belch.  The rest of us scribbled and shifted in our seats, pausing to gaze out the bank of open windows and swat away the resident wasp.  I turned in my essay second-to-last.  Lena was last.  I was smiling and had already joined the boys in snickering and belching.  Lena was serious and still.

When the bell rang, I went to my next class feeling good about my entry.  I had written a humorous, slightly subversive, possibly even dangerous piece (it was 1969, after all) about the stapler’s mid-tier position in the established hierarchy of desktop implements.  The editorship called, and I was ready. 
The next afternoon, Mr. Anzalone dismissed class and asked Lena and me to stay behind.  “I’ve made my decision,” he said.  “Lena, you are editor-in-chief. And you,” he gave me the thinnest of smiles, “are copy editor.  I’ll make the announcement during tomorrow’s homeroom.  Congratulations, Lena.  Good job, girls.”
Now, I bristled at two things:  Being called a “girl” and being named copy editor, which, in junior high, is little more than a proofreader.  My pride was wounded.  I had lost.  Someone else’s essay had been better than mine.  I had been rejected.  Did my teacher even know my name?  He knew Lena’s.  I was just a girl.

As I began working with Lena and got to know her better, I found out something else that made me bristle.  Lena didn’t even want to be a journalist.  She had no interest in writing anything at all.  Lena wanted to be a tennis player.  But when she heard Mr. Anzalone say “compete for the position,” she went into gear.  She was, by nature, competitive.  She wrote the best essay she had ever written, not because she was hungry for the position of seventh-grade editor, but because she wanted to win.  This girl didn’t monkey around.  It took me a little while, but I learned over the next few years that there’s always a Lena out there.  Someone who wants what I want.  Someone who is ready to get serious with her time and her talent.  Someone who will complete the task after I do and still come out on top. 

What that meant for me is that I would have to get tough and get better.  I’ve experienced quite a few rejections in my time as a writer -- from contest judges, editors, agents, publishers.  I tell myself that I’m not alone, and I work a little harder, reading quality work, classic and contemporary, carving out a little more time to craft a capable line.  Maybe I’ve finally learned to get serious with my own time and talent, whatever I have of it.  So I remember to send a silent thank-you to Lena each and every time I stuff an envelope and drop a piece in the mail. Only, when I do, I use her real name.     

Your editor,
Cathy Lachin

WiVLA News

  Hear from Alicia Young, Author, TV Journalist,  and WiVLA Member


Please join us as we welcome a very special guest speaker to our September meeting, WiVLA member and award-winning author Alicia Young. 
Alicia is an Australian television journalist with more than fifteen years’ experience in local, national and international news. Her passion for current events propelled her to Russia (where she presented the news in Moscow), the US, UK and Europe. She has contributed to newsrooms around the world as an anchor, medical reporter, and international correspondent. She has worked with Walter Cronkite, filed live reports from Rome on the death of Pope John Paul II, various presidential elections/inaugurations and covered the aftermath of the 8.8 earthquake that rocked Chile in 2010.

Once told off by Mother Teresa for not having children (she forgot), Alicia has volunteered at a Calcutta hospice and leprosy hospital. Outside work, she handles parasols and power-tools with equal ease (not really, but she helpfully holds the torch while her better half fixes things around the house).

Aoicia recently relocated from Chile to the U.S, where she completed her first book, The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Grace: small touches with big impact – at home, work & in love. It explores simple ways to usher in moments of grace and kindness in a rushed world. Learn more about Alicia at  Or, better yet, hear her in person at our meeting on Tuesday, September 16!


 Have You Bought Your Raffle Tickets Yet?  

The fun has begun!  Raffle tickets for WiVLA gift baskets, to be given away at the opening of The VCR Show, will be sold at the September and October meetings. The tickets are a steal, priced at $1.00 each or $10.00 for a book of ten, and here's an idea:  They make great gifts! 

You may purchase as many as you like.  Cash or a check made out to WiVLA will be accepted (change will be available for cash purchases, but exact amounts are always preferable).  Because your contact information must be printed on each ticket, you may want to bring small address labels to expedite the process. 

For more information on the gift baskets, read on.  Remember, you need not be present to win!
We Need Your Gift Basket Donations! 
Wouldn't you love to own a piece of a fellow WiVLA member's work?  Or have a truly unique opportunity to promote your own creations? WiVLA's Twentieth Anniversary Planning Committee is pleased to announce its plans to create dazzling, art-centric gift baskets to be raffled off during our celebration on November 1, 2014.  We are currently soliciting donations from our talented membership in order to fill the baskets.  Be imaginative -- any piece of your own creation is welcome, including 2D and 3D work in your choice of medium or media, photographs, books, altered books, chapbooks, framed or unframed pieces. 

