Pen and Brush arts group changes formula

This month, Pen and Brush, a nonprofit that showcases work by female artists and writers, is celebrating its 120th anniversary by breaking with its past. The organization, which tries to further women’s careers by introducing their work to the public, gallery owners and curators, is changing its selection process as well as how and where the work is shown.

In the past, one judge selected the visual artists and one chose the writers the nonprofit would promote. Now a panel of five experts reviews entries for each discipline.

Executive Director Janice Sands said the new process is more democratic and will create a more diverse pool of work for the public to see. “Using our old model, we weren’t helping women get ahead,” she said. “We needed to get the work out in front of more people.”

Pen and Brush plans to start asking for submissions in April. In a few months, visitors to the organization’s website could start to see some of the written works that the experts choose. Previously, the writers were given a cash prize instead of being published.

Meanwhile, the visual artists will have their work displayed in a new street-level gallery space at 29 E. 22nd St. later this fall. Pen and Brush sold its former townhouse last year.