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Colorado Chapter

Letter from the WCACO President
Melody Epperson and Shara Oliman

January 2024

Board Members 

Melody Epperson – President

Shara Oliman President

Jean Smith – Treasurer and Membership Coordinator

Leslie Lefferdink- Treasurer

Deb Deal-Blackwell– Secretary

Lyndy Bush – Member at Large

Gloria Campbell – Member at Large

Jenn Merz CQ – Member at Large

Rona-  Regional Director

Dear WCACO Members,


As we close out the 2023 year, we want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season and new year!  The board had the final retreat of the year, and had a chance to discuss all the wonderful accomplishments of our robust organization over the past 12 months.  We are stronger and larger than ever before and have so much to be proud of as an organization.  We want to express our gratitude to all of you for the opportunity we have had to serve on the board and as Co-Presidents.  We are excited for this next phase of our leadership, when we pass the baton to Deborah Deal-Blackwell as incoming Chapter President in January, 2024.  


Below is a list of all we have accomplished as an organization in 2023.  One of our major milestone accomplishments to highlight was becoming an official 501c3 Non-Profit organization.  This list of learning and growing opportunities for our members would not be possible without our volunteers.  From board leadership to committee heads, social media/website gurus, to book club facilitators, it’s pretty amazing what we can accomplish as a community.  We have a multitude of ways to give back to the organization through your time and expertise.  We hope you will consider volunteering in 2024.   


2023: A Year in Review


**We became an official 501c3 Non-Profit**



Murals: Taza Coffee House (3/23-4/23)

Our View: WCACO 2023 Member Show (3/23 - 4/23)

Confluence: Women Artists of the Arkansas River Valley (7/23)

Atmosphere: National call for entry 9/23-10/23

Taking Up Space: A juried exhibit of large work by members 11/23-12/23


Field Trips and WCACO Community Get-Togethers/Communication

Bi-Monthly Book Club gatherings

8 newsletters to our membership

New Member Meet and Greet events (May, September)

Brush Strokes retreat (Jan)

Sally Elliott field trip (Feb)

First Friday Art Walk (Sante Fe District, Apr)

Anne Emmons’ studio tour (May)


Sally Elliott studio visit (July)

Sharks exhibition field trip (July)

Melody Epperson Tree Talks Field Trip (July)

Loveland Sculpture Field Trip (Aug)

CVA Colorado Women to Watch Field trip (Aug)
Melanie Yazzie studio tour (Oct)

Gel Plate print workshop (Nov)

Board Members’ retreat (Dec)

Holiday Party at Leslie Lefferdink’s home (Dec)


Professional Development

Professional development Cohort


Community Outreach and Engagement

Colorado Women’s Day “Wonderful Women in the Arts” Award (March)

Continued Advertisement in Daria Magazine

New Bookmarks

Postcards for Promotion

Adam’s County Cultural Arts Event (May)

Confluence PD event (July)

West Colfax Community Association membership (Ongoing- Thank you Kathy OConner for being our representative)

Follow-up Salida Art Consulting event


Coming Up in 2024


There are exhibits and outreach opportunities already scheduled for this coming year.  We will continue to offer in person opportunities to gather and learn together.  There will be virtual business and committee meetings to be inclusive of our members who live outside of the Denver metro area. This information will be on the WCACO website. 


Here is your proposed 2024 WCACO Board: 


Deborah Deal-Blackwell- President

Joni Inman- Vice President of Community Engagement 

Lynne Muth -Secretary

Jean Smith-Co-treasurer

Leslie Lefferdink-Co-treasurer

Jenn Merz-Member at Large

Gloria Campbell-Member at Large

Lyndy Bush-Member at Large

Committee Heads:

Exhibits: Kelly Austin-Rolo (Annette Coleman and Shell Blanchard, outgoing transitional team) **Volunteer to Co-lead

Diversity: Leslie Lefferdink

Murals: Annette Coleman

Marketing: Deb Deal-Blackwell and Joni Inman

Professional Development: TBD

Book Club: TBD (Deb Deal-Blackwell, outgoing transitional leader) **Volunteer to lead book club


Website Calendar contact: Susan Hershman

Website Lead for troubleshooting: Deb Deal-Blackwell 

Instagram Lead: Judy Doherty

Facebook Lead: Joni Inman

Newletter: Lyndy Bush


Please mark your calendars for these upcoming opportunities, listed on our website.

  • Circle Project: National WCACO initiative, Now - Feb 2024

  • Body of Knowledge: WCACO 2024 Members’ Exhibit, Feb 2- Feb 25, 2024

  • Reflections of Culture: a collaboration with CHAC, Mar 2- April 27, 2024

  • Pressing Matters: A WCACO Mo’ Print Exhibition, Mar 1-30, 2024

  • Body of Knowledge TWO: WCACO 2024 Members' Exhibit, April 19-May 5, 2024

  • Full Circle: A Mentor/Mentee outreach initiative, Apr- June, 2024

  • Trinidad Outreach Exhibition and PD, June-July 2024

  • Get Loud! National Domestic Violence Awareness, Oct 2024

  • Littleton Grant (Littleton women artist PD in 2024 with exhibit in 2025)


Here are some specific volunteer opportunities that we need to fill right now:

  • We will again be sponsoring the “Wonderful Women in the Arts” Award in 2024 and we need a few volunteers to help with the selection process. If you would like to serve as a Juror for the WCACO Wonderful Woman in the Arts Award please contact 2024 WCACO award chair Karen Lausa - The award is also open to non-members and will be presented on March 8, 2024, at  

  • Show Committee Co-chair with Kelly Austin-Rolo - Oversee the show schedule and support curators.

  • Professional Development leader- facilitate learning opportunities for our members

  • Book Club leader- select books and facilitate book club 4 times a year


Meetings will continue to be held four times a year via ZOOM.  These will be held on the third Wednesday of that month at 6:00 pm. 


2024 Business Meeting Schedule:


January 17th, 6 pm via Zoom

April 17th, 6 pm via Zoom

July 17th, 6 pm via Zoom

October 16th, 6pm via Zoom


The other months we will be sending out a newsletter. Since this will be our primary way to share information about shows, professional development opportunities, and social/other gatherings, it is important for you to read those newsletters. The great benefit of a newsletter is you can read it at your leisure and refer back to it whenever you want. We will also occasionally send email reminders for special events and posting dates and events on our social media platforms. If you are not following us please do that. 


Public Facebook group:



Website change for “Our Artist Members”


In 2024 we will start a new and better way of showcasing your art!  The “Our Artist Members” section of our website will soon be replaced with a ONE-page directory listing every member’s name, their preferred art medium(s), and a re-direct link to each member’s own website, FACEBOOK page, Instagram, or other personal Internet platform. Why are we making this change?  Because it will bring YOU more traffic to YOUR individual platforms, and it will also make it easier for art patrons to find you either by your name or as part of an art genre or medium category. This approach will also make it easier to maintain information about ALL of our current members. Our membership has doubled in recent months and finding one or more members to donate their valuable time to the upkeep of 150 individual pages on the WCACO website has become problematic. More information about this change is coming soon. 

It has been an honor to serve in a leadership capacity for the WCACO.  Again, thank you to all who have volunteered in both large and small ways.  Your contribution makes all the difference to our chapter.  We are so excited to see how 2024 unfolds and we hope to see you all, in person soon!


With gratitude for this wonderful community and excitement for the new year,


Shara Oliman and Melody Epperson

WCACO Co-Presidents

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