We lost our beloved Peggy Sexton several months ago. She lived a life true to her art and committed to encouraging others’ art journeys, and thus her message lives on in her many artist and writer friends, colleagues, family members, and admirers.

Peggy with her partner and Maggie Baldwin and her husband enjoyed art outings together. Maggie described them as rich in exploration and discussion. They would attend gallery openings or other art gatherings together and then discuss what they had seen over dinner.

How much deeper an experience can be had by sharing and discussing with others! One person interprets one way, another person feels differently, and both come away with a new perspective regardless if their own view on the art changed or not.

I’ve been musing that this is one of the most powerful gifts of WiVLA — to give us a safe and wonderful environment to share and view and discuss. Think of past visual art themes: “In Her Voice,” “A Heroine’s Journey,” “Earth Energy,” “Abundant.” Each theme generated personal responses. Each artist spoke her own voice through her medium. As we perused the gallery, we experienced a symphony of colors, media, and interpretations. As we walked from piece to piece, we were enlarged by each other's vision. If the artist was present for an interchange, “I’d like to know where you get your inspiration,” or “What led you to use the color palette in this piece?” it led to an awakening of understanding — both of the artist and of the theme. Conversation created connection — not necessarily agreement, but an enhanced understanding.

Recent literary themes were “In Her Words,” “Windows,” and “Earth Energy.” Sitting in the audience, we were awakened by the variety of responses to the prompt. Poetry, memoir, fiction, essay — all poured forth, enlarging our grasp of an idea, giving us an appreciation of a new way of thinking, gifting us with word-smithing and lyrical phrasing. Some audience members responded to individual pieces with a low acclamation, indicating connection with the author’s words. Other members may not have reacted vocally but will have opened their hearts to a different point of view, a new path of thinking, a changed vision of possibility.

Cori Austin

"An ekphrastic poem is like a jolt of electricity surging through a work of art."
- Patricia Smith, ARTLines2

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