So far, we have received prized contributions from over a dozen of our talented members.  Donations include framed and unframed art, ceramics, handmade notecards and books, photographs, novels -- even t-shirts!  But we'd love to collect even more.  Zita Giraldo has offered to lend her boundless talent to assembling the baskets (we plan to offer three -- small, medium, and large), so they are sure to be lovely.

You may bring any contributions to the WiVLA general meetings -- Cathy Lachin will happily collect them.  Gift baskets have been both highly coveted and immensely successful in the past, so scour your studios, ladies, for the perfect piece(s) to donate! 

From Jane Mulholland:  "Breathe and hit Submit."
Every time WiVLA has a show, I find myself experiencing a strange anxiety.  As I fill out the form or prepare the work, my doubts begin.  They do not go away as I work.  I wonder, "Am I doing this right?  Is everything in order?  Have I made a mistake on the format?"

The VCR Show is not my first show.  Was it fifteen years ago when I was standing in my office putting labels on the three pictures I planned to enter in the Print Show and noticed my hands shaking?  "What is the matter?” I thought.  The truth is that I was just plain scared to death to have anyone look at my work. Afraid that someone might laugh or say, “Not good enough.'"

To this day, every single solitary time I prepare for a show, I struggle with my fear.  Then I tell myself, "Just do it. If you don't, you will never know."   Then I breathe and hit Submit.

So, Have You Entered Yet?  Deadline is September 24!  Please Read On . . .

The VCR Show:  Vision. Collaboration. Retrospection.


A Twentieth Anniversary Celebration 

SAVE THE DATES!  November 1 and 18

The Twentieth Anniversary Planning Committee is pleased to announce that our celebratory exhibit will be held at 18 Hands Gallery, 19th Street in The Heights, on Saturday, November 1, 2014, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.  Our literary readings and another reception will be held on Tuesday, November 18, the evening of our membership meeting.  Curators are Kellye Sanford (visual) and Karleen Koen (literary).

We encourage all current and prospective members to enter this very special show by going to  There you'll find a complete prospectus with links to online applications and payment options.  Entry is simple -- you can do it from the comfort of your easy chair in a matter of minutes!

And here's something interesting for all to know:  The VCR Show is not a themed exhibit.  This is truly an opportunity to exercise your creativity without the restriction of a particular subject.  So get started now, and enter those pieces that you've always wanted to share.  A twentieth anniversary is considered a platinumcelebration -- this is your time to shine! 

For more about The VCR Show, including entry requirements and bios of our curators, click on the link above.  Any questions may be directed to Cathy Lachin


Sketchbook Gathering

Monday, September 1, 2014
Central Market, Westheimer/Weslayan
Meet in the restaurant area.

6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Join your WiVLA friends as we sketch, journal, paint, etc., in our sketchbooks. We have enjoyed the camaraderie and sharing thus far, and always come away having learned something new.  

If you wish to work in the sketchbook from the Sketchbook Project, that's fine.  Or bring a sketchbook of your own or plain heavy paper for drawing.  Bring any supplies that will satisfy your sketching needs - pencils, pens, paints, markers, etc.  If you have a book or other resource you have found helpful, bring it along to share.

If you'd like to work toward a completed sketchbook to submit to the Sketchbook Project, we can provide information, or you can look up  We look forward to seeing you!
~ Sketchbook page by Roz Stendahl

Looking for Lively Interviews

While you're visiting WiVLA's newly-redesigned website,, please notice that 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 Look for our first member profile in the month of September!

A Look Ahead:  Exciting Monthly Meetings Planned

Thanks to our resolute Program Chair, Zita Giraldo, here are the programs that WiVLA members have to look forward to in the coming months
  • September:  Alicia Young, journalist and author of The Savvy Girl's Guide to Grace
  • October: Mary Lampe, Executive Director of Southwest Alternate media Project  (SWAMP)
  • November:  Twentieth Anniversary Literary Presentations
Join us for stimulating offerings by vibrant members of the Houston arts community.  You won't be disappointed!




