Untitled (Mermaid Show), date unknown, by Jessie Drew-Bear (courtesy of the Drew-Bear family). Part of the exhibition “Jessie Drew-Bear: Stories and Dreams,” on view at Woodmere Art Museum.

Untitled (Mermaid Show), date unknown, by Jessie Drew-Bear (courtesy of the Drew-Bear family). Part of the exhibition “Jessie Drew-Bear: Stories and Dreams,” on view at Woodmere Art Museum.

by William R. Valerio

When I was at Weavers Way recently, I bumped into a friend who asked me a question about this column: “Do you write the articles in the Local yourself or do you work with a PR firm who writes them for you?”

My friends can be cynical, and I laughed because I’ve often been tempted. The answer, however, is that I write these articles myself. My goal is to encourage interest in Woodmere, but on a deeper level, the intent is to establish an authentic voice and inspire trust in all the good things we do.

Public trust is a foundation of the identity of any good museum or civic institution. The articles need to be written by me because the museum needs to be genuine in everything it does, and, as director it’s my responsibility to have my hand on the pulse of everything that happens under our roof and beyond.

Woodmere, like all museums, is a place to experience real works of art, with real histories and real stories to tell. The integrity of the experience distinguishes an afternoon at the museum from any number of entertainment options that might otherwise fill a few hours of leisure.

In the spirit of being real, we also try our best to make our exhibitions and programs relevant to life. And so, in conjunction with our many exhibitions this spring that focus on women artists, we are offering a panel discussion we are calling “Bold Women: Inspired Stories,” which will take place on Saturday, May 10, at 3 p.m. at Woodmere.

Four women who are part of Woodmere’s family will offer thoughts and discussion on their experiences as creative women who have built successful businesses. Our panelists will be Dorothy del Bueno, RN, Ed.D., founder and senior consultant of Performance Management Services Inc.; Patricia Carbine, co-founder of Ms. magazine; Cindi Ettinger, owner and master printer of C.R. Ettinger Studio, specializing in intaglio and relief prints; and Toby Lerner, owner of the Toby Lerner boutique.

We offer this program in conjunction with the exhibition “Jessie Drew-Bear: Stories and Dreams.” Drew-Bear, who described herself as a “sophisticated primitive” artist, supported herself and her children through her success as the proprietor of the London Flower Shop, formerly on Chestnut Street in Center City.

The panel will also engage with the questions raised by the show “Quita Brodhead: Bold Strokes,” which chronicles Brodhead’s career as an abstract painter of great power and panache at a time in the middle decades of the 20th century when it was not expected that a woman would have a “bold” voice as a painter of large-scale gestural paintings.

“Bold Women: Inspired Stories,” Sat., May 10, 3 p.m., Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave. For more information, call 215-247-0476 or visit woodmereartmuseum.org.

William R. Valerio, Ph.D., is the Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO, Woodmere Art Museum.