Our History

The Beginning

The very first Whimsical Women show was Spring 1996 with only the founders Luli Sanderford and Linda Pallidino. The sisters had just recently lost their mother and making art was their way of coping with the loss. During their childhood, they watched their generous and caring mother, Ellen, create and share her artwork. They saw how her sharing of her art brought so many joy and brought her peace. So the Whimsical Women art show became a way to honor their mother and the idea that through the creative process you also can heal the soul.

The first show was actually combined with the selling of Luli’s bedding plants which she grew on her farm. But quickly, the women realized their art was selling better than the plants! The following spring they held the show again, this time inviting creative friends to join them. A few years later, they added a second show in Chapel Hill, NC. Advertising for the shows began by word of mouth. Luli would design flyers to hand out, but soon the show’s popularity made it easier to email the ever-growing list of customers and friends. The show kept growing and in a few years, they added a fall show in both Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill. And that is the tale of the accidental birth of our beloved Whimsical Women.

From the first shows of just a few artists to the latest show with over 2,000 people, the show continues to evolve and grow each year. The invitation would promise fun and frivolity and the shows always delivered. From free massages from Marti, to getting pedicures, offering homemade delicious free food, fun activities for kids, tractor rides, hula hooping, giant bubble blowing, fairy hair, beautiful folk music . . . a customer never knows what they might find at the next Whimsical Women show!

Photograph of Crossnore School Show, Fall 2019

Whimsical Women Today

The artist base started with 2 sisters. Now over 250 artists are on the books! The sisters asked many talented, hard working, and generous women to help run the show. They eventually created an Executive Board. A common sentiment from those lucky Executive members was how honored they felt to be included and to help their favorite show of the year! The sisters also felt strongly about the idea of a community working together to help each other and run the show.

While the show began on Luli’s farm, it has since been held in many different places over the years in both Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill. Today, the show has grown so large that the show for the last few years has been held in the fall at Crossnore School & Children’s Home in Winston-Salem. It has a serene, rustic atmosphere that closely resembles the feel of the original venue at Luli’s farm. This has been a lovely home for the show, and the Whimsical Women customer base donates money during the show to support the Children’s Home.

From humble farm gatherings to the stellar show that it is today, Whimsical Women has been a crazy, sweet ride. Starting out with gentle and soulful beginnings, the Whimsical Women art show has grown into a vibrant, all-day affair with thousands of customers enjoying beautiful art created by amazing, wonderful women. We cannot think of a more authentic and harmonious way to honor a mother who raised two girls who have gone on to touch so many people’s lives with their creation – embodying what it means to be Whimsical Women!