ART BEAT: Atlanta's 'Pen Women' offer visual art


Special Photo Artist Mary Jane Stone developed this composition from a series of photographs and sketches at Wolf Mountain Vineyard in North Georgia. Her work is on view at St. Edward's Gallery through Sept. 28 along with six other artists.

Seven visual artists representing the National League of American Pen Women, Atlanta branch, are featured in a multi-media exhibition at the gallery at St. Edward's Episcopal Church in Lawrenceville. Twenty-two works of art in oil, watercolor and pastel are on view through Sept. 28.

Participating in this exhibition are Ann Alexander of Gainesville, Jane Carroll of Avondale Estates, Mikki Root Dillon of Lilburn, Mozelle Funderburk of Stone Mountain, Linda Hanks of Stone Mountain, Mary Jane Stone of Marietta and Geri Zaki of Lawrenceville.

The National League of American Pen Women dates back to the late 19th century, when issues of women's equality were stirring females into action. The organization was launched by writers, who invited other creative women to join their group.

The first meeting of The League of American Pen Women was organized by Marian Longfellow O'Donoghue, who wrote for newspapers in Washington, D.C., and Boston. She invited fellow journalists Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborn Hamilton to join her in establishing a "progressive press union" for the female writers of Washington. "The Dauntless Three" brought together 17 women who were writers, novelists, newspaper women, a teacher, a poet and an artist.

According to the minutes of the meeting of June 26, 1897, the founders hoped that these "active pen women" would find in the group, "mutual aid, advice and future development" for each other and their careers.

Professional credentials were required for membership, and the ladies determined that Pen Women should always be paid for their work. Artists and composers were welcomed by their literary sisters. By September 1898, the League boasted more than 50 members "from Maine to Texas, from New York to California." The association became The National League of American Pen Women in 1921 with 35 local branches in various states.

The organization now has more than 2,500 members nationwide. The Atlanta Branch hosts a juried competition for all media, open to all Georgia women artists every two years since 2008. However, the next one will be in 2015, as the National Competition will be held in conjunction with the National Convention in Atlanta in 2014.

The Atlanta group meets every month, with the exception of June-August, for a program and luncheon. Professionals in creative arts fields are welcome to join the NLAPW to advance the individual's creative endeavors. Members are in good company as many prominent women in history have been a part of this organization, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Eudora Welty, Margaret Mitchell, Grandma Moses, Pearl S. Buck, Vinnie Ream and many other creative women.

The Gallery at St. Edward's is free and open to the public. It is located in the chapel at St. Edward's Episcopal Church at 737 Moon Road in Lawrenceville. New hours for viewing the exhibition are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. through noon on Sundays. For more information and to verify daily hours, call 770-963-6128. The gallery is not open on Fridays or Saturdays. For special groups, times may be arranged depending on schedule: call the curator Mikki Root Dillon at 770-923-5110.

For more information about the NLAPW, visit www.nlapw.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts.

Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.


Susan 3 years ago

What a wonderful way for St. Edward's to minister to the community, both for the artists and art lovers.


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