Saturday, November 22, 2014

Storyteller's Opening Reception at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Inside the Gallery/ On the left: Yvonne Palkowitsh and daughter
We're gathering pics to showcase just what happened on Friday, 21, 2014 at the PCA's Guild Shows and Holiday Shop showcase. Women of Visions, Inc, along with the Fiberarts Guild and Craftsmen Guild of Pittsburgh, held a joint event worthy of high praise from all who attended. There were of course those few hiccups (our favorite being the inability to round up our artists because they were having so much fun), but throughout the hours of the show, the crowd was riveted to the work of our esprit de corps. Winner of the Sam Black Award was Yvonne Palkowitsh; and the Anne Tanksley Award went to Ruth Richardson. Ruth Ward's quilt The Birds Are Back was the first purchase of the guild's exhibit with more--we are sure--to come. Here is just a sampling of some of the people and the moments at Storytellers: Truth Be Told!

The wall sez it all! Gateway to the Exhibition halls

Wendy Kendrick w/ Big Mama's Shadow

Lesley Ansley, Brenda Brown and Christine Bethea w/ Brown's Under Authority

LaVerne Kemp w/  Black Moss/Hainted Trees

Mayota Hill w/ The Messenger: Go Tell It On the Mountain
Thanks for the photos Pepper Johnson, Mary Martin, and Christine Bethea and leslie Ansley. More to Come!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Look out! This blog is about to be filled with dozens of great pics of our Storytellers: Truth Be Told! Art Exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Friday, November 21, 2014 from 5:30 pm to 9 pm. And check back for more info on the accompanying community events in January as well. Our exhibition catalog was designed by Martha Wasik, who also designed books for the other two groups hosting opening receptions in tandem with us and the Pittsburgh Center's Holiday Shop Evening Showcase. This is a very special and festive evening.  Enjoy the bounty of creative talents from three PCA art organizations: Women of Visions, Inc., The Pittsburgh Fiberarts Guild, and the Craftsmen Guild, plus lots of sparkle and shine in the PCA shop with gift ideas from over 200 regional artists! DON'T MISS THIS EVENT.

Friday, November 14, 2014

WOV Women WOW Wilberforce!

Often good news hits our Facebook page before we update our blog! We'd like to congratulate Mayota Hill, Harriette Merriwether, and Tina Williams Brewer for being accepted into the second year of the National Afro-American Museum's Black Heritage Art Show, "Visual Rhythms," in Wilberforce, Ohio. The exhibition runs now through February 28, 2015.

Harriette Merriwether at Ohio exhibition/ Photos by Karen Womack
Mayota Hill at Ohio exhibition

One of our WOV Storyteller's exhibitors, Pepper Johnson, won a second place honor!
Pepper Johnson with award-winning drum

Storytellers Spotlight Series: Benash & Luck

This is the second segment in series about the artists of Women of Visions exhibition Storytellers: Truth Be Told! which will run from November 21, 2014 through February 1, 2015 at the the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Here we highlight Shelita Birchette Benash and Monique Luck. 

Benash is a self-taught multi-media artist from the state of New York, with a professional background of 20 years in theater. Ms. Benash's primary mediums are clay, fiber and mosaic. She collects and salvages broken and discarded components to create trans formative visual metaphors. The act of gathering then bending, cutting, layering, and piecing parts that can then be viewed as a whole, gives her great satisfaction as an artist. She and her sculptor, husband own the "Organic Art Farm," where she is currently working on a mosaic bovine. 

Luck, a California native, left Pittsburgh several years ago to pursue her dreams, but never left her love for art. According to the Agora gallery in New York, one of many galleries in which she has shown her work nationally: "Monique Luck creates soulful and wonderfully lyrical images in mixed media..using fragments of found paper...the effect is exceedingly painterly in appearance." In 2012, Luck was the winner of the Bearden Inspired Collage Contest sponsored by the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Stone and porcelain tile mosaic by Shelita Benash

Mixed Media collage by Monique Luck

Storytellers Spotlight: Series; Ansley & Johnson

Storyteller's: Truth Be Told! Will open at the Pittsuburgh Center for the Arts on Friday, November 21,2014. every week up until the show's end on February 21, we will highlight some of the women in our show on our WOV blog. We kick off with nationally known mural artist, Leslie Ansley and multi-disciplinary artist, Pepper Johnson.

