Jane Semple Umsted, local professional Choctaw artist and member of the GFWC-OK Fortnightly Club of Durant, represented the State of Oklahoma, Choctaw Nation, and Southeastern Oklahoma as guest speaker for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs South Central Region Conference “Oklahoma State Night Banquet” hosted by GFWC-Oklahoma at the Embassy Suites Hotel by Hilton in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma October 13-14. Entertainer Libby Thomas of Nashville, Tennessee performed a variety of Oklahoma songs ending with the song, “Amazing Grace” sung in her native Choctaw language. Jane spoke on interwoven faith, family, friends, culture throughout her life and the influence that special Choctaw women have had in her life—Sophia Lk-Lo-Ha-Wah (Folsom) Pitchlynn, Mary Jane (Semple) Hotchkins, Dr. Anne Ruth Semple, Jane (French) Semple, Yvonne Kauger, and Sue Folsom.
Jane, known as “Janie” to friends, is a descendent of two Choctaw Chiefs and her art exudes the spirit of her Native American heritage. She has spent a lifetime working in a variety of art media which includes oils, acrylics, sculpture, and especially the unique media of batik. This technique is an ancient method of using melted wax to create shapes on fabric. In steps, using one color of dye at a time, she meticulously develops an unusual design. Once applied, the wax holds each particular shape as the dye is introduced. The last color added is black which permeates the entire piece. The final step involves removing the wax using heat and then the artwork becomes pliable and flattened for dry mounting. Emphasis on vibrant color and dramatic design is perhaps the strongest element of her work consistently permeating all aspects of her produced art.
Charlene Ridgway, a Durant professional educator and business owner, GFWC-Oklahoma State Treasurer, served as the South Central Region Conference Registrar-Treasurer for Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. International President Sheila Shea, South Central Region executive officers, State executive officers, Club executive officers and members attended. The GFWC-OK Fortnightly Club of Durant served at the Conference registration desk. Members who served and attended Oklahoma Night Banquet were: Club President Betty Clay, 2nd Vice President Alice Faye Riley, Historian Pam Fahrendorf, Community Service-Home Life Chair Sharon Morrison, Oklahoma Southeast District Parliamentarian Sharon Robinson, Oklahoma Southeast District International President’s Special Project Chair Mary Frank, and member Pat Currence.
Prior to the opening of Conference, GFWC South Central Region Conference attendees sailed the Oklahoma River Cruise discovering some of the City’s hidden treasures, enjoyed an extraordinary buffet lunch by a famed chef on the 49th floor of Oklahoma City’s tallest building, Devon Tower, and then toured Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, Myriad Gardens with its Fall Festival, Prairie Garden, Minders Garden, and Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs was founded in 1890. In 1901, the 56th Congress of the United States chartered GFWC and designated that the Federation be headquartered in Washington, D.C. GFWC is a unifying force, bringing together local women’s clubs, with members dedicated to strengthening their communities and enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. GFWC members are community leaders who work locally to create global change by supporting the arts, preserving natural resources, advancing education, promoting healthy lifestyles, encouraging civic involvement, and working toward world peace and understanding. GFWC is credited by the American Library Association with the establishment of 85 percent of the country’s public libraries since 1904. GFWC Legislative Priorities are Family/Domestic Violence Prevention & Service, Children Services, Women’s Health, Opioids, Human Trafficking, Campus Sexual Assault, Female Veterans.