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Thursday, April 27, 2023

DKG Art Gallery Spotlight: “Where would I be without art?”

Michele Olinde

Louisiana State Organization, Alpha Alpha

The burning question for our featured artist this month is, Where would I be without art? For many of us who are artists of any median, art becomes an outlet for expression. Taken as a career choice, art can mold our everyday life with joy.  For this north Louisiana artist, Michele Olinde feels most joyful when she is creating art.  Through her career, Michele has focused her love for design with a goal to create a quality, school program for the arts.  With over thirty years’ experience in art education, she has accomplished her goal.  Even with her retirement recently, Michele continues to express her artistic talents at the college level as an adjunct professor.  This natural extension of her life-long work with students seems to fill her cup with satisfying joy.  Take a stroll with the Arts and Humanities blog post to read more on Michele’s insights and advice to other aspiring visual artists.

Tell us about yourself as an educator and an artist.

I am a mixed media artist based out of West Monroe, Louisiana. I acquired a degree in advertising design, illustration and drawing in 1985 from Northeast Louisiana University. I was formally trained in a variety of art media and shortly after receiving my bachelor’s degree, I returned to N.L.U. receiving my master's degree in education with a minor in history. For approximately 30 plus years, my focus has been on production of a quality art program at the high school level in northeast Louisiana. Much of this time was spent teaching gifted art at West Ouachita High School. My private artwork has been displayed in various art exhibits and competitions throughout the state. Common subject matter includes mixed media portraits, whimsical ink drawings and romantic landscapes with a loose, impressionistic style. In May of 2022, I retired from teaching in the public system and have decided to try new venues to display my own Olinde creations- (

Tell us what inspired you and how you developed the art you entered in the gallery.

I love the creative journey required of me when an artwork is underway in my studio. Most of my art can find inspiration in three sources: my three children, nature, and new combinations of art media with unusual compositions.

Of course, my three children inspired me as the world was shiny and new when they were young and na├»ve. They were my models when a certain pose was needed and my inspiration when events occurred that moved me to grab the camera or snap the pic, unaware of my presence. Portraits are challenging to draw in any media and if you achieve a likeness, it’s a success in my eyes. For example, “Youthful Innocence” is a whimsical portrait of my son in Prisma color colored pencil, juxtaposed with a background of his favorite toys and candy from his youth.

Second, is nature which is visible in my tree paintings, my snail mania piece, and many other pieces I have submitted in the gallery. Juxtaposed compositions are my favorite! The snail mania piece is based on a diagonal so you are constantly moving with the design. The Zentangles are decorative using patterns that overlap and change constantly provoking visual interest.

Lastly, is the use of new media or a combination of two or more media in a new way. “Copper Cups” is an acrylic still life painting on smooth wood. I usually draw with ink on wood but just to change it up a bit, I tried acrylic and it worked. It wasn’t easy, but I loved the end result.

What is the best advice you have been given?

Without hesitation, I was told years ago that starting with a subject you love will move you to produce a successful work of art. Also, go back to direct observation whenever possible so your elements are true. For example, the richest colors of a landscape painting are found in the original reference picture. The rough bark of a tree is better observed than just imagined.

What does the value of the Creative Arts in Education mean to you?

This question hits an emotional response in me. Where would I be without art? I was one of those daydreamers in school that looked outside or inside my head for a more interesting environment to lose myself. Art was offered after school for me in high school and that might explain why my day seemed to last forever!


I can’t believe some schools are losing their brick-and-mortar classrooms in exchange for virtual art appreciation classes. I believe beginning and advanced art courses should be considered core classes for a comprehensive well rounded high school education. Art allows most students a breath of fresh air from the subjects that require so much concentration that the right-brained visual learner wants to hold up a white flag and call it quits. Also, it allows creative thinking to be a welcome part of the school day. How are we going to prepare our students to improve products or change business practices for the better unless we allow them to think creatively every day?


Do you have anything else you want to add?

My main goal in creating art of any kind is to be original with my subject matter. I want to create work that celebrates the good in life and every detail that makes it new and exciting. I want to get the attention of all ages by capturing moments in our journey from youth to old age that sparks a happy memory or two. I want my audience to be moved by my work and actively question how, when, where and why it was created. I hope all the answers aren’t easy and they push the viewer to critically analyze my work as an artist.

The Arts and Humanities Jury Committee loves the passion and voice that we hear in our artists’ words.  They have so much insight into the creative arts through their years of experiences and tried and true practice and in Michele’s case, teaching her passion.   Let’s keep the conversation going to encourage others to create their art and to celebrate the good in life. Be sure to use the comment section below to suggest new topics, ask questions, or give us your input. We love hearing from our readers and gaining new ones.  Spread the word!


