ART SPEAKS: The Language of Dolls

NIADA 2021 Virtual Conference

August 19th – August 22nd
Registration is still open
to view the Programs

A unique opportunity to experience
a NIADA Conference from the comfort
of your own home.



Conference Programs and Events

How to Join the Virtual Conference on Facebook

The NIADA 2021 Virtual Conference will happen online in a Private Facebook Group on Thursday, August 19th – Sunday, August 22nd from 12:00pm – 5:00pm EDT each day (end time is approximate). Paid registrants will be invited to join the NIADA 2021 Virtual Conference Group. A schedule of events will be posted on the 2021 Virtual Conference Facebook Group and our website. If you are registered and miss an event you can go back and watch it later.

Not on Facebook? If you are not on Facebook please let us know. Once the Conference has opened Thursday, August 19th, you will be emailed a link and password to a private page on the NIADA website to view the daily Conference video programs. The emails will come to the account that you registered with. Non-Facebook Registrants are also automatically entered in the Prizes drawings. The list of winners will be posted on the Private NIADA website page. If you have any questions please contact us at:

NIADA 2021
Virtual Conference Programs

Private Facebook Group (paid registration required)

“Martha Thompson Dolls” – Diana Lence Crosby
“NIADA Early Years”  – UFDC and Diana Lence Crosby
“Martha Armstrong-Hand” – CA Scenic Coast Doll Club
“NIADA Art Dolls: Rich Traditions, New Ideas” – About NIADA

“Digital Cutting” – Catherine Mather
“The Art of Bill Nelson” – Chris Chomick
“Remembering Dianna Effner” – Juanita Zientara
“About the NIADA Academy” – Connie Smith
“My Life in Stitches” – Jo-Ellen Trilling
“Frida Kahlo – Her Style of Dress” – Leslie O’Leary
“Making Strong Paperclay Hands” – Luella Mossom
“NIADA Artist Floyd Bell” – Mary Ellen Frank
“3D Design and Doll Making” – Robert Tonner
“Voices from the Past” – Tatiana Baeva
“Photographing Your Dolls” – Dean Walters
“Design Fundamentals for Doll Artists” – Tanya Marriott
Visiting Artist “10 x 12” program – Shelley Thornton

Special Presentation by Guest Speaker
History of Black Dolls – Spotlight on I. Roberta Bell, NIADA – Barbara Whiteman


Barbara A. Whiteman is the founder and executive director of the Philadelphia Doll Museum, one of the earliest museums in America devoted exclusively to the collection and preservation of black dolls as artifacts of history. The museum holds more than 500 historically significant black dolls.

Ms. Whiteman is also the co-founder of the annual International Black Doll Convention, a member of the United Federation of Doll Clubs, and the Association of African American Museums. She has collected for more than twenty years, and has lectured nationwide on the history of black dolls to many cultural and civil organizations, schools, colleges, and art institutions.

Authored by Nayda Rondon, Ms. Whiteman wrote the Introduction to “Black Dolls: Proud, Bold & Beautiful” which she presented a social-historical context of dolls from the black diaspora.

Ms. Whiteman is a graduate of Temple University, in Philadelphia. PA with a BS in Biology and Secondary Education. She is retired from the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Hospital where she worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. She is a member of Zion Baptist Church and a Trustee at the Baptist Women’s Center in Philadelphia.

“Artists in a Different Light”
– Beyond Dollmaking: NIADA Artists share another aspect of themselves.
“Favorite Tools” and “Techniques”
– NIADA Artists share their favorite tools and/or techniques.
ART SPEAKS: Artists Voices
– NIADA Artists panels answer interview questions

ART SPEAKS: Patron & Associates Voices
– Patrons & Associates answer interview questions
ART SPEAKS: Patron Collections
– Patrons & Associates share their collections

PRIZES: Souvenir Dolls * Books * Artists Handmade pins * Aprons * Totes and more…..
(Winners will be posted in the Facebook Conference Group. You don’t have to be present to Win A Prize!)
DOWNLOADS: Discount Coupons * Luella Mossom Paperclay Hands PDF * Bill Nelson Paper Puppets PDF

NIADA Auctions
Open to the Public

No conference registration fee required

NIADA_AuctionIconNIADA Auctions – NOW CLOSED
The Silent Auction “Alter Egos” will be hosted on NIADA’s new auction website. The Auction opens Thursday, August 19th at 12:00pm (EDT) and ends Sunday, August 22nd starting @ 12:00pm (noon) EDT with 10 minute staggered closing times to 4:20pm EDT.

