Some members of the First Sunday Women Artists Group at a dinner gathering on May 1, 2016 at Peggy Fleming's.
Front Row from left- Bodil Meleney, Elaine Langerman, Lynda Smith-Bugge, Susan Feller, Peggy Fleming, Margaret Paris.
Back Row from left- Sonia Friedman, Dominie Nash, Maxine Taylor, Roberta Morgan, (Roberta's sister-Jean Morgan), Nancy Frankel.
This History of the group and relevant exhibition catalogues are deposited at the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Irc@nmwa.org 6 May 2016
"HISTORY of “FIRST SUNDAY WOMEN ARTISTS” by Zinnia.
Peggy Fleming is a contributor.
FIRST SUNDAY WOMEN ARTISTS has stayed vital for over 23 years. Theirs is an interesting history. The First Sunday Women Artists must also be seen in a larger historical perspective: what was the status of women artists in Washington DC in the 1990s? At the time the First Sunday Women Artists began, the status for women was improving thanks to the hard work of the founding members of the group.
Several members of the founding group met at the Washington Women’s Art Center (WWAC) started in the 1970’s to give women a place to exchange ideas, develop their art and have exhibitions. All the women in the founding group were leaders in the political world of Washington Art as well as very fine artists. These women were willing to take the time to work for the benefit of the artists’ community.
In 1983 the Washington Coalition of Artists was founded by Rockne Krebs and Sam Gilliam to protest the status of artists in Washington. They pointed out that artists supported a whole industry - critics, curators, museums, galleries - but the artists had no power. The Coalition brought them together. They began to discuss if there was something that could be called Washington Art and how they could put Washington Art on the map. J.W. Mahoney, the artist and art critic, thought he could do for Washington what Clement Greenberg had done for the Color School. He identified a group he called Signals and he made a map of where Washington artists fell on the continuum from abstract to figurative.
In 1991 the Coalition of Washington Artists held an event to help artists form affinity groups. Each artist brought postcards of her/his work and put them up on a large wall. The artists moved the art postcards around to find work that they thought related to their own work. It is from this exercise that ‘The Continuum Group’ was born.
Ellen Gordon Gordon, Nancy Frankel, Phyliss Hoffman, Sheila Rotner, Elizabeth Whiteley and Zinnia found affinity and named themselves Continuum. The women met regularly to discuss their art. In 1993, September 14 – November 12, The Continuum Group had a show at Art Deco Gallery, 800 K Street NW, Washington, DC. *
A short while after The Continuum Exhibition, Phyliss Hoffman suggested that the group expand to include what I have referred to as the core group. Continuum was the immediate predecessor of the First Sunday Women Artists group. The Continuum group felt they benefitted from the opportunity to discuss their work and that more artists would also enjoy that possibility. At first they met at the Peacock on Connecticut Avenue near the intersection with Nebraska Avenue. Finally the women began meeting in each other’s homes or studios for potluck dinners. When possible, the group meets and sets up a dining table at a gallery when a member has a solo show.
LORRAINE ARDEN Washington Art Spirit group. Lorraine published a directory of Washington artists.
NANCY FRANKEL Sculptor. Studio Gallery, Washington, DC [1979 – present]. Adjunct Professor of Sculpture, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD. [1975 – 1995]. Member of Continuum.
PHYLISS HOFFMAN Painter, printmaker, collage artist. Adjunct Professor in the Art Department, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD.[1974 – 1982] Jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, DC [1970-1973]. Wolfe Street Gallery, Alexandria, VA. [1975-1976]. Ethel Putterman Gallery, Cape Cod, MA. [1972 – 1978]. Plum Gallery, Kensington, MD. [1980 – 1991]. Society of Washington Printmakers, Washington, DC [1973 – 1978]. Phyliss ran the first Open studio held in the Maryland suburbs in 1992, 1993. Member of Continuum.
PHYLLIS JACOBS Painter. A Salon, Washington, DC [1988 – 1994]. The Artists Gallery, Frederick, MD. [1994 – present]. Instructor: Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. – Art history and drawing [1961 – 1962]; Atlanta College of Art, GA. - Anatomy for artists, figure drawing, abstract drawing [1966 – 1971]. Art reviewer. Won the Pollock-Krasner award for painting. Board member of EyeWash.
BODIL MELENEY Sculptor. Writer. Studio Gallery, Washington, DC [1986 – 1989]. Member - Washington Women’s Art Center [1977 - 1982]. Executive Director, DC Slide Registry of Artists, Washington, DC [1979 – 1985]. Assistant to the Dean and President of Maryland College of art and Design, Silver Spring, MD [1987 – 1989]. Executive Director for Arts for the Aging, Washington, DC [1990 – 2002].