Pepper Johnson is a graduate of Central State University and Ohio State University, as well as postgraduate studies at Monclair State Universtiy, Columbus College of Art and Design and other prestigious institutions. She has exhbitited nationally, and now living in
Columbus, Ohio, her work has been exhbited at The Kings Art Complex, Schumacher Gallery, and Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. 

Leslie Ansley is a Pittsburgh based painter, muralist and arts educator. Her large scale mural work is featured prominently in several Pittsburgh neighborhoods including East Liberty, Squirrel Hill and at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Her work can also be seen African-Ameircan Museum in Philadelphia, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, featured at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta and seen in a host of other nationally acclaimed venues throughout the United States. Ms. Ansley has also been an artist subject in two films by noted Pittsburgh videographer, Chris Ivey. 

Clay Sculpture, by Pepper Johnson

Here, a video sampling from a recent class Leslie Ansley taught at Montessori School.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spetember/October News and Views & Art

Lots to tell. Where do we begin? First in September, member Ruth Ward hosted our meeting at her home. LaVerne's vision to have members offer space for meetings from time to time has been a huge boon to the bonding of the the new administration. Highlights included planning a vending event with WOV women and other local artists; children's art workshops that will coincide with our exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; and the catalog that will accompany the show, designed by Martha Wasik, who has done work for Demeatria Borccella's Showcase Noir. October brought more WOV updates as the plans for entertainment for the opening reception include a storyteller or two, possibly a dancer and an artist's panel. WOV has decided that non-members juried into the show, would be great prospects for membership, and we're look at the best ways to induct them!

The Storytellers; Truth Be Told! exhibit will be in conjunction with two other PCA Guilds: The Craftsman Guild and the Fiberarts Guild. The dates are November 21, 2014 thrugh February 1, 2015. The Opening Reception for all three shows will be Friday, November 21, 5:30 pm to 9 pm.

The next regular WOV meeting will be November 9, 2014.

Here are the exhibiting artists for Storytellers: Truth Be Told! Click on their names highlighted in blue to see articles, their website or examples of their work. Congrats to all!

Sneak Preview/ M. Luck
Ruth Ward
Sneak Preview: L. Ansley
The Birds are Back
All in a Day's Work
Monique Luck
Autumn Ruby
Charlotte Ka
Morning Mother 
Spirit House of Mahalia

Leslie Ansley
Crown Jewels
La Vie en Rose

The Offering
For the Love of Black Cowboys
Mammy to Michelle
Still Climbing

Adrienne Powers
She Who WhispersBecause of My Ancestors

Ruth Richardson
The Future is Built Upon the Past

Altha Pittrell
Wind MaskD & A
Sneak Preview:/ J, Bates

Yvonne Palkowitsh

The Village
In this Place
Lynn Barrows
The Bees Knees

Elizabeth Asche Douglas
Amiri Baraka
Yes Indeed

Pepper Johnson
He Said/ She Said
African Drum
Juju Woman

Brenda Brown
Under Authority 

Jo-Anne Bates
Summer's End

Mayota Hill
The Messenger/Go Tell It On the Mountain

Mary Martin
Where I Come From

Robyn Coleman
(A) part of the Struggle/ Diptych--2 panels

Wendy Kendrick

Big Mama Shadow
Urban Warrior Woman

Harriette Merriwether
The Inner Voice

LaVerne Kemp

Offering Tree
Black Moss/ Hainted Trees

Sing For Me Gauley Bridge

Mah Rhythm 

Haitian Landscape
Women of Haiti/Video and diptych

Honorary Roster/ also included in exhibit:

Sandra German/ 3 Quilts

And work by WOV founders:
Juanita Miller/ Ceramic Vase
Emma Slaughter/ Doll

More September Highlights!
The stars were aligned for showing off Women of Visions on Friday, September 12, 2014.
Fragments, Fractals: Write It, Print It, Sew It, an exhibition of story quilts by artist Tina Williams Brewer. The exhibition is on view now through November 16, 2014, at the Trust’s 709 Penn Gallery in Pittsburgh..

Tina Brewer one-woman show opened in Downtown, Pittsburgh

And LaVerne Kemp's--Connected at the Roots-- an exhibition in which she acted at juror and artist is at Sweetwater in Sewickley, PA now through Nov. 2, 2014. Opening night included entertainment by WOV members, and a full range of visual artists that included both men and women. (Listing to come)
Sweet Potatoes Don't Grow on Trees by L. Kemp.

