By Amber Tong
What did Eleanor Roosevelt, Georgia O’Keefe and Helen Keller have in common? They were all members of the National League of American Pen Women.
The Long Island branch of the same organization is hosting a monthlong exhibition at the Shelter Rock Art Gallery in Manhasset, starting with an artist reception at 1 p.m. Sept. 24. Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, the show is free and open to the public.
About 15 members of the NLAPW Long Island branch will be represented in the exhibition. This group of women is composed of sculptors, painters, writers, photographers, musicians and various other artists.
Founded in 1953, the Long Island group follows the mission of the national league, which was established in the 19th century: to foster the production of professional creative work in art, letters and music.
Becoming a pen woman is a selective process that requires proving one’s artistic merit and gaining approval from existing members.
“So our members are really pretty darn good artists, if I say so myself,” said Phyllis Coniglio, the membership chair of the league’s Long Island branch.
Dolores Caporale, the branch’s secretary, is showing two “fantasy collages.” Instead of searching for pieces in magazines or other sources, she looks to her own unsuccessful paintings for material.
She describes the process of cutting and repurposing painted papers as inspirational and imaginative — and she hopes viewers come away from her work with some sort of feeling.
“It’s always wonderful to have your work seen, have your work viewed by others, particularly people who are not artists,” said Caporale, who has been in the league for 30 years.
Coniglio is also contributing two paintings to the exhibition. She said the group is looking forward to showing in the Shelter Rock gallery because the venue is beautiful, with its high ceiling, wall space and lights.
The exhibition is one of two to three that the Long Island NLAPW tries to host every year. In addition, the group meets regularly for luncheons, demonstrations, lectures and art-making sessions.
“We do say that we are so fortunate to be painters and to be able to paint together,” Caporale said.
An artist reception will take place place Sept. 24, the day the exhibit opens, from 1 to 3 p.m. The exhibition runs until Oct. 24 at 48 Shelter Rock Road in Manhasset.
The gallery is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Because the Unitarian Universalist Congregation hosts multiple other events, visitors are advised to call ahead to arrange for the best time. For more information, call 516-627-6560, ext. 2933.