An Announcement From Janice Sands

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,   

Janice Sands.

As we make our adjustments to 2021, which so far has certainly had its challenges, it is also time for me to communicate news of a new era at Pen and Brush.

Last year was nothing less than a struggle for life—Pen and Brush’s life and mine. In late March, I contracted Covid-19 and was hospitalized for 9 weeks. The recovery is ongoing, but it’s slow and not straight forward. As a result, and after discussion with our President, Nettie Forné Thomas and Associate Executive Director, Dawn Delikat, I have reached the decision to resign my position as Executive Director of Pen and Brush.

Nearly twenty-three years ago, I was hired as Pen and Brush’s first Executive Director. The organization, then a club for women artists and writers, was poised to transform to a true not-for-profit to further the professional standing of women, primarily in the visual and literary arts. I would say there was more desire than knowhow, and it was a rocky transition. What we had was determination and a core group of truly dedicated women who were strong allies. We overcame more obstacles than we could have imagined, and along the way added strong, totally committed board members and a second professional staff member, Dawn Delikat. From then on, Pen and Brush had a team that earned respect from the art world, and attracted artists who only lacked exposure and opportunities to show what they could do. The literary arts were finally integrated in a meaningful way, with the semiannual publication of a literary magazine that showcased writers of literary fiction and poetry.

The past six years have seen wonderful achievements: the buildout of a stunning exhibition space that also serves Pen and Brush’s published writers as a place for public readings, as well as a place where visual artists exhibiting their work at Pen and Brush have come to the attentions of commercial galleries and museums, and have had their work enter the permanent collections of those museums. These are the accomplishments we only dreamed of 20 years ago and I am exceedingly proud that Pen and Brush has been able to achieve them for the one reason that it fulfills our pledge to do all we can for women, who but for their gender, would have the careers their talents merit.

So, as Pen and Brush begins 2021, with state and city funding, and the generous contributions from foundations and individual donors, it’s time for me to step aside and support in any way I can, the career of an exceptionally talented, dedicated, and passionate director, my deputy for the past 12 years, Dawn Delikat, as she assumes the position of Pen and Brush Executive Director. I can no longer fulfill the requirements of that job, but I am delighted to have been elected to the Pen and Brush Board of Directors. From that position, my experience and financial contributions will be available to the organization as and when needed.

I want to express my appreciation for the kindness, support, and collegiality offered to me by so many of you working for the advancement of women in the arts. In the most challenging times, knowing you were there and shared our commitment, kept me going—a gift of immeasurable value. Thank you all and I look forward to seeing you again.
Janice Sands