As we sit here in the ninth month of confinement, I look to what brings a little joy into my life. From ancient time, thousands of years ago, mankind direct his energy into something more than hunting and gathering. He invented art. The Caves of Lascaux, France, created by humans around 20,000 years ago, were not a “one-off.” Over 600 wall paintings were done, mostly of animals, some flora, and most importantly, their handprints. This was how they signed their names. I am fortunate to belong to three art groups locally—and instead of painting with my hands, I use a pen.

Artists are always looking for gallery space. With the help of excellent watercolorist, Kay Chowning, the Justice Art League was established two years old this month. I helped; I made buttons. It is in the courthouse of Edgewood. It is free to hang your art with a tag explaining the media. The court is open for business; however with the pandemic, the gallery is closed for public viewing.

Next is Route 66 Arts Alliance. Founded in 2014, this group of talented men and women held art festivals for the Fourth of July and Winter Arts. Today it is led by Sandra Holzman, who paints and works in cloth art. The club is involved with summer arts programs for children and classes for adults. They continue to sponsor art shows. This year art classes were videotaped, and children could access them on the net. In partnership with the town of Edgewood, free art supplies were handed out with the schools’ free lunch program.

Original members of Route 66 Arts, recognized in fine art, dance, and as published authors, Albert and Jennifer Noyer are nationally and locally recognized for excellence. Their works are in galleries all over the East Mountains and Santa Fe. With such talent in the area, it is easy to see why Route 66 Arts Alliance is committed to “providing opportunities for artists to create, educate, network, promote inspire and foster the arts along Route 66 and their communities.” Wow, say that five times fast. If you hanker for music, need to fill your eyes with color, or just read a good story, Route 66 events are for you. And me too.

A few years ago, I got lucky. I made friends with Pauline “Polly” Darges. She is a fantastic artist and a member of The National League of American Pen Women. She invited me to a meeting and the rest is history. Speaking of history, this group was founded by ladies who wrote for magazines and newspapers. In 1897, Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue, the niece of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, you remember, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” the freedom poem. Marian along with Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborn Hamilton founded the group for a progressive press union. Seventeen ladies came together to formed Pen Women. To be a member you needed to be paid for your work. “Makes sense to me!” Social events held during the 20s raised money for properties that they hold today. Their headquarters are an historic site in Washington D.C., where the Pen Arts building also hosts a museum. Today, regardless of age, members may be qualified to join in Letters, Music and the Arts.

Fran Krukar sent along this information, “The Yucca Branch was founded in 1952; then it also started the Yucca Gallery in 1964. At first you needed to be a Pen Women to show your work, but now men also exhibit. This November, Pen Women are having a show. Please remember to wear your mask.” We sponsor prizes for children’s work; field trips, lunches, and friendship, are all part of the fun. And they can cook. That is how I show my Art!

Some of the more famous women to join Pen Women are all the First Ladies of the White House, Georgia O’Keefe, and Dale Evans Rogers. Something for everyone. So, if you need an outlet, write, draw, and dance about it. Send me the video! Roaring Mouse, asking Micky Mouse to join. Out.

Jo White
Jo White

From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at jomouse@aol.com