~ Cornelia Amiri has a new eBook release on August 22nd, the fourth in her Dancing Vampire series, One Dance with a Vampire.   
Says Cornelia:  Sexy Scot, Angus, is consumed with dreams of the fiery vampiric fey Tearlag. Their dancing steps came to a halt a year ago when they almost killed each other. Angus comes upon the alluring woman again, and, despite the danger, he has to have one dance with her. Angus’ muscular arms clasp Tearlag tightly as they dance across a field of heather. An insatiable hunger rises in her, and it isn’t for his blood.
From different worlds, fey and human, her sisters and his brothers threaten at every turn to keep them apart. Tearlag and Angus fight for a future for their forbidden love.
A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave.
~ Cornelia Amiri, writing as Maeve Alpin, has a new eBook release on September 1st:  As Timeless As Magic is also free from September 3rd to the 7th on Amazon.  This Steampunk romance is the sequel to As Timeless As Stone.
As Timeless As Magic chronicles the unparalleled adventures of an ancient time- traveling Egyptian and a Victorian Egyptologist's daughter.
Intrigued?  Read on:  With her bell skirt and layers of petticoats knotted, Felicity straddles her motorized steam bicycle and rumbles down the streets of London. When a dark, handsome, half-naked bystander captures her attention, she crashes into a brick wall.  After tinkering with a time machine, Heru, an ancient Egyptian, is swept through the ages to nineteenth century London. He rushes to the aid of a woman in ridiculous, conservative clothing, riding a noisy brass-horse. Once he lifts her into his arms, he doesn't want to ever let her go. However, her father will stop at nothing to steal the time machine.  Heru needs to keep the time machine out of Felicity’s father’s hands and keep her safe from the man’s black-hearted machinations.

~ Writing the Now of a Woman's Life with Sandi Stromberg

Explore your life as it is right now. We spend so much time reflecting on the past and anticipating or fretting about the future. But what about today? Through writing exercises, we will examine who we are at this time, what we are doing, thinking, feeling. There will be both in-class and at-home assignments. The intent of this class is to help women explore the narrative of their lives.

Classes will be held at the Jung Center, 5200 Montrose, on Wednesdays, September 10 - October 15, from 5:45 - 7:15 p.m.  Participants can sign up online ( or call The Jung Center at 713-524-8253.
Sandi Stromberg, MA, is an award-winning poet, magazine feature writer, and a literary co-chair for WiVLA. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She is the recently retired writer/editor of external publications for MD Anderson Cancer Center and was named Public Relations Communicator of the Year in the Lone Star Awards (for print, broadcast and online journalism) in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

~ Elizabeth Burnham invites everyone to attend the Traders Village Art Car Show on Sunday, October 5, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., at Traders Village on North Eldridge.  The event is a fundraiser for the art car community.  Art cars will be on display, and a variety of arts and crafts will be available for purchase.

~ Marguerite Baldwin had three pieces accepted into the VAA 6th Annual Juried Invitational, which closed on August 23.  She is pleased to announce that one of her pieces sold at the opening reception.

Review:  Circle of Five

Two dozen gifted artists and writers gathered for one of WiVLA's most popular events of the year, the Circle of Five meeting, on Tuesday, August 19.

Circle of Five is WiVLA's version of "show and tell," providing its artists and writers with a welcoming place to share their most recent work.  After the general business portion of the meeting, members break into groups of five.  Each member of every group then has the opportunity to present briefly a current project -- a painting or drawing in progress, a fragment of a story, a poem, a sketchbook or sculpture. 

What is so remarkable about Circle of Five is that it is not a critique session.  It's a wonderful occasion of introduction, revelation, conversation, and support.  If you thought you knew your fellow members, think again.  They're doing work that never fails to surprise, delight, and inspire.

Members shared their art, both 2D and 3D, their poetry and prose, their work habits, and their artistic frustrations and inspirations.  Stimulating conversation went well into the evening and continued at the traditional after-meeting dinner at Pronto Cucinino.  Look for another Circle of Five meeting next Spring.

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). 

ENTRY DATE:             September 1, 2014 
DEADLINE:                  October 31, 2014
AWARDS:                      $4,000 First place, $2,000 Second  
                                         place, $1,000 Third place.
ENTRY FEE:                $15.00 Fee per image.  Maximum of 4
                                         images per artist.

NOTIFICATION:         November 19, 2014
LOCATION:                 Williams Tower Gallery, 2800 Post
                                        Oak Blvd., Houston, TX

JUROR:                         Dean Sobel, Director, Clyfford Still | Museum, Denver 


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). 
Springfield Writers’ Guild of Springfield, MO, proudly announces its 21st Annual Springfield Writers’ Guild Literary Contest and Jim Stone Memorial Poetry Division, June 15-September 15, 2014. The competition is open to all writers everywhere, and some categories have unlimited entries with bigger cash awards. Entries come from coast to coast and beyond. Entry fees are $5.00 for all categories. Categories include: poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Entering is easy. See the link to contest guidelines available now at:


WiVLA 2014 Board of Directors

President Cathy Nieman 
Vice President Jane Mulholland

Secretary Rona Lesser     

Treasurer Josena Arquieta
Membership Joyce Marie      

Communications [Open Position]
Programs Zita Giraldo      

Newsletter Cathy Lachin     

Visual Arts Theo Billings
and Luisa Duarte   


Literary Arts   Sandi Stromberg
and Maryann Gremillion   


Social Media Ima Oduok         

At-Large Cindy Rasche  

and Peggy Sexton   
Historian [Open Position] 

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