First came six print anthologies celebrating 208 authors and 37 artists; 193 poems, 114 prose selections and 63 art reproductions. 1,800 copies sold. Dozens of public readings. Three month-long art exhibits. Inspiring workshops. Donations to support women’s ongoing education. Dedicated women who conceived VoiceCatcher the book and created VoiceCatcher the organization. And, in 2012, a commitment to re-invent both.
All this because six women – Marti Brooks, Diane English, Sara Guest, Jennifer Lalime, Elizabeth Jones and Emily Trikaus – loved to read and write. They composed the first chapter of our story in 2006 by publishing the premier edition of VoiceCatcher. As the first editor Emily Trikaus said, “When we first put out the call for submissions, we had no idea what to expect. Would anyone respond?” Women did respond in droves! That first edition published 57 pieces by 46 writers.
Year after year, writing submissions increased and, in 2010, editors Frances Bates, Kristin Berger and Toni Partington invited visual artists to join the mix. That deepened the richness of VoiceCatcher as words met art on its pages and artists joined authors at public readings. As an organization, VoiceCatcher incorporated as a nonprofit in 2008 and earned its 501(c)3 status in 2010. The latter made donations tax deductible. It also allowed us to join the Oregon Cultural Trust and apply for grants that require this designation.
In October 2012, we launched our first online literary and art publication: VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. We were delighted and encouraged when more than 2,800 people visited that issue and another 25,000 first-timers found our next four issues (Winter 2013, Summer 2013, Winter 2014 and Summer 2014). In addition to expanding the reach of this publication, we also invited women to serve as rotating guest editors. The result is a different look and aesthetic for each issue and less risk of burnout for our volunteers.