Branch News, Winter 2022

Diamond State Has Active, Busy Fall

By Mary Lou Griffin, Diamond State Branch President

The Diamond State Branch has ended the summer season and started the fall season with several events. The branch kept the traditional Creative Week at the Beach in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Eleven art and letters members spent the last week in September supporting each other, dining together, and working on individual and group art projects in a large rental home in an inspiring setting. They also discussed ideas and new projects for the coming year.

art project
The 2021 Rehoboth Beach joint art project for scarves.

While there, the Pen Women helped Taralee Morgan, branch outreach coordinator, with the task of putting together and mailing letters, posters, and postcards to educators across the Delaware region for this year’s Scholastic Student Art and Writing Competition. When the week ended, it was time to return to Wilmington for the Opening Reception of the NLAPW Diamond State Biennial Art Show at the Station Gallery on Oct. 8. Eighteen artists and one letters member, Iris Gray Dowling, participated in the show.

Art awards were given to: Nita Balderston, first place; Maria Keane, second place; Joan Supplee, third place; Cathern Bosk, Michele Foster, and Mary Lou Griffin, honorable mentions. The opening was well attended, and the Station Gallery was pleased that there were new visitors coming to see who these “Pen Women” are and what they do.

The branch had its first meeting of the season on Oct. 23 with a luncheon and guest speaker Darlene Amobi from the Hockessin Delaware Historical Society. Nineteen members attended, visiting with each other and listening to an interesting educational presentation about the town of Hockessin, Delaware, and its importance to the Underground Railroad in transporting of runaway slaves to freedom in Pennsylvania. The Pen Women welcomed three new members, who received their NLAPW membership certificates.

The branch planned to meet again in December, with an after-lunch program to be presented by music member Evelyn Swensson. She was eager to share the musical program she presented this past October at the Hyllningsfest Festival in Lindsborg, Kansas, honoring the Swedish immigrants who settled the region. It’s wonderful to be together again.

Central Ohio Showcases Variety in Collaborative Exhibition

One of the rooms of the Central Ohio Branch exhibition.

The Central Ohio Branch presented “The Language of Creativity,” a group exhibition that included works by visual artists, writers, and performing artists. The exhibition ran from Sept. 21 through Oct. 29 at the Dublin Arts Council in Dublin, Ohio. The facility, situated on the bank of the Scioto River, provided a graceful setting that complemented the varied works of art on display.

Through diverse mediums, the Pen Women responded to the theme of creativity. Novels, poems, short stories, paintings, photographs, encaustics, sculptures, and musical compositions were all presented in an experience that unfolded as visitors made their way through the rooms.

The works were thoughtfully arranged to emphasize connectivity and shared appreciation of color, composition, and subject.

Branch member Brenda Layman prepared and edited a free “Coloring and Activity Booklet for Creative Families.” It included images created from art in the exhibition, paired with literacy activities. The Dublin Arts Council made the booklets available at the show and distributed them throughout the community.

Santa Clara County Gets Together for Virtual Readings

Santa Clara County Branch Outreach Chair and NorCal President Dorothy Atkins hosted an “August Summer Read Voice of Women” event that brought together the Stockton Lodi Branch and member-at-large Elizabeth Williams for an exciting morning of poetry and prose that provoked thought, surprised participants, comforted them, and touched their hearts.

branch members in videoconferceneParticipants included Caroline Henry, Tina Jones Williams, Dorothy Atkins, Luanna Leisure, Elizabeth Williams, Norma Slavit, Barbara Chamberlain, Darlene Weingand, Audry Lynch, Patty Dick, Louise Webb, Diana Chan, Harriett Arnold, Edie Matthews, and Parthenia Hicks. The success of this event where members were delighted to showcase their work has prompted the organizers to host more of these readings and include other branches and members-at-large.

The branch is taking full advantage of Zoom and getting the message out about Pen Women. On the heels of Summer Read, Atkins, who is also a member of the San Jose Woman’s Club (SJWC), invited Santa Clara County Branch to a joint meeting where members highlighted their creative works. It was a cornucopia of talent, videos, storytelling, artwork, book reviews, and a history of Pen Women.

Branch members participating in the SJWC event (pictured above) were Patricia Dennis, Luanna Leisure, Dorothy Atkins, Louise Webb, Patty Watkins Dick, Lorna Kohler, Tina Jones Williams, Mary Miller Chiao, and Lorraine Gabbert.

Florida State Association Biennial Conference Rocks Virtually

By Wilma Davidson, Sarasota Branch President

This past October, the Florida State Association of NLAPW went boldly where no state biennial conference has gone before — virtual!

This daunting task — for the committee; the presenters; and Jan Schaberg, conference chair, state VP, and Sarasota Branch recording secretary — was almost two years in the making. The conference committee proved how flexible and inventive members can be when needed.

Those who registered visited both new and familiar worlds. From touching tributes to immortalize longtime Florida members now departed, to workshops that included new genres, to art and the freedom found in art therapy, and to new musical compositions, members from around the state led sessions and contributed their knowledge, ideas, and professionalism to educate, entertain — and just plain make us proud to be in their presence.

The keynote conference speaker, bestselling author Lisa Unger, provided a personable talk about her life and the writing of her first novel (she is now working on her 20th), and shared her own writing process while giving us apt advice about ours.

And what conference could conclude without announcing state winners in the visual arts, letters, and music competitions? Those exciting announcements were saved for the second and final video day, along with a can’t-help-but-make-you-laugh B-roll of bloopers.

Although we didn’t get to meet and greet in person, share meals, talk, or walk the beach together, we learned, we laughed, we lauded. What phenomenal work it was to pull it all together.

As the saying goes, “Women are like teabags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.” The pandemic proved that. As did our Florida State Association of Pen Women.


News archive