Month: March 2015

Extraordinary Junior League Members

By Shanna Lisberg

March is National Women’s History Month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Over the years, the Association of Junior Leagues International has had many remarkable members – from First Ladies to authors, actresses, politicians and more. In honor of National Women’s History Month, here are six extraordinary women who have volunteered with the Junior League.

Shirley Temple Black
Known for her curls and dimples, Shirley Temple Black made her first appearance on the silver screen at the age of 4. In 1959 she joined the Junior League of Palo Alto. She would go on to head the Multiple Sclerosis Society, become a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and serve as the U.S Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Nancy Reagan
Not only was Nancy Reagan a First Lady of the United States, a dazzling movie star in the 1950s, and the spokesperson for the “Just Say No” campaign, she was also a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles. She currently supports the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and advocates for embryonic stem cell research.

Julia Child
Before authoring Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child was a member of The Junior League of Pasadena, where she contributed to the League’s magazine. After joining the League in 1935, Julia Child would go on to become a member of the Office of Strategic Service, author numerous cookbooks and star in various television series.

Katharine Hepburn
Katharine Hepburn may have won four Academy Awards for Best Actress, but she was also a member of the Junior League of Hartford. She sought to challenge stereotypes about women and campaigned for women’s issues during her time with the League. An advocate for reproductive rights, she also spoke out against anti-Communism in Hollywood in the 1940s

Eleanor Roosevelt
The longest-serving First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt was a member of the Junior League of the City of New York. After being introduced to the league by her friend, Junior League founder Mary Harriman, Eleanor Roosevelt worked with Junior League volunteers to improve living conditions for immigrants on the Lower East Side. Eleanor Roosevelt was a delegate to the United Nations and served on the UN Commission on Human Rights, where she oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Margaret Hamilton
You may know her best as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, but Margaret Hamilton was also a member of the Junior League of Cleveland. Trained as a teacher, Margaret Hamilton worked with children’s theatre programs and was an advocate of causes to benefit children and animals.

Visit the Junior League of Seattle’s website or The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. to learn more about these and many other amazing Junior League women.

High Stakes Fun with Boardwalk Empire Game Night

Boardwalk Empire Game NightBelieve it or not we are less than four weeks away from the 2015 JLS Boardwalk Empire: Game Night!  Come support the Junior League’s commitment to its mission — including community initiatives and volunteer training efforts — at one of the most popular fundraising events on the JLS calendar.  Get dressed in your Jersey shore or Atlantic City best and be part of hotsy-totsy high stakes fun: test your architectural skills with a game of life-sized Jenga, perfect your toss with a round of cornhole, and try your luck with other boardwalk-style games.   The evening will also feature a DJ, live entertainers, silent auction, raffle and wine toss – everyone is sure to walk away a winner!  

Over $7K in prizes have already been secured for Boardwalk Empire Night including a $400 gift card to Skoah, Sounders tickets, $300 in products and services from Ann Fisher Hair, EMP tickets, and great items from Matthews Winery, Desert Sun Tanning, Starbucks, Ethan Stowell restaurants, Pepper Bridge/Amavi Winery and more.  Whoop it up and don’t miss your chance to win some awesome prizes!  Join the Facebook event page for updates on prizes, entertainment and more.  


Who: You!  And all of your friends and family (League members or not).  Anyone 21+ looking for a fun way to spend a Friday night and support the JLS.

What: JLS Game Night: Boardwalk Empire

When: Friday, April 10, 2015 – 7:00pm – 10:00pm.  

Where: 415 Westlake – 415 Westlake Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109

Tickets:  $35 advance purchase on the JLS website – Includes complimentary beverage, hors d’eouvres, and a ticket to the best game night in Seattle! Tickets will be sold at the door for $50 on an as-available basis.

An Evening of Art and Conversation: Three Perspectives

Last month, a few dozen Junior League of Seattle members, along with several guests, congregated at the Woodside / Braseth Gallery for an evening of art and conversation focused on northwest art and artists.  John Braseth, the owner, warmly welcomed visitors and led a tour of the beautiful space.   Jessica, Meredith and Katharine, JLS members, left this event feeling inspired and eager to share their thoughts about art.

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Jessica

I would consider myself to be someone who appreciates fine art, but most certainly not an expert or collector. As we walked through the current Jared Rue exhibit, and stopped to learn about the other Northwest artists also on display, John touched upon a topic that had recently crossed my mind: how does one begin an art collection?

