Happy 25th Birthday WCA/NH!

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2020 is the 25th anniversary of the founding of our NH Chapter. It all started back in 1995 by a handful of women artists, including Gail Smuda. Here’s Gail’s account of the founding and the early years of our organization:

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March of 2020 is the 25th Anniversary of the forming of the New Hampshire Chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art. Adrienne LaVallee, Inez McDermott and I discussed the possibility of forming a chapter for some time prior to that first meeting. A pot luck was held at my house for any and all artists we could think of who might be interested in forming such a chapter.

Many of the women who joined in that initial meeting continue to support WCA/NH and many have held one or more positions on the board over those intervening years.

Our membership continues to grow with regional meetings (sometimes referred to as “PODS”), as well as twice yearly statewide meetings in the spring and fall of each year. There continue to be a variety of exhibition opportunities from the juried to the nonjuried and a yearly National Conference that many of our chapter members attend. This year the national conference was held in Chicago.

The first statewide meeting was held in March of 1995 at New England College and the original goals of the group included education, resources, and networking as well as exhibition opportunities.

Early on we held a fundraising event at St.Anselm College that brought in presenters from lawyers to reps for art materials companies as well as having many other panels and presentations. All presenters donated their time and expertise. Subjects ranged from copyright issues to the latest in art supplies and processes, how to photograph your own work as well as how to create a resume and at that time how to submit slides for exhibitions. The last was an expensive and time consuming proposition. I for one am thrilled with the relative ease of computer entries.

Exhibitions early on included some well known artists as jurors, Harmony Hammond comes to mind, and themes that touched on women’s issues and in one case poetry. That exhibition was based on Jane Kenyon’s, “On Finding a Long Gray Hair” and was held at St. Paul’s School. Donald Hall gave us permission to use the poem and he came to see the exhibit when it traveled to another venue.

The intervening years have seen many changes but it is wonderful to realize that the organization continues to thrive and serve the needs of it’s members 25 years later.

I recently saw a Gloria Steinem quote a portion of which was: “We all know things the other needs”. I feel that is the focus of what WCA is all about.

—Gail Smuda
WCA/NH President 1995 – 1997

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