Six noisy and lively groups met in WiVLA’s “Circle of Five” meeting at Archway Gallery May 17. “Do you think it was just us or being in all this art that made the meeting so spirited?” one of our members asked me as we left the gallery. “A little of both,” I replied, but it got me thinking about what people miss when they aren’t at our meetings. I keep reading about groups that are struggling to maintain their membership and the perceived tendency for people to simply stay home as an outgrowth of the Internet where all can be experienced at the flick of a key.

Robert Frost almost got me thrown out of the tenth grade. My best friend Jan, a freshman at Coe College, asked me to go hear him with her. For almost three hours we sat enthralled as Frost talked and read his poems. When the attendance clerk threatened to expel me, it didn’t dampen the day. I had a note from home and had cleared the absence with my morning teachers.¬†Almost sixty years later, I can hear Frost’s raspy 84-year-old voice every time I read his poetry. I liked his poetry before being there, but being there made all the difference.

For my twenty-third birthday my neighbor took me to see the Bolshoi Ballet. We sat in the nosebleed section of the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh and on that day I vowed that anytime I had the chance to see something reported to be wonderful or marvelous or simply amazing like the Bolshoi, I would do it. I rather like applying that “rule” to WiVLA meetings because I never know what I might miss if I’m not there.

One cold, wet rainy night after work, I slumped in my seat at the Printing Museum. The woman next to me said, “I almost went home but I was too tired to face dinner alone.” I knew what she meant and sighed as we waited for Karen Broker to begin. “She was sensational; simply sensational. And to think, I almost didn’t come,” she said to me as we got up to leave.

This month there are two chances to be at WiVLA meetings. First, on June 4 a hands on experiential meeting “Connecting with Collage” under the instruction of artist Cookie Wells will be held at WriteSpace in the Silver Street Studios. While WiVLA will have art paper, adhesive and some magazines we encourage you to bring photographs and other materials you would like to incorporate into your collage. Kay McStay who is coordinating the June 4 meeting had us work on a group collage at Archway on May 17 wetting our appetite for collage and the workshop. And, says Kay, “It is free and treats will be served!” Those of you who were at Archway also remember seeing the gorgeous collage works of Ann Hartley and as one member said, “I want to learn how to do this.” June 4 is the time to begin.

As I think of Robert Frost and other poets and writers I have heard read in person, I am greatly enthused by our June 21 meeting “ARTLines2: Art becomes Poetry,” which will be held at the Metropolitan Multi Service Center, 1475 W. Gray. My mind calls this meeting “A Visionary, an Art Historian and Five Poets Introduce an Anthology of Ekphrastic Poetry to extremely fortunate WiVLA members and their friends.”

Anna Tahinci, Head of Art History at Glassell School of Art, MFAH will talk about the art chosen for the anthology. Fran Sanders, Founder of Public Poetry, will introduce five local poets who contributed to the anthology and who will read their poems: Poet and former WiVLA member Carolyn Dahl, ARTLines2 Grand Prize Winner, artwork by Thomas Gainsborough; Poet Christa Forster, First Prize Winner, artwork of Roman Sarcophagus; Poet Gabrielle Langley, artwork by Gustav Caillebotte; Poet Justin Janisse, artwork by Thomas Gainsborough; and poet Nancy Thorleifson, artwork by Gustav Caillebotte. The beautiful and very pleasing anthology, ARTLines2 will be for sale at the meeting. 20% of book sales at our meeting will be donated to WiVLA.

Bring your friends and family members and following the meeting join us for dinner at Brasil Café at Dunlavy and Westheimer.

Jane Mulholland

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

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