MARGARET PARIS Photo Media artist. Studio Gallery, Washington, DC [1983 – 1990]. Montana Gallery, Alexandria, VA [1991 – 1993]. Through the Lens Gallery, Durham, NC [2010 – present]. Instructor: Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC, Visual Arts Department [1974 - 2003]; Georgetown University, Washington, DC Lecturer, Creative Photography 1 & II [1985 – 2003]. Founder of the Washington Center of Photography. Board member of Washington Women’s Art Center. Board member of EyeWash.
TERRY PARMELEE Founding member of the Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington, DC. Board member of the Coalition of Washington Artists (CWA). Board member of EyeWash. Art reviewer.
SHEILA ROTNER Painter and Wall Sculptor. Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC [1984 – 1997]. Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington, DC [2004 – present]. Designed and oversaw the building of the WWAC new space at the Landsburg Center. Coordinator for the All Washington Show in 1985 protesting the group show of Washington Artists at the Corcoran. Co-creator of video of the demonstration protesting the censorship of Mapplethorpe’s work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Founding member of EyeWash. Art reviewer. Member of Continuum.
RIMA SCHULKIND Multi Media sculptor. [1931 - 2016] Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC [1977 – 2016]. Steering Committee of Art-o-Matic.
MAXINE TAYLOR Painter. Foundry Street Studios and Gallery, Historic Savage Mill, Savage, MD. [1987 – 1991]. Studio Gallery Washington, DC [1991 – 1996]. Montage Gallery, Baltimore, MD. [2003 – 2010]. Hamilton Gallery, Baltimore, MD. [2013 – present]. MAXgallery [owner/director], Baltimore, MD. [2013 – present]
ELIZABETH WHITELEY Fine artist and designer. Bluestocking Studio, York Beach, Maine [2004 – 2011]. Chevy Chase Gallery, Washington, DC . Foxhall Gallery, Washington, DC [2001 – 2011]. J.A.D. Washington, DC [2002 – 2003]. Jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, DC [1990 – 1992]. Susan Calloway Gallery, Washington, DC . The Artists Gallery [TAG], Frederick, MD. [2015 – 2016]. The Ralls Collection, Washington, DC [2009 – 2013]. Founding member of EyeWash. Board member of the Coalition of Washington Artists, Washington, DC. Member of Continuum.
ZINNIA Photographer. Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC [1979 – 1992]. Jones Troyer Gallery, Washington, DC [1992 – 1996]. Chairperson of the All Washington Show. Founding member of EyeWash. Co-creator of video of Mapplethorpe demonstration. Board member of Washington Women’s Art Center. President of Coalition of Washington Artists. Member of Continuum.
The group expanded to include friends of the founding group.
ANNE LARSEN Metalsmith. Jewelry design and fabrication. Instructor: Worchester Center for Craft, Worchester, MA. [1997 – 2003]; Metalwerx, Waltham, MA. [1999 – 2005 and 2010]; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, NY. [2011 – 21014]; Sir John Cass School of Art and Design, London, UK [2004 – 2005]; Crafts Guild of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS. ; Catalog in Motion, Tucson, AZ [2000 – 2004].
MARILYN BANNER Painter. Ceres Gallery, New York City, NY. [1991-20
02 and 2007 – present]. Instructor: Maret School, Washington DC [1971 – 1974]. Green Acres School, Rockville, MD. [1974 – 1976 and 1983 – 1993]
SUSAN FELLER Painter. International Encaustic Artists [2010 – present]. Rockville Art League, Rockville, MD. [2012 - 2013]. The Art League Gallery, Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA. [2009 – 2010]. Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC [2010 - 2012]. Women’s Caucus for Art, Washington, DC. [2008-2009]. Maryland Federation of Art, Annapolis, MD. [2010 -present]
PEGGY FLEMING Photographer/documentary filmmaker. Multiple Exposures Gallery, Alexandria, VA. [1993 – 2010]. The Art League Gallery, The Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA. [1990 – 2010]. The Ralls Collection, Washington, DC. [1999 - 2002] Lexington Art Gallery, Lexington, VA. [1998 – 2002]
SONIA FRIEDMAN Painter. Instructor: Watercolor painting, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD 2000 – 2015; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD. 2000 – 2015; ‘Everyone Can Draw’ Montgomery College, MD [2000 – 2015]; painting Myerberg Senior Center, Northwest Baltimore, MD. [1995 – present].
