Vinnie Ream Medal exhibit at the Karpeles Museum, Florida

Vinnie Ream Medal: Winning entries featured at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Jacksonville, Florida

Duncan Sawyer, President of Jacksonville Branch, two guests and Pat Dicas viewing “Ethereal Spirits” by Susanne Schuenke

The goal of the League’s inaugural Vinnie Ream Competition was to honor the talent and history of Vinnie Ream — sculptor, writer, and composer — and to inspire members to create and elevate their art to its highest level.

She is one of the National League of American Pen Women’s most revered members, and 2016 marked the 150th anniversary of the work of art the 18-year-old Ream was commissioned to create for the federal government. Her Carrara marble stature of Abraham Lincoln still stands in the Capitol Rotunda. (See more about Vinnie Ream.)

Ream believed that artists should strive to create art of the highest level, to pursue what she termed “the divine call to art.” Members of the NLAPW submitted a combined total of 82 entries in the four categories of the competition: art, letters, music, and multidiscipline.

The judging took place in February of last year, and winners were invited to submit their winning pieces for the Vinnie Ream Exhibit. (See all the 2016 Competition Winners listed below.)

The Karpeles Museum in Jacksonville, Florida

The opening of the exhibit was hosted at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Jacksonville, Florida, on September 9, 2016. The Jacksonville Branch welcomed many of the artists for a festive celebration. National President Virginia Franklin Campbell and her husband, Verne, visited from Washington, D.C. Past President Elaine Waidelich, Katie Witek, Jamie Tate, Evelyn Wofford, Sheila Byrnes, Judy Bingman, and Pat Dicas also attended. Members came from California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Alabama, and Massachusetts.

The Vinnie Ream Exhibit was on display through October 2016. Many attended the opening and enjoyed the beauty of the art, as well as displays and photographs of and about Vinnie Ream; displays of the winning books, music and the multidiscipline book entries; and samples of the winners’ ribbons. Also on display was the harp pendant, designed by member Brenda Smith, that was awarded to first-place winners. Recorded music by winners in the music category was played at the reception.

Judy Bingman, Jamie Tate, Sheila Byrnes,
Elaine Waidelich and Evelyn, Painting “Symbolica” by Caroline Mueller

The art, letters, music composition, and multidisciplinary creations embodied the spirit of Vinnie Ream’s artistic legacy. Each entrant was asked to write a short essay about her “divine call to art,” which was displayed next to her winning piece. In addition, several artists from Florida branches submitted beautiful works to broaden and enhance the exhibit: Pat Setser, Gainor Roberts, Mara Viksnins, Mary Belle Cordell, Mimi Pearce, and Meletha Everett.

At the opening, Pat Setser read a letter from past National President Candace Long commending and thanking Katie Witek and her Vinnie Ream committee, the participating members and winners, Setser and her Jacksonville Branch, and the staff of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum for their work in making this exhibit so successful.

Nancy Bloomer Deussen’s winning music composition, “Trinity Alps”

Vinnie Ream Competition winners had their winning entries on display:

• Art: Judy Bingman, Anna Bellenger, Jamie Tate, Pat Dicas, Carolina Mueller, Susanne Scheunke, Judy Gentile.

• Letters: Sarah Byrn Rickman, Sofia M. Starnes, Sandy Huff

• Music winners: Nancy Bloomer Deussen, Sheila Firestone and Grace Reid

• Multidiscipline: Mary Jo Beswick, Mary Ann Miller, Cornelia DeDona

Multi-discipline Award, Lonely Lola Ladybug by Mary Jo Beswick