K.A. Letts at Motor Row in Chicago March 13

PHENOMENA-Group-Exhibition-at-Motor-Row-GalleryK.A. Letts will show her work in a group show entitled Phenomena at Motor Row Gallery, March 13 through April 12, 2015.  Opening reception is on Friday, March 13, 5-9.  There will be live music, a beer tasting, and most importantly, lots of art in this funky new pop-up gallery on Chicago’s near South Side.

Other artists in Phenomena include Melanie Adcock, James Deeb, Christine Fomi, Kennedy Shenberg, Pamela Staker, Bryan Sperry, Angela Komperda, Bruce Bielek and Suzanne Weaver.


WCAMI Member Marianne Letasi Curates Heart and Soul

Letasi curated show copy

From April 10 to May 8, 2015, 11 talented artists will be exhibiting their latest work both inside and outside of the Downriver Arts Council Building, 81 Chestnut, Wyandotte, MI 48192.  Curator Marianne Letasi has assembled a group of well known and accomplished artists from the area who will show sculpture, installation, collage,  ceramics and painting.

Opening Reception: April 10, 2015,  6-9 p.m.

For more information contact: mletasi@mac.com

phone: 313-303-2942



WCAMI member Martine MacDonald at Downriver Arts and Crafts Guild

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Martine MacDonald, WCA member and a well-known local artist and instructor at Wayne County Community College, will speak at the free meeting of the Downriver Arts and Crafts Guild, set for 6:30 p.m. March 3 at Southgate Veterans Memorial Library, 14680 Dix-Toledo Road.

MacDonald, who will jury the guild’s member show, works in a variety of media including oils, colored pencil and mixed media, in a wide range of subject matter. She is a graduate of Wayne State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in studio art. Her drawings and paintings can be found in galleries, exhibitions and private and corporate collections. In addition to creating her own work, she teaches art classes at Wayne County Community College.

At the meeting, guild members can bring in two of their original pieces and MacDonald will critique each piece. At the end, she will bestow her “Arti Marti” award to one of the members.

The meeting will include news on upcoming shows, classes and workshops, followed by a snack provided by the members and then jurying.

WCAMI member Carol Morris curates “Art from the Hood”

Carol Morris is the driving force behind a new initiative to show art in the Burns Park neighborhood of Ann Arbor. The show, which opened on January 9, includes artists Jane Bunge, Julie Cohen, Pam Hoffer, Samah Majadha, Carol Morris, Julie Renfro, Mike Sivac.  For more on Art in the Hood:   http://bit.ly/1IGGVq7

WCAMI Members Linda Mendelson and Jerrie Sasson at Woods Gallery

Jerrie Sasson and Linda Mendelson at Woods GalleryWCA members Jerrie Sasson and Linda Mendelson will be showing their work in a special group exhibition that celebrates women in the Detroit arts, as well as marking the 30th year of arts at the Woods Gallery. Show dates: January 5 – February 17 during regular Huntington Woods Public Library hours with a special meet-the-artists reception on January 23, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.   A silent auction of donated art will be held during the reception to fund  repairs of the Gallery after the flooding of 2014.

Interview with K.A. Letts for Femmes Folles

I was contacted recently by arts writer Sally Deskins for an interview in the online  journal Femmes Folles about being a  woman artist in the Midwest. Deskin, who also writes for the Pittsburgh Articulate, asks some probing questions about making and showing art in this region. For the full interview, go to:

First Gathering of 2015 in Pictures

Thank you to the many artists and friends who showed up to our first gathering of 2015. Some stopped by to say hi, other stayed to make art. The cozy affair took place at Brenda Oelbaum’s, president of the national WCA, studio.

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During this event 18 artists completed almost 40 pieces that will be sent to the national conference in NYC this February and will be on display for purchase at the Lifetime Achievement Award Gala to raise funds to support the Women’s Caucus for Art. For tickets to this event or to attend the conference visit: http://nationalwca.org/applicants/raffle.php

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Michigan Artist Wins WCA National 2015 President’s Award for Art and Activism

Petra Kuppers, a professor at the University of Michigan, has won the prestigious 2015 President’s Award for Art and Activism. Kuppers is a disability culture activist and performance artist, and heads the Olimpias, a performance research collective (www.olimpias.org). She is the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of disability and the arts. Her most recent monograph, Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape,  explores the Olimpias’ arts-based research methods.  She is also the author of a new textbook, Studying Disability Arts and Culture: An Introduction.