REBECCA HIRSH Painter. Illustrated the original and revised editions of “The Mother’s Almanac” by Marguerite Kelly, 1975, 1992. Doubleday.
TAZUKO ICHIKAWA Sculptor of wood. Anton Gallery, Washington, DC [1984 – 2000]. Gallery K, Washington, DC [1986, 2001 – 2002].
BEVERLEY KIPPHAN Stained Glass artist. [1940 - 2015] Ice House Artist Co-Op Gallery, Berkeley Springs, WV. [1999 – 2014].
ELAINE LANGERMAN Painter, sculpture, collage, metal point one-of-a-kind artist books. Sebastian-Moore Gallery, Denver, CO. [1979 – 1983]. Gallery K, Washington, DC [1987 -2003]. Docent, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC [1987 – 2005]
MARY VIRGINIA LANGSTON Painter. Gallery 10, Washington, DC [1990 – 2005].
ROBERTA MORGAN Painter. C. Alden Phelps Gallery, Reisterstown, MD. [1989 – 1990]. Studio Gallery, Washington, DC [1993 – 1998]. Sloane Jordan Gallery, Austin TX. [1998 – 2002]. Art Forms Gallery, Red Bank, NJ. [2001 – 2004]. Mallory Gallery, Berkeley Springs, WV. [2004 – 2006]. Coastal Frameshop and Gallery, Rehoboth Beach, DE. [2003 – 2005].
SUNNI MORGAN Painter. Printmaker. Collagist. Student – Montgomery College, Visual Arts Studio Art and Art History, MD. [2002 – present]
DOMINIE NASH Printed stitched textiles.
MARCELLE HARWELL PACHNOWSKI Painter and performance artist.
LYNDA SMITH-BUGGE Sculptor. Galerie Myrtis, Baltimore, MD. [2006 – present]. Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC [2012 – present].
JANET WHEELER Assemblage artist. Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC [1976 – 1980; 1995 – present]. Plum Gallery, Kensington, MD. [1980 – 1990]. Running Ridge Gallery, Santa Fe, NM. [1980’s – 1990]. Obsidian Gallery, Tucson Gallery, AZ. [1985 – 1998]. Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA. [1990 – 19_]
CYNTHIA YOUNG Painter. [died 2015] Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC [1980 – 2015]
And there are members who show up for the dinners from time to time: Maria Barbosa, Alice Bindeman, Ruth Cahnman, Judith Durek, Elizabeth Eberhardt, Claudia Feldman, Ellen Hill, Linda McGrillies, Mara Odette, Rima Shaffer, Carol Sky, Lucy Norman Spencer, Claire Starr, Chana Stein and Yayo Tavolara.
Naturally any group that survives for more than 20 years changes. The members are no longer in their 50s or 60s but in their 70s and 80s. Most are still members of galleries and are exhibiting regularly. The conversations at the dinners always include mention of one’s artwork but now also include mentions of one’s health. The meals are potluck; it is evident that outstanding artists make outstanding food!
Does the group have an artistic identity? It is not a stylistic identity but what brings these women together month after month is the joy of making art that expresses their truths. It is a tribute to the group’s value that most of the founding members are still active participants. Artists always need a forum to discuss new ideas in a supportive environment.
1. “The Search for a Common Language.” School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, Maryland. Nancy Frankel, Phyliss Hoffman, Phyllis Jacobs, Sheila Rotner, Maxine Taylor, Elizabeth Whiteley and Zinnia. 13 April to May 17, 1996. Juror: Mel Chin, New York artist
2. “Five artists/Five decades” Margaret Paris, Nancy Frankel, Sheila Rotner, Phyliss Hoffman, Phyllis Jacobs. Glenview Mansion Gallery, Rockville Civic Center Park, Rockville, MD. September 2002 [catalogue attached]
3. Exploring New Dimensions, The Women’s Caucus for Art of Greater Washington, DC. The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, Frederick, MD. November 2010. Essays by Margaret Paris, Michelle Frazier and Cindy Renteria. [catalogue attached]
4. “Envision: 26 Women at Work”. 7 April to 29 April, 2012. Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center. Frederick MD. Essay about group by Phyllis Jacobs and individual information about each artist. [catalogue attached]
5. “Envision II” Ice House. Berkeley Springs, WV. 30 August to 27 October, 2013.
6. “Collaborations” Glenview Mansion, Rockville, MD. April 3 – 24, 2016
Susan Feller, Peggy Fleming, Nancy Frankel, Rebecca Hirsh, Phyliss Hoffman, Phyllis Jacobs, Anne Larsen, Margaret Paris, Rima Schulkind, Lynda Smith-Bugge and Janet Wheeler.