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About CWA, Mission Statement, and Leadership

One of the Oldest Art Organizations in the Country

Connecticut Women Artists, Inc. (CWA) is one of the country's oldest women's art organizations, founded in 1929. The organization is a not-for-profit corporation that provides a forum for women's artwork and emphasizes art's importance in today's society. CWA is a statewide group of vibrant, highly accomplished professional artists working in various media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, assemblage, photography, clay, metal, fiber, and textiles. CWA provides many opportunities for contemporary female artists through its programs, including exhibitions, networking, promotion, and education.

CWA presents annual art exhibits in Connecticut, including the National Open Juried Exhibition, the Members' Juried Show, and the Council Members' Show at well-known and respected galleries and museums throughout the state. The CWA Council chooses jurors from among the most influential women in the visual arts in Connecticut. The artists, educators, and curators who have worked with us are all outstanding women in their fields of expertise and have made significant contributions to the art world.

A Timeless Mission Statement

The goal of Connecticut Women Artists, Inc. is to foster and promote interest in the visual arts by women artists in Connecticut, to maintain the highest possible standards of achievement among them, to provide exhibitions, and to encourage any other activities beneficial to artistic endeavors.

Strong Council Leadership



Janet Leombruni

Vice President

Lakshmi S. Nair


Phyllis Small


Margaret Wilson

Membership Chair

Kelly Taylor


Council Members (Governing Board)

Cynthia Cooper

Communications Chair



Patricia Carrigan

2024 Members' Show Co-Chair


Amy Conover


Linda Boisvert DeStefanis


Ellen Gorden

Social Media

Jennifer Muller

Mallorie Ostrowitz

Location Scout

Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti

Reception Chair


Kathleen Curran Smits


Jacqueline Stella

2024 Members' Show Co-Chair

Nancy Whitcher

Historian; Newsletter Editor

Gretchen Wohlgemuth

Graphic Designer

Presidents Emeriti

Diane Cadrain and Carol Vinick, 2021-2023

Linda Boisvert DeStefanis, 2018-2021

About Our Council Officers

President - Janet Leombruni received her B.F.A. at Hartford Art School, her M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and her Post Master’s in Painting and Art Education at Central Connecticut State University. She worked as an art teacher in an urban setting before retiring to pursue a full-time art career. She has exhibited extensively throughout Connecticut and New York City. Working in oil and acrylic, she explores relationships, sometimes utilizing fables, Greek myths, and Renaissance themes. Janet has served as President since the fall of 2022.

Vice President - Lakshmi S. Nair received a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from SCTIMST, India and did post doctoral fellowships at Drexel University Philadelphia and University of Virginia. She is a self-taught artist who works in acrylic and oil. Her subjects include portraits and explorations of motion. She worked with various artists in the United States including Claire Fish at the Farmington Valley Arts Center of Connecticut. She currently works as a Professor of Bioengineering and Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. Lakshmi served on CWA's governing board as Secretary from 2021 through 2022 and now serves as CWA's Vice President.

Treasurer - Phyllis Small received a B.A. in Chemistry from Boston University. She ran a microscope business with her husband for over 35 years and, during that time, joined Wintonbury Art League. At their workshops, she gained broad experience in studio art and studied drawing, painting, collage, pottery, silkscreen printing, paper making, and fiber art. She is an award-winning fiber artist and the author of  80@80: The Artwork of Phyllis Small. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is a part of many international private collections. She has served on the boards of numerous art and quilting organizations throughout her art career. A long-term member of CWA since 1977, she served as Corresponding Secretary from 1998 - 2000 and Co-Chairperson of the Members' Show in 1999. Phyllis now serves as Treasurer.

Secretary - Margaret Wilson received her Master's degree in Art Therapy and Creativity Development from Pratt Institute and her Bachelor's degree in Studio Art from Skidmore College. She also did postgraduate study at the Institute for Expressive Analysis in NYC. Her professional career trajectory moved from direct service as an art therapist into mental health administration, including Director of Operations for a hospital mental health and addictions service. Upon retirement, she devoted herself to full-time painting and has exhibited widely in Connecticut over the past 25 years in solo and group exhibitions. She has remained rooted in the healing power of art, and her work focuses on revealing the obscured, with content ranging from plein air painting to portraiture. Margaret joined the CWA's governing board as Secretary in June 2023.

Membership Chair - Kelly Taylor is an award-winning artist working in mixed media. Private instruction with artist teachers over the years, and group workshops on methods and techniques in mixed media has helped to develop Kelly’s approach to creating art.  She has also attended the Residency Workshop program at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for the last five years. In addition to CWA, she is a member of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club and a Signature Member of Arts Center East, Vernon, Connecticut. Her work resides in private collections throughout the United States, as well as in public spaces including Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut and the Copper Beech Institute, West Hartford, Connecticut. Kelly has served as Membership Chair since 2022.

Acknowledgment of Recent Officers and Council Members

The CWA Council wishes to extend their gratitude to the following recent, former Council members for their dedication and years of service: Dina Belyayeva, Diane Cadrain (2019-2024), Patricia L. Corbett (2014-2024), Pauletta De Lucia (2019-2024), Marcy LaBella, Sue Mullaney, B. Rossitto, Cheryl Tuttle, Janet Veenema, Carol Vinick, Kristen Walsh. Special thanks to Patricia L. Corbett for ten years of dedicated service. The Council also wishes to thank all of the former Officers and Council members for helping to further the mission of Connecticut Women Artists.

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