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Gaining Members through Out-of-the-Box Marketing

One of the difficulties faced by our organization is that as many members age and retire, they are removed from immediate knowledge of women who would be outstanding member prospects. Chapter presidents bemoan the “I don’t know any teachers anymore” responses they get when encouraging members to nominate new members. Old recruitment strategies of word-of-mouth and relationships with work colleagues don’t work as well anymore.

In today’s environment chapters need to market DKG in new ways, using out-of-the-box strategies to familiarize active educators with the organization and to appeal to younger and diverse educators. DKG International has hired the advertising firm Avenue M to evaluate our Society’s marketing and membership program. The results of their research will no doubt engage us in active debate for some time to come. But as we await those results, there is much that chapters and state organizations can do to promote membership growth. Below are listed a few that are being tried and found successful.

  • Displaying a state recruitment poster in schools and public places. (One chapter got results by placing them in women’s bathrooms.)
  • Develop a partnership with a University teacher training program; provide speakers on topics such as planning for substitutes, classroom management, using volunteers, parent-teacher partnerships.
  • Host practice interview sessions for college seniors to gear them up for job hunting experiences.
  • Provide training seminars (for continuing education credit) on topics related to diverse and special needs populations and STEM open to all educators.
  • Host a recognition of outstanding teachers (male and female) in the county, nominated by students, parents and colleagues to increase visibility in the schools and the community.
  • Have a display booth with scholarship information, chapter brochures, treats and opportunity to win a basket of supplies at new teacher orientation.
  • Host new teachers for dinner and DKG orientation.
  • Sip ‘n’ snack sessions communicate caring while giving opportunity to tell educators about DKG.
    Locate them at a coffee house, or a wine and chocolate tasting event.
  • Put a QR code linked to the chapter web site on business cards, brochures and affirmation materials given to educators.
  • Place a window display in the public library sharing chapter services and member information.
  • Don’t forget to seek out educators in non-school settings: extension agents, nurse educators, museum staff, etc. And para-educators.

These are but a few ways your chapter can find prospects even though many of your members are not currently in school buildings. Let’s put our heads together and come up with an even bigger list of possibilities!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Is There a Location in Your State Organization Where There is No DKG Chapter?

The International Membership and Expansion Committee supports the establishment of new chapters throughout state organizations. One of the goals of this committee is to assist state organizations with their expansion efforts.

When a state organization decides to start a new chapter here are the steps that could be taken to get the chapter started.

Step 1:  Pick a location to establish your new chapter.

Step 2:  Talk to local leaders who may know potential members or leaders in your target area.

Step 3:  Form a chartering committee of members and non-members who will do the work to organize events and publicize DKG in the local area.

Step 4:  Organize and hold an event to invite prospective members to join DKG.  You might use  the Membership Plan located on the dkg website to do this.  (Go to Resources and then click on Membership.)

Step 5:  Collect applications from perspective members.

Step 6:  Contact International by filling out the Request For Charter form for your new chapter.

Step 7:  Select officers to lead the new chapter. 

Step 8:  Collect dues from your new members.  Some existing members may elect to transfer to the new chapter when it is chartered.

Step 8:  Plan and hold an event to charter the chapter.

Step 9:  Support the new chapter.  State organizations can develop a plan to ensure that the new chapter is assisted, so it can be successful.

Help is available to state organizations wishing to charter a new chapter.  Reach out to the International Membership and Expansion Committee as members of this committee are willing to help you by answering questions or attending a Zoom meeting to discuss your plans.  For detailed instructions on chapter expansion go to the website ( and after you log in go to Publications and click on GAPP then go to Procedures and then click on Guidelines at the bottom of the page and then click on Chapter Expansion.  Look for the article “Expansion:  A DKG Possibility” in the upcoming Collegial Exchange.

Establishing new chapters brings enthusiasm and diversity to DKG.  It is possible to start new chapters so that you can bring in a variety of new members to your state organization.


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Tips to Send, Save, Resize and Rename an Image for Arts Gallery Submission

In January, a blog was posted with helpful hints to crop or size images using MS Word. As with any suggestion, this also generates more questions. Two questions the jury often hears are, “How do I determine the file size” and “How do I resize a file to fit the gallery parameters?” In this months’ blog, we will discuss sending, saving, renaming, identifying the size of a photo and resizing a photograph on your computer.

While there are many phone apps available to assist in resizing an image, I would recommend saving your photos as well as backing them up in a folder on your computer or cloud storage where they are safe and accessible. Always backup files! SD cards, flash drives, internal and external hard drives can (and will at some point) crash/corrupt.

Let’s start with downloading your photos to a folder created on your computer. If you are using a digital camera, depending on its age, you may need a USB cable, memory card reader/card slot or if it’s a recent model, via a wireless connection. If you are looking to transfer photos from your phone to your computer, you can use the USB cable that came with your phone for charging. Without getting into lengthy detail, this is an interesting topic to google for assistance. There are many help sites as well as YouTube videos available.

