Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2018

Annual Retreat 2018 : Celebration of 45 Years and Why OWA+DP Matters

by Rachel Sloniki

Group Photo By Helen Vasquez

The OWA+DP retreat began with a welcome reception by the pool. Judy Rowe provided appetizers and beautiful name tags. Members reconnected and met new attendees including students from USF, an architect from Mendocino, Debra Lennox and other colleagues who we invited to join our organization. In our Friday evening circle, members highlighted other members who were significant to them, and new members introduced themselves and their design inspirations.

Saturday morning, Hana Mori Böttger organized presentations from a roster of speakers. The brilliant presentations by our members included Conyee Chan, Sandya Sood, and Christie Coffin sharing images from their work overseas on international projects. Bridget Basham, Debra Lennox, Judy Corbett, Leslie Moldow, Janet Crane, Leslie Golden, Frances Kwong, Andrea Lucas, Judy Rowe, Helen Vasquez, Judith Wasserman, Cameron White, and Betty Woo shared stories of their local and national projects, of members who contributed to their careers, and what OWA has meant to them personally and professionally. Jean Nilsson described her book project to document the organization's history, and shared slides juxtaposing events in her own career with history of OWA and other activism in architecture. Gilda Puente Peters highlighted thoughtful, accessibility elements from and OWA+DP Lighthouse for the Blind Tour. Hana Mori Böttger delighted us with a violin piece.

Sandya Sood invited Monsoon Dance Company to teach us Bollywood dancing in preparation for the band, Piyush Nagar, Aanal Anjaria, and Hina Patel who played later in the evening. The dance classes were well taught and fun to learn, aerobics and new dance skills combined together. In the afternoon art project, members created succulent planters. Gilda Puente Peters, Ann Wright, and Betty Woo brought 900 succulent plants they had grown over the previous year in preparation for the art project. As Betty Woo described the design concept for the planter, "you have to have a thriller, a filler, and a spiller."

Allison Kinst presented an OWA+DP timeline, which was displayed throughout the retreat, chronicling the history of OWA within a greater context of the history of women in the field. Various members added their significant events and memories associated with our organization and its members.

Late afternoon, Jean Nilsson moderated a panel to discuss the organization's history, its present and future. Thank you to panelists Marda Stothers, Kriss Rupauch, Koje Shoraka, Naomi Horowitz, Helen Vasquez, and architecture student Jennifer Otsuki, who represented the decades of the organization, for sharing their stories and OWA activities from the 1970s to today. Other members joined in, enriching the conversation, and Jean invited all those interested to contact her to contribute to her book to be published for the 50th anniversary.

At the Saturday dinner, we sang Happy Birthday for OWA+DP's 45th anniversary, then danced and visited throughout the evening, closing by walking the labyrinth. Sunday morning, we convened for a discussion with the steering committee on this year's and future years' events and solicited planners for next year's retreat. We wound down the retreat with Lisa Murray, Yoga Community, who shared Yin yoga with us.

Photo By Betty Woo

Photo By Betty Woo

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