On Saturday the fourth annual Carbon County Support Women Artists Now Day (SWAN) luncheon was held at the Harry Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe. SWAN Day is an international event that celebrates women artists with talent in any art form, including the performing arts and writing.

The idea for SWAN Day grew out of collaboration between Women Arts and Chicago's Women in the Audiences Supporting Women Artists Now (WITASWAN), which is an informal alliance of women who are using their power as consumers to increase opportunities for women artists. Although there are currently more than 20,000 women artists, only 190 are being recognized because they support themselves and their art.

The local SWAN Day event is supported by Indian River Art Guild, a group whose mission is to find venues for artists to display their work. Sandi Crum, director and artist in her own right, said that many women artists use initials or a nom de guerre in order to have their work published or recognized.

Through events such as SWAN Day, "We (can) change the world's attitude about women in the arts," said Crum.

Every year, Crum said, the event is attracting more and more artists.

Aside from featuring artists and their work, the annual SWAN Day luncheon benefits a nonprofit organization.

This year 100 of the proceeds were turned over to Family Promise of Carbon County, an organization that is actively developing a network of local churches that will work together to house, feed, and support homeless families in the community.

Larissa Kimmel, president of Family Promise, attended with her daughter, Emma, who was the youngest attending artist.

Ten-year-old Emma shared an impressive watercolor that revealed a gifted talent. Her mother said she hopes that Emma will continue to pursue art.

Saturday's event hosted many accomplished artists who have been working at their unique form of art for many years, such as Janet Dean, artist and teacher, who shared a spectacular landscape of the countryside as you approach Kempton.

Emerging artist Lynn Litemta of Schnecksville, a student of Dean's, started to paint after her children were grown and presented a realistic oil pastel painting of a country barn.

Sage artist and supporter of the arts, Mari Gruber, summed it all up. She said when people ask her how long it takes to create a certain piece of art, her answer always depends upon her age at the time she is asked, "I give them my age and tell them it took that long because it took me a lifetime to learn my art."

For additional information on the annual SWAN Day luncheon, or for information on upcoming events, contact Crum at gatewaysc777@yahoo or at indianriverart@gmail.com [2].