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Doloris Cogan: To ever higher heights on the wings of Irida...
To ever higher heights
on the wings of Irida

Iris, the high-winged Greek goddess of the rainbow, inspired IRIDA, the name taken by the Association of Moscow Women Artists when 100 professional women artists first decided to work together in 1989. Now, in 2010 on your 20th Anniversary, it is my pleasure and honor to be invited to come to Russia and celebrate your success.

It was 1993 when you had your first exhibition in the United States of America. Maria Esmont, your founder, and Maria Fyodorova, costume designer and painter, brought the works of 65 of your members to Elkhart, Indiana, and we sold more than 100 paintings and sculptures and at least 300 applied arts for $27,000 in less than ten days. That exhibition, held at the Midwest Museum of American Art, opened the market for IRIDA in America -- at a time when there was not even a market for art in Moscow. How things have changed in 20 years! I was the fortunate coordinator of that exhibition in Elkhart, and I worked most of a year to find a venue, sponsors, and to produce a color catalog. I would do it again in a minute because I so fervently believe in the value of women of different countries struggling to understand each other's culture and thereby create a beautiful rainbow of peaceful coexistence based on diversity.

My compliments go out to Maria Esmont, who has worked tirelessly to hold this group together and arrange dozens of exhibitions throughout the world. Your art has benefited many good causes.

My wish for IRIDA is that the winged goddess that brought you together will carry you to ever higher heights as you continue to pursue individual recognition and the diplomatic missions we hold in common.

Doloris Cogan
Women for Meaningful Summits
Elkhart, Indiana USA