NIADA artists, patrons and friends have come together to honor the incomparable Arlyne Garten. Arlyne was born on October 9, 1925 in New York City. She worked as an interior designer for many years in New York City and later in Scottsdale, Arizona. While living in Arizona she became very involved in activities at the renown Heard Museum. She was drawn to the institution’s mission of accurately portraying the arts and culture of Native Americans. In 1982, June Goodnow sponsored Arlyne’s application to NIADA.

By the mid 80’s Arlyne had retired in Washington DC and was a very active NIADA member. Over the years she took on every role open to patrons. Arlyne carefully kept personal records of her responsibilities and of each NIADA conference. No task gave her more pleasure than welcoming newcomers to NIADA and maintaining contact with the artists and patrons she came to love. Early on, Arlyne teamed up with fellow New Yorker Barbara Steiker. The two came to epitomize the very essence of what the honorific term patron is all about. Arlyne’s vast collection stands as a testament to her respect of the doll as art and of her affection for the artists.

In recent years Arlyne worked as a volunteer at the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian as well as the American History Museum. For more than a decade, she took the METRO to her regular assignment in the White House information office. Arlyne’s circle of interests was wide, but she never feared stretching it to include a new adventure, embrace a new friend or to travel. Arlyne passed away on July 24, 2009. Here members of that circle share their memories of one gone too soon. Enjoy!
~ Juanita Zientara, Patron

NIADA Artists

Unbridled Laughter…Devotion to Friendship…Dedication to Art…Champion of Causes…Beauty of Soul and Appearance…Each Memory a Treasure…Each Thought a Gift. We love you, Arlyne.
~Jodi and Richard Creager

When I first came to NIADA as a nervous visiting artist Arlyne was the 1st person to greet me and never failed to be encouraging. Whenever I next looked in the mirror after a big hug & kiss for Arlyne I always was a big lipstick smack on my cheek!
~Kathryn Walmsley

Arlyne, I bless you and your place on my Path that allowed me to know myself more fully.
Love, Akira (Blount)

Arlyne, Always encouraging, always giving, always gracious…I will always remember the “discussions” she would have with Barbara. I shall miss her.
~Robert Tonner

Dear Arlyne, you were greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all who met you at NIADA. Your collection of Artist Dolls was wonderful to see. Thank you for being such a fine Patron. Especially to the new NIADA artists and to NIADA for all these many years
Gratefully, Diana Lence Crosby

New Life New Power! Go Girl!! We miss you Arlyne!!
~Elizabeth Brandon 2009

Arlyne will live in our hearts as a champion of our craft. Let’s all do her proud!
~Stephanie Blythe

Dear Arlyne, One out of the many memories…at the Shakespeare Theatre and Restaurant in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England, 1993, before we saw “The Storm”. I’m so grateful having met you (last in Switzerland in 2008.) Thank you for everything. I will miss you.
Love, Elisabeth Flueler-Tomamichel

When we grow old, and fall in love with the dolls whost house we share, along come many memories of collectors whose passion we share. With all the caring, and pairing and sharing comes the friendship never ending. It is with these words to you, Arlyne, I am my love extending…
In memoriam, Faith Wick 2009

To Arlyne, You meant a lot to us! I will always remember you—
Love, Nancy (Wiley)

My fondest memories of Arlyne are from our travels in Japan, where Junko led a bunch of doll people like baby chicks from one marvelous adventure to the next. One day we took a ride on small boats down a river, and Arlyne’s knees would not permit her to sit down inside the boat, so a chair was provided, and she sat regally atop the chair atop the boat, above all, and floated downstream like a queen on a barge. Arlyne was a force to be reckoned with. She was out-going, funny, energetic but laid-back, and a devoted friend, generous with her love and support. She was larger than life.
~Shelley (Thornton)

Words cannot express how much I loved and enjoyed being with you, Arlyne. Thank you for all your support, ecouragement and friendship. I will always remember on Christmas day…you came in to our house with a big smile, and with a huge bag on you back saying, “Ho, ho, ho!” We all, including the children and grandchildren, loved you.
We miss you, Junko (Liesfeld)

Arlyne: In 1996, when I was a lowly visiting artist, I had to miss my flight to NIADA due to a family emergency. A day later, when things had stabilized, my family encouraged me to go, but since mine had been an air miles flight, I no longer had a way to get there! I made a tearful call to cancel my conference reservation to Arlyne, the conference chair that year, but she told me to call the airline & not to take “No” for and answer. “Just be your sweet self, tell them you’ll sit on the wing, if necessary, & if they can’t help, ask to speak to a superior,” she said. I went all the way to the top, got my flight, & no one was happier to see me than Arlyne was!
~Heather Maciak

We were very nervous when attending our first NIADA Conference in 1994. It was Arlyne who first greeted us and made us feel so welcomed. She has always been a wonderfully supportive patron and will be sorely missed.
~Chris (Chomick) & Peter (Meder)

