The Visionary Woman Awards (VWA) are presented to women who have had major impacts in their fields, exemplifying excellence in the visual arts and design, arts advocacy or philanthropy. Proceeds from the annual VWA event support scholarships for undergraduate students in Moore’s Visionary Woman Honors Program.

2021 Visionary Woman Awards

This year’s VWA will take place on October 28, 2021 and our awardees—painter Howardena Pindell, writer and arts advocate Lorene Cary and fashion retail pioneer Joan Shepp—have something special in common: they are all Philadelphians.
Howardena Pindell Painter

Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Howardena Pindell studied painting at Boston University and Yale University. After graduating, she accepted a job in the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum of Modern Art, where she remained for 12 years (1967–1979). In 1979, she began teaching at the State University of New York, Stony Brook where she is now a full professor. Throughout her career, Pindell has exhibited extensively.

Lorene Cary Writer & Arts Advocate

Playwright, novelist and nonfiction writer Lorene Cary founded Art Sanctuary in 1998 to enrich urban Philadelphia with the excellence of Black arts, and has taught writing at UPenn for the last 25 years. Her 2020 play, My General Tubman, performed to sold-out houses at Arden Theater, which has commissioned her to adapt her latest memoir, Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century, to the stage. Cary also wrote the scripts for videos at The President’s House exhibit on Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

Joan Shepp Fashion Retail Pioneer

Iconic Philadelphia style maven Joan Shepp is celebrating 50 years in the fashion business. Her boutique, Joan Shepp, founded in 1971 in Lafayette Hill and now located in Center City Philadelphia, has been recognized as one of the country’s style leaders by publications Harper’s Bazaar and Lucky Magazine. Shepp was raised in West Philadelphia. With her impeccable sense of style and knack for knowing what’s hot, she taught herself the business and has provided cutting-edge fashion and a space for the fashion-forward to play, discuss, explore and discover new designers and innovations in the industry.