Thursday, May 5, 2016

The NLAPW Biennial Conference: A Joyous Balancing Act and I Loved Every Minute of It!

A Joyous Balancing Act and I Loved Every Minute of It!

Although I have been an Artist Member of the National League of American Pen Women for many years I have never attended a Biennial until this year. I have to admit that half of the draw was the location. I LOVE DC and the fact that 2 of my 3 children live there made the idea of attending even sweeter. I could combine Biennial time with family time. Little did I know how much of my family would ultimately end up in DC for that weekend! My husband, his two brothers and sister-in-law added to my own children and their significant others made for an Applebaum invasion. But luckily our Nation’s Capitol provided plenty of entertainment or work for everyone, so I was free to go hang out with the creatives! Armed with my trusty iPhone onto which I had downloaded the DC Metro map and walking maps of the Dupont Circle Neighborhood, and an assortment of rain-gear I set out daily to join the most creative group of women that I have ever encountered. 

And they were not just creative, they were accomplished, and confidant in their abilities. And so willing to share. I loved the presentation on Computer Sculpting/3-Printing and was amazed by how many of our older members ( 70+ ) were working in those programs. Innovation is not bound by age. And the breadth of knowledge that one women had on the role of the WASP in WWII was incredible and I think she could have talked for another hour. Her technical set-up failed her and we were disappointed to not see the WWII photos, but she had enough knowledge of her subject to overcome the difficulties and carry on.

And the Painted Sounds presentation was extraordinary and something we should look at doing for our own branch. And yes, I am working on a painting based on one of the poems. I was also impressed by the Art Shows 2-d and 3-d, and the stately settings for both. Pictured here is CNY Pen Women Barbara Baum's oil painting (she made our banner too, which is held by our President Janet). Rachael Ikins and Ilene Layow were both represented in the PW Art Competition as well. Rachael's pencil drawing drew many favorable comments and Ilene's fused glass piece fairly glowed at the Pen Arts Reception.

Many years ago (probably around 1999) I arrived on the doorstep of the Pen Arts Building with my husband and three little children in tow. I introduced myself and family to a very surprised and gracious Judith Lafourest, who was at that time our NLAPW President. She gave us some lemonade and a tour of the building. What a treat to see her so many years later at the Biennial and to discover that she remembered me and my family. I have a feeling that not many other people show up unannounced on the doorstep of the Pen Arts Building with 3 kids in tow. No wonder she remembered us!

The Biennial provided opportunities to meet artists, composers and writers from all over the country. It also gave us (CNY Branch) time to bond as a group and I loved the goofy moments as well as the recognition we received at the Letters Luncheon. The opportunity to sneak away for a bit to see the National Gallery with Wendy and Rachael was a treat.  I wish we could have had one day to just all sightsee together! And Bobbie Panek and I need to do more press conferences together. teehee

Pictured below with Bobbie, me, and author Jackie Mitchard is Sheila Byrnes, our Biennial Chair and CNY Member and now one of our National VP's. Sheila did a fabulous job organizing activities, meetings, food etc. What a powerhouse! I hope she had a chance to take a needed break after all the work was done.

Although I enjoyed journalist Cokie Roberts take on Vinnie Ream,  Jackie Mitchard’s speech probably touched me the most. Jackie’s syndicated column got me through those years of balancing raising a family with feeding my creative soul. 

And speaking of balance, at the end of each day I had the opportunity to spend time with my family. As my family is all scattered across the country we try to catch family time whenever possible. So at the Biennial I found myself doing what I always do: balancing family and my creative self. 

And I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Except maybe to have had the "Applebaums West" (Mike and Kristi ) with us. But that's an adventure that's coming up soon!

And if you want to know more about The National League of American Pen Women click on the link!