Saturday, October 29, 2016

Day in the Life of a NMWA Volunteer

This is Jam. She is one of our friendly Junior League of Washington volunteers at National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA). The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the achievements of women artists. JLW has been involved with NMWA since 1982.

Our volunteers serve in numerous capacities at the museum, including assisting with events and concerts; today, Jam is at the museum’s information desk.

At the information desk, our volunteers are the first impression of the museum, providing visitors with information on new exhibitions, current works on display, and other information. 

Here, Jam is showing a visitor what is on each floor in the museum. The museum is home to many wonderful pieces by √Člisabeth Louise Vig√©e-LeBrun, Amy Sherald, and many other women artists.

Here, Jam poses for a photo with her favorite piece in the collection, Untitled #781 by Petah Coyne, located on the third floor of the museum. This untitled work is part of a series of white-and-pink wax sculptures that resemble rococo chandeliers, voluminous skirts, or dresses.  After forming the underlying wire structure, Coyne tied satin ribbons to the wire and poured layers of wax over the surface.

Of her volunteer experience, Jam says, “I'm passionate about volunteering at NMWA because I've always been captivated by stories of real-life experiences and art created by women is an extension of that. These women artists were some of the first female entrepreneurs on record in a male-dominated field, all while (in some instances) being a mother, wife, and, of course, skilled at their craft. I didn't expect to learn that when I first became a volunteer at NMWA. My goal is to make art more accessible to the public by spreading cultural literacy through sharing the stories of women artists.”

Our volunteers receive extensive training on the collection and the museum; those new to the committee for the 2016-2017 year (pictured below) are learning about Sarah Bernhardt’s After the Storm (ca. 1876). 

Come visit Jam and our NMWA Committee volunteers and see the museum’s newest exhibition, NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, which showcases works by 37 emerging and established women artists who range in age from 31 to 87, hail from 16 countries, and work in various media, but together strive to challenge viewers’ perceptions of the female form and traditional definitions of artistic process. NO MAN’S LAND is an exhibition aptly named, for many of these artists have ventured into a world in which traditional rules are ignored, boundaries are pushed, and imagination becomes reality. The exhibit is on display through January 8, 2016, and you can visit for free on one of NMWA’s Community Days: November 6 and December 4.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 Facts that Prove Literacy Changes Lives

by Kara Roney, Vice Chair of Public Relations and New Media Committee

October is National Book Month – and in honor of this month, we are sharing some of the reasons why books – and literacy – are so important to us. The Junior League of Washington (JLW) believes that literacy is a critical component to a safe and successful life, and so we devote volunteer time and resources year-round to assist local organizations in their efforts to improve literacy in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region.

Don’t know how lucky you are to be able to read this blog post? Check out some key statistics and facts on literacy below, and see how we’re getting involved to help in DC.

1.      One in four children in America grow up without learning how to read. JLW’s reading initiatives like Resolution Read put resources in place to combat this statistic, including improving access to reading materials in the home, school, and local libraries.

2.      There is a high correlation between illiteracy and crime or poverty. Two thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

3.      Students who do not read on grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. JLW volunteers provide reading and literacy support on a weekly, one-on-one basis to children through the Reading All Stars program at 826DC in Columbia Heights. 826DC’s goal is to help all students read at or above their grade level, and serve as informal mentors for a lifelong love of reading.

4.      Low-income students are less prepared for school – they are more than four times as likely to enter kindergarten lacking language skills on par with their peers.

5.      In a 2015 study, only 15% of DC’s low-income fourth graders could read proficiently. Nationwide, that statistic is even worse, at only 20%. JLW volunteers serve as tutors for the Horton’s Kids tutoring program, which provides academic support for children who live in the Anacostia neighborhood of southeast DC, and for Literacy Lab, which focuses on reading skills at the DC General Family Emergency Shelter.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to hear updates on our work promoting literacy in and around the DC community.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

In October, We Shop Pink

As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time for all women to come together to raise money, share social media posts, and donate our time to volunteer at a walk or rally to support those battling breast cancer and those we have lost to this serious and deadly disease. On Monday, September 26 – to kick off the month – Junior League of Washington supported breast cancer awareness and research by hosting a “pink shopping spree” to raise money.

Jewelry designer Kendra Scott, a longtime supporter of the Junior League, launched the Breast Cancer Awareness Rose Gold Roadshow this month to support patients and survivors. Each piece purchased will be matched and gifted to a local breast cancer patient or survivor through Breast Care for Washington and the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

JLW members were able to preview Kendra Scott’s fall collection while they wrote notes of encouragement, inspiration, and support to local breast cancer patients and survivors at JLW headquarters (see photos). These heartfelt notes were an opportunity to give emotional support to fighters and survivors in addition to participating in the roadshow.

The benefit of this JLW Shops! Event didn’t end there. A portion of the proceeds from shopping that night went directly back to JLW – supporting our mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and giving back to the Washington, DC, community. Thank you to all those who attended and shopped in support of the League and breast cancer awareness.

And to those of you who have fought, are currently battling, or have a loved one currently fighting breast cancer – our thoughts are with you this month and throughout the year.