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By Ted Heuring

Diana Claypool, Rita O’Brien, Emily Rayer and Kathy Schmidt tour the Aylward gallery while attending Wine, Women & Art March 20.

Photo by Ryan Mudge
Diana Claypool, Rita O’Brien, Emily Rayer and Kathy Schmidt
converse in the Aylward gallery.

Women from all over the Fox Cities area attended the Wine, Women & Art event on Thursday, March 20.

This is the second year in a row UW-Fox was chosen to host the celebration.

“We are excited about our partnership with UW-Fox and the beautiful space for displaying artwork and hosting a gathering. The Women's Fund raised more than $10,000 as a result of Wine, Women & Art. It helped us connect to a lot of women in the community who were not familiar with our work,” former president of the Women’s Fund, Lisa Kewley , said.

Throughout the evening attendees enjoyed an open bar, tasting different wines and savoring handcrafted treats.

Local artists and bakeries are encouraged to feature their items and possibly sponsor the event.

“My friend, Diana Claypool [pictured], does beautiful art work, we all encouraged her to be a part of the show. It was a great girl’s night out,” Rita O'Brian, career & technical education program leader for Appleton Area School District, said.

“We are so excited that we were able showcase the work of 30 local female artists, many of whom have not had their work exhibited in a gallery setting before,” Kewley said.

Since its establishment, the Women’s Fund has raised more than $775,000 in grants aimed towards various awareness projects and donating for individual needs.

The group focuses on maintaining and instilling equality for women of all ages.

“I have attended other fundraisers the Women's Fund have sponsored as they always support a great need within the area,” O’Brien said.

The Women's Fund pools together gifts both large and small from a broad base of donors. 

For more than 16 years, the agency has funded 170 projects developed by 69 different Fox Valley agencies.

“Wine, Women & Arts’ success positively affects women in the Fox Valley area as dollars raised helps provide grants to women to support various areas of their lives. It's an outside event that utilizes our space. We simply sponsor in a hope to gain broader awareness in the community,” UW-Fox Campus Marketing Specialist, Meagan Hardwick, said.

The event not only increases awareness about the organization, but also brings new visitors to campus.

“I am a co-chair of the Women's Fund's events committee. When I joined the committee [fall 2012] they were looking to start a new fundraiser. Because of my role here at UW-Fox and my role on the committee, the committee decided to have their new event [Wine, Women & Art] here at UW-Fox,” Hardwick said.

The Women's Fund of the Fox Valley Region hopes to continue this tradition for as long as possible.

“It has been a heartwarming experience to be part of the Women’s Fund organization for the past seven years. I have seen the impact that the Fund’s grants have made in the lives of women and girls who reached out for help at organizations we support. I am truly grateful for the success of Wine, Women & Art,” Kewley said.

For more information on the Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley Region, visit http://www.womensfundfvr.org/.