I have been fortunate enough to see renowned pieces in museums, galleries, and even private homes. However, the idea of purchasing a piece of “real” art–meaning, a bigger investment than custom framing on a print that I bought from a One Kings Lane sale–has always seemed a bit intimidating. Original artwork can be very expensive, and what do I know about investing in art, anyway? However, John emphasized that collecting can really begin anywhere–and that a personal attachment to the artist’s work is the most important element. Building a collection goes beyond whether or not something matches your home decor. It’s about the emotional ties that a buyer feels about the piece, and patronage of an artist can start small. While this all seems pretty obvious as I type it out, I realized that I’d attributed too much importance to the notion that art collecting needs to be done in a certain way–which inherently made starting a collection seem daunting and prohibitively expensive. While I didn’t walk out of the Woodside / Braseth Gallery with a painting in hand, the evening inspired me to further explore the amazing art of the Pacific Northwest–and made me hopeful about eventually bring an original piece into my home.

Meredith

For me, Northwest Art is the heart of the Junior League of Seattle.  Perhaps, it’s because the Northwest Art committee was my first placement with the League.  But I don’t think that is the only reason.  I’ve witnessed how a quiet, shy classroom of 6th graders can come alive while discussing a piece of art.  I’ve walked around a classroom and listened to students debate “what the artist really meant.”  As docents, the Northwest Art volunteers prompt the students with questions similar to the following: Art2

  • What do you see?
  • What does it make you think about?
  • How do you feel when you look at the artwork?
  • What do you think the artist was feeling when (s) he made this piece?

Ultimately, the docents are encouraging the classroom to explore and discover the art and the artist.  Very rarely, will students state that they love or hate the art work.  They manage to be open- minded and very honest about what they see.  Part of me wonders if their open mindedness is because they aren’t thinking about the art as something they would or wouldn’t own.  They are just seeing it and appreciating the art for exactly what it is: Art.

Spending the evening with NW Art at the Woodside/Braseth Gallery was lovely.  And listening to John Braseth talk about the history of the gallery and his experience with art, art patrons, and artists, was fascinating.  But I couldn’t help but miss the excitement of the classroom.  Maybe we are all ladies now, and a bit too refined to shoot up our hands or shout out what the paintings make us feel.  Maybe we are scared that we’ll get it wrong.  What if I don’t like the painting but the person next to me loves it?  Or we worry about buying the perfect piece of art.  I’m realizing that we, as adults, are missing out on what the Northwest Art docents are encouraging classrooms to do:  Explore and discover the art and the artist.  Very rarely will you walk into a gallery or museum where someone will prompt you with questions about the art.  We need to train ourselves to ask the questions and really see the art.  We need to be curious and explorative and seek out the art of discovery.  Love the piece or don’t love the piece, but still appreciate the art.

Katharine

As someone who has grown up as a daughter of an artist and has been experiencing life through art for 30+ years, I am always fascinated by learning how other people’s lives have been changed by art. I majored in Art History in college but left school feeling that “art” had a different meaning to everyone. We can analyze a piece to death and know all about the time in which it was created and what the artist was thinking, but none of that really matters if you hate the piece or feel nothing when you see it. Art3

What I appreciated most about the NW Art Training at the Woodside/Braseth Gallery was listening to the owner, John, speak about one piece in particular that made him realize how art can create a physical reaction. This is Morris Graves’ “The Wounded Gull” created in 1943.

Graves created the painting during WW2 to communicate the darkness of war. John said that he first saw “The Wounded Gull” as a very young man, and it was the first time in his life that he realized art didn’t have to be pretty in order to make you feel something. He commented that it is not necessarily the type of piece that everyone wants to have in their living room, but it is something that makes you think or even better, it is something that makes you feel.

I think that many people see art as a way to decorate. That is a completely natural response. But when you first experience having an emotional or visceral reaction to a piece of art, you are forever changed and never look at art the same way. I am so thankful to have been able to see a little bit of what the NW Art program is all about. Spreading the appreciation of original creative works to people who would not normally get to experience it, is a huge task and one that massively impacts a community of growing minds.

John’s call to action is what I left with in my mind. Do not be afraid to look at all types of art. Ask yourself if you have a reaction to a piece. And then, support an artist. An art collection can start with a $25 screen print that you purchased from an artist at a First Thursday art walk. It doesn’t have to be the price of a car. Just get out and experience art.

A cornerstone of Junior League of Seattle is the many diverse training opportunities for its members.  The NW Art Evening of Conversation is just one unique example.  The League also offers trainings in everything from legislative advocacy, to running effective business meetings, to living a balanced life.  If you are interested in joining the Junior League of Seattle, please read more on the JLS website about the upcoming Meet & Greets for prospective members.