Thank you!
~Annie Wahl

My stories about Arlyne are too long—and politically incorrect. But I’ll never forget her first –and last- simulator ride at Universal Studios. I warned her but a friend said, “Come on, Arlyne, it’s fun!” Afterwards, as a little color returned to her face, she said, “I’ll never go on one of those ‘simulator” rides again as long as I live!” But she was a game lady and would give anything a try. Fun is what I first think of about Arlyne. She was a warm, kind, caring person, but she had a wicked sense of humor and was always ready for a good time. And a good time is what I had around Arlyne.
Smiling, Nancy Walter

Bon Voyage Arlyne, take your place among the angels.
Love Helen (Kish)

NIADA Patrons

Dear Arlyne, together we have spent unforgettable time in Switzerland and around Europe. I miss you. Sending you lots of greetings.
With love, Alice Schelbert Switzerland

For years I knew Arlyne as a friendly and jolly companion. She was the Best Friend Forever of the late Barbara L. Steiker, a long time NYC patron. Barbara always kept me up-to-date about the activities of Arlyne.
Sincerely, Leona Peterson

Dearest Arlyne, I will miss your big smile, great laugh and that glint in your eye! You’re the only one who ever called me “Chrissy”—a name I would never have answered to from any one else!
~Krystyna Poray Goddu

My memories of Arlyne are tied to my memories of Barbara Steiker. They were like a matched set of knowledge, enthusiasm and love of the art doll. They greeted me, made me feel welcome and started me on my path to collecting.
~Diana Rew

Arlyne brought sunshine and smiles wherever she went…like the flowers in springtime. Arlyne was special to my mom…Arlyne was special to me…Arlyne was special to my daughters. And she made everyone around her feel special too.
~Jeanie Steiker Corn

Farewell Alyne, tireless doll aficionado and devoted friend to Artists and Patrons!
Love, Sara (Chason)

My respect for Arlyne lies here …with this collection of attributions and affections. As well as I came to know her over the years, I still wish we had had more time. I must remember her generosity and pay that forward.
With love, Juanita Zientara

There is a hole in my heart… Arlyne was like a second mother to me. A warm and always supportive friend. I’ll miss her insistent and distinctive messages in that voice. “Laurel? It’s Arlyne!”
~Laurel Breitkopf

Dollology Club of Washington DC Members

Bon Voyage, Arlyne, on your greatest journey of all. We will miss you.
With love, Jane Thompson

Arlyne, You’ll be missed and thought of often. Our switchboard operator at the White House and a long, long time friend and club member of Dollology of Washington, DC
Love, Rosa CullenArlyne

I spent several delightful hours with Arlyne some years ago. Accompanied by Jennifer Kohn Murtha we were invited to Arlyne’s apartment to view some newly acquired doll artist creations. With patient response to my questions she peeled back layers of mystery about the artists and their dolls. Thanks to Arlyne’s passion I now appreciate this special genre’ of doll collecting.
~Bernice Millman Dollology Club of DC

An evening with good food, friends, and conversation! That’s our Arlyne. Always great memories and treasures. A friend!
~Dolly Berg

Memories of Happy Travels with Arlyne…
Her Chauffer, Ann Coleman

Butterflies, like some people leave traces of color that lighten our lives…Arlyne did…
~Bettyanne Twigg

You will be truly missed!
~Ruth Gaborko President, Dollology Club of Washington DC

My fondest memories of Arlyne focus on her New York wit.  While sharing a cab with Arlyne one February on a cold and blustery day in New York, Arlyne admonished the cabbie, who was driving aggressively.  Her exact words:  “Hey, you! DON’T PLAY CHICKEN ON MY NICKEL!”  I especially enjoyed the Arlyne Garten/ Barbara Steiker show.  I miss her.
~Marj Chirikjian 

I have no idea of her age because, unlike most of us, she really knew how to put on make-up and dress gorgeously and come out looking so fine. A sad loss to many I’m sure.
~Terry Danner

My last best time with the elegant Arlyne was in the company of Heather Maciak and Dolly Berg sitting down to a wonderful meal cooked by Don in the warm and gracious home of the Zientara’s. All went well until we took the shortest way home through Washington, D.C. Panic set in when our route was closed. We didn’t need to worry…we had “Mighty Arlyne” who knew DC like the back of her hand. With much laughter on our part, she took us through the tangle of the city she knew so well. Arlyne was a first class lady and is greatly missed.
~Margie Stoker


The world is emptier without her! Friend, inspiration, world traveler, collector, beauty queen and caregiver.
With love and fond memories, Neil (Zukerman) and Tom

In the great scheme of things, our community of doll makers and patrons is quite small and when we lose someone – particularly one as vibrant and devoted as Arlyne – it feels like a family member has left us.
Sincerely, R. John and Susan Wright

She was quite a character…always quick-witted with a real love for gossip…in a very funny way…never malicious. I loved talking to her…learning about those artist she felt to be truly talented…and, those she didn’t!  Arlyne and I shared a love for the wonderful fabrics, innovative designs and extraordinary concepts that brought dollmaking to a new level ..but still reflected the history and traditions of the past. Arlyne was a warm, generous genuine friend to all …we will miss her dearly.
~Barrie and Danny Shapiro The Toy Shoppe