Note the ending times! Bidders will need to register to participate in the auction. If you participated in one of our previous auctions make sure your bidder profile is up-to-date.

SPECIAL AUCTION – “Ginger” Robert Tonner’s 3D Printed Doll – NOW CLOSED
Created by Robert for his Conference program “3D Design and Doll Making”, he has generously donated the finished 3D doll “Ginger” as a fundraiser benefitting NIADA’s mission. The doll is truly one-of-a-kind, 3D-printed in resin and hand-painted by Robert.
The Tonner Special Auction opens at the same time as the Alter Egos Auction and closes Sunday, August 22nd @ 4:30pm EDT

View the Auction Gallery

NIADA 2021
Gallery Exhibition

Open to the Public

NIADA Gallery – Artists Exhibition
Each participating NIADA Artist has their own online Exhibit, hosted by Artwork Archive with artwork for viewing only or available for purchase. The Exhibition is now open to the public – click on the button below.


NIADA 2021
Artist Critiques

Artists who will be visiting the NIADA 2021 Virtual Conference can apply for a virtual Critique by three NIADA artists. Read the Critique info here (ABOUT CRITIQUES)

The Critiques will take place in a Zoom meeting and will be organized around the Conference dates Thursday, August 19 through Sunday, August 22.

Due to the limited space available, we may not be able to accept all requests. If you are interested, please contact NIADA Standards Chair MARLAINE VERHELST.

The deadline for applying for a Critique is July 15.

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Reviews of the NIADA 2020 Virtual Conference

The Virtual Conference was wonderful! I have always wanted to attend a conference but travel is not an possible for me so this was the best of all possible worlds. The demos were great, but my favorite thing was the studio tours. Seeing where the artists work was a treat. Everyone works differently and seeing their workspace is an incite to their personality. Thank you for doing this as it gives me an opportunity to travel without leaving home.

Jami R

The 2020 conference was a huge success. I enjoyed the staggered events throughout the day and the ability to view at a different time, or just review.

Lynne O.

I would be thrilled to attend a virtual conference! I have some mobility issues and this would be the fulfillment of a long time desire to experience NIADA. Thanks for the opportunity!

Sharard K.

Thank you so much for the 2020 virtual conference. It was one of the best things to happen last year. I Loved the intimacy of having the sessions in my own home where I could visit them in comfort at a time that worked for me. It was especially exciting to see the artist studio's (however they are much more organized than mine) I could clearly see the work that went into it. I have become a real fan of virtual events. No travel, and airline angst. I think this is the wave of the future. You can involve people all over the world. I really look forward to this years conference.

Anne M.

It took a while to learn how to navigate the conference, but I finally figured it out. Enjoyed it immensely especially the tour of Shelley Thornton's home and studio. In fact, I enjoyed all the studio visits. Eventually I bought one of Tatiana Baeva's necklaces. Thank you very much. A hit in my book!

Mary C.

I am so grateful that you did this for us!! It was awesome. I will attend every virtual conference you have!

Cindy D.

All the tours, presentations and demos were terrific! The overall conference presentation was so appealing and professional. It was a visual feat for the eyes and heart!

Juanita Z.

The studio tours were fabulous! It's so interesting to see each artist's work space. Such marvelous work often comes from small spaces. I also loved the 10×12 program, Stephanie's program on her Japanese trip, and Shelley's presentation on her one-woman exhibit.

Laurel B.