The image below is a picture of a watercolor taken with a camera and sent to my iPhone via email. The following steps also apply if a picture is taken with your phone. Tap on the Photos icon to get to your picture gallery. Tap on the selected picture, which will reveal some options on the bottom of the screen. On the bottom left of this picture I will tap on the forward icon and that will give me even more options to forward the picture to my email, which I will send to myself at my Gmail account.

Also, on the bottom of the example photo is an icon, the second from the right, which

shows an “i” icon, meaning information. When I tap on this icon, it lets me know information on the photo which tells me when it was taken, and the file size as well as type of image.

This answers the question, “What size is this photo file?”  This image illustrates that this picture is 2.5 MB which falls within the parameters for the arts gallery which is a minimum of 250 through 450 KB and a maximum of 10 MB. Please note, this image needs to be cropped (to remove the matt and background) as well as rotated horizontally. This task may also be done on my phone using the “edit icon” (cropped out of this image but located at the top of the screen).

When I open my Gmail on my PC computer, download the attachment. The picture will be downloaded to the bottom of your computer. Double click or click on the arrow to open. The image will open in the windows viewer. At the very top there are options. To the far right you will see three dots,see more”. Drop down and click on “save image as”. Another window opens that will allow me to name the picture, below the picture, choose the type of file which is JPEG image and where you intend to save the image. In this case, I click on desktop and then choose my premade folder, click to open and then save. 

Other options that are shown in the MS window’s viewer. The first icon on the left will allow me to edit the image (this allows me to crop, rotate and adjust the image. Again, if I click on the very last icon which is three dots, “see more”, scroll down to “resize image”, another window will come up, showing me the option to resize the file if necessary. Remember to save your work.

When using my Mac, the process has a few variations. When I click on my email, it shows an attachment. When I hover over the attachment, I select download, in which it goes to the bottom of my screen. I click on the drop arrow to open it. The view options are similar. On the top options bar, click on the arrow next to the title.jpg which gives me a drop-down window. This allows me to save the photo to my pre-made folder. When I open the folder, it shows me the name, date and image size. When I double click on my image, the image viewer takes over.

At the very top of the screen is the preview bar, go to tools, then drop down to adjust size, enter the new values or click on the “fit into” pop up menu and choose a size. Then hit OK.

My picture is now cropped, sized, renamed, and saved for submission.

We look forward to viewing your creative vision!
Be sure to use the comment section below to suggest new topics, ask questions, or give us your input. We love hearing from our readers and gaining new ones.  Spread the word!


Monday, April 17, 2023

Who Qualifies for Membership?

Our Constitution states that “An active member shall be a woman who is or has been employed as a professional educator at the time of her election”. While a great many of our members are educators working at or retired from traditional institutions of learning, our Society is open to and embraces other types of professional educators.

Consider the following list of potential educators who your chapter could invite for membership:

  • Teacher’s aides
  • School nurses
  • Piano instructors
  • Community librarians
  • Children’s ministers or paid Sunday School teachers
  • Weight Watcher leaders
  • Nurses who teach classes at the hospital
  • Yoga Instructors
  • Dance teachers
  • Childcare workers
  • Small business owners who teach cooking classes

Chapters inviting different type of professional educators  to membership benefit greatly. These educators can present interesting programs for chapters and breakout sessions for conventions and conferences.  The possibilities are endless.


Monday, April 10, 2023

Retaining Your Members: Helpful Hints for Chapter Dues Collection

During the Spring chapters will begin to collect dues.  The International Membership and Expansion Committee put together this list of helpful hints to assist chapters with their collection of dues.  This will lead to chapters maintaining their membership.

Make no assumptions about why someone doesn’t send in their dues after multiple reminders.

  • Instead, try different methods of reaching them (call, text, mail, in-person visit).

If the treasurer has submitted dues and there are still members who’ve not paid, don’t despair.

  • Continue to connect with those members.  Life happens and we are all busy. 
  • If they pay at a later date, that’s fine. The treasurer just sends in those dues separately.

Since life does happen there may be a member who says she is too busy to continue to be a DKG member for now.  In these cases:

  • Keep in touch with her and if her life situation changes, ask her if she is able to come back to your chapter; keep her in the loop with chapter activities.

For members who share that they’ve come upon hard financial times:

  • Explore ways to help pay that person’s dues (anonymous member donates funds).

If the member gets dropped by International for non-payment of dues and realizes that she does want to remain a member, no problem.

  • Members can be reinstated at any time.
  • Dues are paid to the chapter treasurer who will submit them.

Throughout the year, pay close attention to member attendance.  Lack of participation may be a sign of someone heading to not paying dues.

  • Send to those not at meetings a “we missed you note” with meeting highlights. 

  • If the person is not attending, find out why they are not attending.  Perhaps your chapter, meets at an inconvenient time or day.  The chapter can consider varying the day or time of the meetings. 

Don’t hesitate to contact your regional representative to the Membership and Expansion Committee with comments or helpful hints that are working for your chapter.

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