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Jun 9, 2015

Artsy Girls at 14

Liz Ball hosted our 14th Anniversary event last night

Liz Ball hosted our 14th Anniversary event last night

Liz Ball of TFI Envision hosted 20+ Artsy Girls at her magnificent home in Stamford last night. Our quarterly events are occasions for women who are nationally recognized for their creative talents to gather, be inspired and share successes.

An hour or so into our networking I ask each woman to introduce herself and present a brag, something she’s proud to share with the group. Last night these ranged from Kathryn Doherty’s announcement of her winning first prize for painting in a French competition to Ilene Strizver‘s explanation of her font designs for seniors.

Winning painter Kathryn Doherty in France

Winning painter Kathryn Doherty in France

One introduction that got a huge laugh was from a children’s book illustrator (I’ll allow her to break her own anonymity if she wishes…) that she was in peri-retirement. I’m pretty sure you’d have to be a woman to appreciate the brilliance of this statement.

Two of our members recently attended BEA and bragged about that experience.

Page McBrier Morrison and Marisabina Russo at Book Expo

Page McBrier Morrison and Marisabina Russo at Book Expo

We also benefited from a talk that Liz, President and Creative Director of TFI, presented on organizing files and labeling. This doesn’t sound nearly as inspired as it truly was. We were a rapt audience because everyone there understood how vital it is to be clear about how we save our creative work. JPEG1 or Opus8 isn’t going to cut it when the gallery owner or editor is receiving files from multiple creatives.

I started this group in July of 2001. I had written a letter (pre-email!) and sent it in stamped envelopes to a few dozen of my most celebrated colleagues. Here’s how I put it:

For years now I’ve wanted to get all my creative friends together for a soiree, but thought I’d first need to redecorate, learn gourmet cooking and install surround sound in my living room. Bag that! Instead, how about joining me at my favorite restaurant for an evening of great women, great food and creative exchanges?

There were 20 of us that first night. At the end of our time together, Beverly Ellsley pulled me aside and said, “We have to keep doing this. Let’s have the next one at my house,” which we did 3 months later. We’ve been meeting quarterly ever since. Beverly has hosted us at least a dozen times!

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I leave these evenings completely filled up by the beauty of my dear friends, the intimacy of our connections and the excitement that is generated when we’re together.

I’m so grateful to Liz for her hospitality and generosity in hosting us, and to my dear Artsy Girls who thrill me more each time we meet.




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  1. Elizabeth H Cottrell (@ElizCottrell)

    There is nothing quite as nourishing as out-of-the-office time with smart, creative women. Kudos to you, Jane, for having the vision and the gumption to pull it off all those years ago. There’s no telling how many great ideas bubbled forth from that creative cauldron. I wish your friend Liz would publish an ebook on her organizing, filing, and labeling system.

  2. janepollak

    @ElizCottrell – We’re talking about having her give us a ‘real’ lecture on this subject. Perhaps an ebook to follow…I believe we’re all looking for community as virtual becomes more and more pervasive. I want to see and touch people over and above being in touch. Thanks so much for your comments…always.


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