Photo: Betty Asche Douglas & Friends performing at Mavuno artist reception. Great music & MAGNIFiCENT art on display.
Elizabeth Douglas sang jazz @ "Connected at the "Roots"exhibit
Christiana Leach in performance

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August Agenda was a Hot Topic

Meetings at member's houses isn't a new thing for WOV, but our President, LaVerne is turning up the heat on home-grown administration. She's personally hosted more than a few home meetings and workshops; VP, Christine Bethea hosted the August, 2014 meeting at her place, and WOV is looking forward to other home based organizational gatherings.

Mayota Hill
"We used to do things this way, a lot more got done and we got to know each other better, " LaVerne said pleased with the close to full member turn out for August. Tasty snacks and beverages were cheerfully donated and WOV members always have collections and artsy items that can inspire anyone to create.

The meeting covered Sandra German's memorial, discussion on educational components for our November exhibition "Storytellers," photographing WOV work, as well as how to handle professional development with our members. WOV also welcomed back Mayota Hill.

Keep working. Our Storytellers exhibition deadline in Sept. 1.
Christine's dolls, buttons and art makings.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Celebrating the Life of a Sandra German

One of WOV's most prolific, intelligent and engaging members--Sandra German--left this earth on Monday, July 28, 2014. Sandra was described by her daughter, Vanessa German this way in a recent post on Facebook:
German's Memorial Exhibit @ Tina Brewer's Trolley Museum
     "My Ma was an Artist. A fiber artist, a quilt maker a lover of boldness, brave women, sharp eyed tender men, and babies. She taught her whole,entire life. She saved lives. She trusted her instincts. She swore better than any sailor could ever hope to string a bead of sharp tongued missives. She danced and laughed and cried and was afraid sometimes, she lived the way an artist should live---exactly how she wanted to."

In addition, we at WOV will always remember her wit, her boundless energy and her willingness to share her time and multitude of artistic gifts with the young; the old and people from all walks of life

Rather than flowers, the family prefers donations be sent to Vanessa German c/o
 The Amazing Sandra German, Love Front Porch, 7743 Hamilton Ave, Pgh., PA 15208.

Future plans include a Sandra German Visionary Quilt and Fiber Arts Festival
Quilt by Sandra German

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July Meeting,. Exhibit Deadline Extension and other Thots

Besides starbangledness, July brought five members to LaVerne's house for our regular monthly meeting.  (including Tina, Hariette, Dee, and Christine). LaVerne's house and garden are lovely, in the way only an artist can make it. The bottle tree in her front yard is not only a greeting, but a friendly throwback to the days when blue bottle trees were a southern staple for African American gardeners, created to repel the "haints." We may even post pics of some of our members gardens before the summer is out.

LaVerne had to decided that one of the goals of WOV for the upcoming year was to enhance the camaraderie by hosting in-home meetings from time to time. Two of the highlights of our evening were a decision to extend our deadline for submission to Storytellers: Truth Be Told to Monday, September 1, 2014. Also we had a special guest whom LaVerne had met at church earlier that day. Pat Powers, a former member came to our meeting to tell us what she's been doing the last several years, and to give us some background, not known by many of our members, on our organization's history which we look forward to investigating further. The evening rounded out with wonderfully delicious snacks donated by members and encouraged to return home with that same member to save the others from potential extra calories :-).

Hope you're working on art for our November exhibition. details on the Storytellers tab at the top of this page.

Until August!
Kemp Styled Bottle Tree
Laverne's potting Method

Monday, June 30, 2014

WOV in Summer 2014

As reported back in April, WOV went to the the flea market in May and with the Pittsburgh Marathon running through the middle of our plans, only LaVerne, Christine and Harriette made it through the muck and mire to spend a full and exhausting shopping spree through the dozens of outdoor and indoor vendor booths at Trader Jack's. All three came back with numerous treasures including Christine's fav find: A great little stool with an attached tractor seat just perfect for pants.

Elizabeth is recently back from a trip and her triumphant featured art exhibition at the Lincoln Park Performing Art Center. LaVerne is back from her trip, too-- from Chicago as a key vendor in the 57th Street Art Fair.

