The Future is WITA and NLAPW

 
In August, community members from diverse backgrounds gathered at Pen Arts, NLAPW’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, for “The Future is WITA: A Pen Arts Benefit Interest Meeting.” This call-to-action campaign seeks to encourage artists and advocates to become an integral part of the NLAPW’s evolution into a modern arts organization, spreading its reach to new generations of women who will continue to build on the NLAPW’s rich history and legacy.
 
WITA

Participants at the Pen Arts’ WITA strategy meeting

Noteworthy women and advocates attended the interest meeting, including Amy Bormet (host, WPFW 89.3; and founder, Women in Jazz Festival), Janea West (creator, GROWN the Web Series), Yacine Tilala Fall (GWU Corcoran Alumni and performing artist), Barbara Bennett (director, Q Street Fine Arts Gallery), Michael Blackwell (director of events, Golden Triangle), Elle Koon (author), and Liliana Dossola (NLAPW Pen Woman and poet).

 
The first strategy meeting was a success because:
  1. People showed up! Thank you to all who attended the meeting.
  2. 79% of attendees completed a survey to share their input about a possible fundraising event in the future. Creating a culture of feedback stimulates growth.
  3. There was unity in diversity. The group in attendance was cross-generational, cross-cultural, and cross-professional (as evidenced by the photo).
  4. Community engagement took place. Everyone shared something about themselves, asked challenging questions, and interacted with new people.
  5. The League increased its visibility. All attendees are now more familiar with the historic National League of American Pen Women, Inc. and the Pen Arts Building.
 
The interest meeting was intended to engage the community in planning a future fundraising event to support the future of women in the arts (WITA). Yet, based on our discussions and the feedback shared during this meeting, it became clear that the ultimate goal of NLAPW’s programming is to ensure that persons advocating for women in the arts know that they have an enriching space to gather, be seen, and be heard.
 
The headquarters of the NLAPW, the Pen Arts Building, is that space. The goal will lengthen the history of this longstanding organization for years to come. 
 
Survey responses revealed that free workshops and community events are in high demand. The League is in the process of planning a series of smaller workshops and public events to increase community engagement leading up to a larger Pen Arts benefit and fundraiser — a strategy talked about at length during last week’s interest meeting.
 
The Future is WITA: A Pen Arts Benefit will likely be held in 2020. We will hold a second strategy meeting in fall 2019 at Pen Arts.

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