The Michigan Chapter of WCA has purchased an ad congratulating Petra Kuppers and the other Lifetime Achievement Awardees, Sue Coe, Kiki Smith and Martha Wilson.  The ad will be published in the program of the  National WCA Conference in New York City this year.  Donations to cover the cost of the ad will be accepted with thanks at the Annual Holiday Party at Brenda Oelbaum’s studio on January 4.  For more information on donating, contact: brendaoelbaum@gmail.com

WCAMI Artists debate the pros and cons of Artprize at Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame

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On October 26, 2014 at the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in Lansing MI, six WCAMI artistswho have previously shown their work at Artprize met with WCAMI general membership to discuss the pros and cons and ins and outs of participation in the event. The artist panelists quickly revealed that their reasons for entering the event–and their strategies for getting the most benefit from it–were as diverse as their work.

Artprize is characterized by two competitive tracks. There is a juried prize and a people’s choice prize, both now offering equivalent prize money. Depending on the goals of the individual artist, each calls for a different strategy in terms of the work produced, choice of venue and any campaigning via social media that the artist may choose to do. Engagement wiht the public is encouraged if the artist hopes to get the people’s choice award, while competitors for the juried prize are actively discouraged from engagement with the public via social media or in person. According to Darlene Kaczmarczyk, a professor at Kendall College of Art, a Grand Rapids native and 5 year veteran of the event, it is felt by the jurors that work for the juried prize should be judged independently from the social performance of the artist.

Abstract painter Jerrie Sasson laid out the general procedures for participation which requires payment of an entry fee. Then the artist sets up a page with a portfolio of work. Somewhat in the manner of an online dating service, the Grand Rapids businesses look for work that is a good fit for them and contact the artist through the website to arrange for installation. Sasson especially valued the opportunity to use social media to connect with the viewers. She enjoyed engaging with the public and said that she also felt it was her duty and privilege as an artist to reach out to educate and engage Artprize visitors.

Brenda Oelbaum also felt that engagement from the public with her work and the issues that surround it was critical to the success of her art project. A self-described “fat activist”, she said that setting up her installation in a book store gave her the ideal location in which to subvert the message of diet books and allowed her to observe the reaction of the public in real time.

Darlene Kaczmarczyk was most interested in the juried track of the competition in order to get the attention of arts professionals for her ironic ad-related pictures. She cautioned against depending solely on the website venues in favor of contacting possible sponsors directly before the process begins. For her most recent  Artprize project she had even gone so far as to take a picture of the venue and photo-shop her work in to give a convincing visual of the projected work, a strategy that was successful for her. She mentioned that some venues were more likely to get juror’s attention than others. (Also, not all of the locations are visited by the jurors; the art works are more or less “pre-curated” by local art professionals before the jurors arrive.)

Marilyn Bomarito also had approached the venues outside of the web site to find space; she was successful in finding a location for her mosaic sculpture and was very pleased to find that other artists were introduced to her work through Artprize. She concluded that Artprize increased her credibility as an artist to other artists and made her feel that more ambitious, larger work was in her reach.

Margaret Parker also felt that Artprize helped her to conceive larger and more ambitious work. She found a plaza location near a monumental Calder sculpture that called for a piece more architectural than sculptural in scale. With the enormous space in mind, she rented warehouse space and hired help and marshaled volunteers for help in fabricating and installing the large and colorful work that resembled a kind of multi-chambered gazebo, or as Parker laughingly put it “a giant bundt pan”.

All the panelists felt that Artprize was well worth the time, effort and expense. From a re-framing of one’s artistic ambition, to social engagement with the public or other artists, to garnering professional critical attention, each artist felt she had benefited substantially, though how that was defined varied with the individual.

For more information on Artprize, go to their very informative website: http://www.artprize.org