June was great for activities, but not so much for meetings. :-) Despite a low turn-out, Our June WOV meeting was none the less enthusiastic. Marica and Christine discussion centered on how to promote our upcoming show in November--Storytellers: Truth Be Told--(see tab at the top) and other way to extend our range. One idea was to invite members who formerly lived in Pittsburgh, and got their art start here. We also discussed returning WOV members. Welcome back Mayota Hill! More info will go to members in our June minutes.
Elizabeth & Exhibit at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
LaVerne's colorful booth at Chicago art fair

Trader Jack's Bridgeville, PA 15017
Christine's flea market find

WOv President juries Sewickley Show & Provides new Opp for Artists


"Sweet Potatoes Don't Grow On Trees"
LaVerne Kemp

Sweetwater Center for the Arts seeks artists forConnected at the RootsAn African American Art Exhibition. This exhibition is open to women and men, 18 years and older, of the African Diaspora, residing within a 200 mile radius of Allegheny County. All artwork must be original.

Connected at the Roots will be juried by LaVerne Kemp, an award-winning, Pittsburgh native, acclaimed for her work in fiber arts, weaving and jewelry design.  This exhibition will give artists the opportunity to tell the story of how their roots have given meaning to their lives.

The winner of the Juror’s Choice:  Best of Show Award will receive $250.
Deadline for artist submissions: July 28, 2014.
For more information and to download the artist entry form, please click here.

200 Broad Street, Sewickley, PA 15143  |  412.741.4405

Thursday, April 17, 2014

WOV April 13th Meeting Briefs

Curtis Reaves
Our special guest was Curtis Reaves, an artist/ photographer and owner of C-Clear Center for Innovation and Empowerment.  Reaves will be teaching WOV the ropes as we move forward to becoming more tech savvy...WOV also bid Bon Voyage to Elizabeth Douglas, who stopped by briefly prior to her departure to Rome. She promises to bring back lots of pics for us. Other tidbits: WOV has launched its blog and updated its Facebook page for additional visibility...WOV is working to have a presence at Showcase Noir, June 21 and 22...and WOV goes to the Flea market Sunday, May 4th at a special Field Trip/Meeting (Sunday, May 11th meeting cancelled due to Mother's Day.) @Trader Jack's  which was voted one of best in the Pittsburgh area... 3 WOV members are in the PCA's Teaching Artists' Roster. (L. Kemp, C. Bethea and T. Brewer). Click here. ...For artists looking to buy or test drive business cards, try Moo will give you 50 fab cards using your Facebook pictures for the cost of 5.50 shipping. Got WOV news or pics, art show info, vending opps? Send to

Friday, April 11, 2014

In other News.... Members Projects

Women of Vsions members tend to lead busy lives not only as artists, but as teachers, instructors and administartors. Elizabeth Ashe Douglas will be traveling to Rome, Italy in May to lead a cultural history tour group for Geneva College. We'll be posting her adventures and photos upon her return mid-month. A sampling of her study in the video to the left:"Light and Space."  Only four months into the annual calendar, LaVerne Kemp, has three residencies. which include a year-long post with the Sweetwater Art Center, in Sewickly, PA. LaVerne is rostered artist with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. More info on Kemp and her work can be found here.  Christine Bethea has recently directed the 5th year of an eco/art and technology festival in the city of Pittsburgh called GA/GI, which was selected as one of the city's top ten events for Apirl 2014 and won the Pittsburgh Technology Council's DATA award. click here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our March 9th Meeting Briefs

Women of Visions shown here: Ruth Ward, Harriette Merriwether, Tina Brewer, Marica Jackson, Dee Currin, LaVerne Kemp, Christine Bethea and  Elizabeth Asche Douglas

WOV is starting fresh, building a new future for the organization with many wonderful updates to come. At this meeting we agreed to launch a blog that would highlight our activities and the work of our members.  Our new slate of officers elected in November 2013 are the following:
President, LaVerne Kemp
Vice President, Christine Bethea
Treasurer: Elizabeth Asche Douglas
President Emeritus: Marica Jackson

The hottest topic of discussion was our upcoming exhibition which will be held November 21, 2014 through February 1, 2015 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The show is entitled: Storytellers: Truth Be Told! The exhibition is open to women of the African Diaspora residing in NY, VA. WV, OH, DC and PA. The exhibit will showcase the many stories both tragic and uplifting that woman of color live daily. The guidelines for the exhibition can be found on the "Storytellers Prospectus" tab above with a link to online submission site. We at WOV are excited to see the entries!