About SOLA

SOLA stands for Support of Old Lady Artists and was founded in 2016 to honor accomplished, yet under-recognized, mature women visual artists. We began in 2017 with one $1000 unrestricted cash award and increased the award to $5,000 each for four artists in 2022, one of which was specifically designated to highlight the career of a black, indigenous, or artist of color.

By the end of 2022, SOLA will have awarded $57,000 in unrestricted monetary grants to 17 women across Washington.

2022 was a year of new heights for SOLA and we now include professional development, community building and the SOLA Awardee Video Spotlight. Read more about us below and on our ever-expanding SOLA Resources page.

About SOLA

SOLA stands for Support of Old Lady Artists and was founded in 2016 to honor accomplished, yet under-recognized, women artists that have persisted in long careers. SOLA began in 2017 with a $2000 unrestricted cash award to the first awardee, Gloria Bornstein, then grew to three awards in 2018 through 2021. See all winners on our Awardees’ page

In 2022, founder and internationally acclaimed artist Ginny Ruffner, once again expanded SOLA’s support for women artists to build community and further support. We are currently in a research phase to better understand what women need now. See our SOLA Resources page for current surveys and other information as it is developed. Find out how you can support our efforts on our Get Involved page.

Joan Stuart Ross, 2022 Awardee on SOLA Award

SOLA Leadership

Since its inception in 2016, SOLA founder and artist, Ginny Ruffner asked, “What else can we do to recognize and support women for their persistence and dedication?” To answer that she started 2022 determined to do more and established a small, but mighty team of experienced women professionals in the arts to explore and shape SOLA’s growth alongside her.

We welcome two new staff including Executive Director, Nichole DeMent, and Development Director, Marge Levy to work with Ginny and elevate mature Washington State women in the arts.

Nichole DeMent

Nichole DeMent

Executive Director

Marge Levy

Development Director; Vice President, Board of Directors

Ginny Ruffner

Artist, Founder & Board President

SOLA Board of Directors

  • Ginny Ruffner – Founder, Artist, Board President
  • Marge Levy - Board Vice President

  • Greg Robinson – Board Secretary

  • Earl Sedlik - Board Treasurer

  • Shari Behnke
  • Tim Detweiler
  • Julie Emerson

  • Fidelma McGinn

  • Judith Rinehart

  • Chase Rynd

  • Kim Shirley
  • Stephanie Stebich

SOLA Equity Statement

Artist and SOLA Founder, Ginny Ruffner, wanted to find a way to encourage and celebrate accomplished women artists whose work had not been sufficiently or widely recognized. She was also extremely familiar with the inequities in the art world and, having written and spoken about gender disparities for years, Support of Old Lady Artists (SOLA) was founded in 2016. 

Despite over 50 years of a bold feminist art movement addressing the inequities and bias in society, women continue to be underfunded, underseen, undercollected and underrecognized. Additionally, as per the World Health Organization in 2016, “Ageism is the most socially ‘normalized’ of any prejudice and is not widely challenged.” 

SOLA’s mission is “to award cash grants to female visual artists over 60 who are currently living in Washington State and have created a body of work spanning at least 25 years.” We recognize further systemic inequities exist as additional barriers for Black, Indigenous, Latina, Asian, and other women artists of color, as well as LGBTQAI, and those that are differently-abled. SOLA will continue to create equal access to funding and are dedicated to create future programs and resources through an equity lens. We were founded on the very spirit of change and triumph over adversity and will continue our work to dismantle barriers.


Awards Made

Since 2017

$2,000 Granted


$10,000 Granted in Total


$19,000 Granted in Total


$28,000 Granted in Total


$37,000 Granted in Total


$57,000 Granted in Total

$57,000 granted in October 2022

Awards Made

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© SOLA. All rights reserved.
Support of Old Lady Artists (SOLA) is recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by the IRS and registered with Washington State’s Charities Program. All donations are tax deductible by law. Tax ID Number: 81-4429124

SOLA mailing address: PO BOX 17554, Seattle, WA 98127