Women’s Wisdom Art
-supports artistic and spiritual growth
-provides a safe, nurturing environment for women of diverse cultures
-builds confidence and coping skills
-offers a variety of affordable art experiences in an informal setting
Laura Ann Walton founded The Wisdom Project in 1991 as part of Maryhouse, a daytime hospitality shelter for homeless women and children. The program was designed as an art empowerment program for women overcoming poverty, homelessness, violence and abuse. The women formed an artists’ coop and always donated a portion of the proceeds from sales of their art back to the program.
Women’s Wisdom ART, as the program is now known, operated under the wing of The Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services from 2000 until 2012. Beginning in June of 2012, Women’s Wisdom ART, led by Laura Ann Walton, Helen Plenert, a small Board of Directors and a large group of volunteers, operated as a non-profit corporation under the umbrella of SMAC, receiving additional small grants and depending mostly on private donors.
In June of 2016, Women’s Wisdom ART became an independent 501c3. The organization’s artist members now include a diverse range of women from across a broad spectrum with two things in common: they are all women and artists, gathering in community to create art as a way to escape isolation, recover from illness or loss, forge new friendships and become empowered to transform their own lives and the lives of others in their families and communities.
Our Board of Directors
We are a team of artists bringing women together to engage and transform their lives.
Roberta Beach, B.A., M.A.Board Development Chair
Roberta worked as a social worker and used art therapy with her clients. As a long-time volunteer with Wisdom, Roberta joined the board in 2011. She notes the exceptional benefits the program provides women, and the importance of having a safe, welcoming place where women can participate in an arts program. Roberta is glad to have the opportunity to serve as a board member, where her goal is to help Wisdom grow financially stronger and enhance its standing as a respected and recognized asset to the Sacramento arts, health, and general communities.
Jen Nousen, A.A.Treasurer/Chair of Finance Committee/Site Coordinator
Jen has been involved with Women’s Wisdom for many years, and began working with Wisdom in April 2015 as a dedicated volunteer assisting teachers and the director. With an art school and professional background, she is well versed in fine arts as well as in arts management and business practices. Although Jen was born in Alaska, and spent much of her youth in Germany, she considers Sacramento her home base, living here permanently since 1994. A baseball fan, Jen enjoys creating art and helping with all aspects of the program.
Yvonne Evans, M.A.Outreach Committee Chair
Yvonne currently works as an Education Programs Consultant with the California Department of Education. She began taking classes at Women’s Wisdom Art during the summer of 2014. As a board member, Yvonne’s desire is to help further the mission of Women’s Wisdom Art by sharing the program with diverse groups of women. Yvonne loves being in the presence of art and artists as it inspires her to create. Women’s Wisdom Art is a place of creativity, adventure, fun, inspiration and empowerment. Yvonne hopes to further the mission of Women’s Wisdom Art and help women express their inner creative self.
Helen PlenertOutreach and Development Coordinator
Helen is a well known artist, art teacher, and arts community organizer. She has been with Wisdom in various roles as a volunteer, teacher and program director since 2006, guiding the organization through a major transition in 2012. Helen studied art at American River JC and CSU in Sacramento, and early in her career she worked as a stage and costume designer for Asian American, Red Flag and Eureka Theaters, and as a technical director and producer. In addition to her work at Wisdom, she teaches locally as a visiting artist. As the creator and organizer for Oak Park Fiesta and the local Art Bra Show, Helen brings local artists together and initiates ongoing collaboration with arts communities.
Sharon Liberatore, B.S.N.Vice-Chair/Fundraising Committee Chair
Sharon has been living in Sacramento since the late 1970's. She is an Air Force Veteran, honorably serving for seven years. Sharon worked as a Nurse Practioner in private practice until 1998, moving to clinical research before retiring in 2010. Her time now is spent working to preserve and expand the arts in Sacramento. Sharon is involved with two local community theaters, and has been an active volunteer with Women's Wisdom Art for the past four years. She joined the Wisdom board in January 2016, bringing her passion for the arts, creative energy and tireless enthusiasm. She is currently a co-instructor volunteer for the mosaics class.
Laura Ann Walton, B.A.Founder and Board Chair
Laura is a poet, activist, and author. A Sacramento native, Laura Ann, served and advocated for the homeless throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. Wisdom was founded to provide an arts empowerment opportunity for not only homeless women, but for women of all backgrounds. Laura Ann is active in the poetry community of Sacramento and published God is a Lion in 2015. The book is testimony to her conviction that engaging in the arts can transform us at the deepest level of our beings. Visit womenswisdomart.org and godisalion.com.
Ali Lichtenstein, Ph.D.Secretary
Ali is a relative newcomer to the area. Before moving to Sacramento in 2015, she taught college writing and women’s and gender studies in rural New Hampshire for nearly twenty years. She has taught writing, education methodology, English as a second language, and fiber arts in the U.S. and in India, China, and Vietnam. Ali brings years of experience serving on non-profit art boards of directors in various capacities. She is the mother of four grown children, and a new board member this year. Ali is a life-long fiber artist and one of the teachers for the fiber arts class.
2016 Business Partners
D & J Kitchens and Baths
Five Star Landscaping
All About Wellness
Additional Partners/ Avid Reader, Pangaea Bier Cafe, All About Wellness, Dimple Records, Gunther’s Ice Creamery