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Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA)

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) provides residencies for national and international writers, visual artists and composers to pursue their creative work without distraction and in an egalitarian interdisciplinary community.

Each year, VCCA hosts over 400 artists at Mt. San Angelo in the Blue Ridge foothills of central Virginia and nearly 50 artists at the Moulin à Nef in the medieval village of Auvillar in southwestern France. The artists who come to VCCA are selected by peer review juries for residencies of up to eight weeks and are provided with a private studio, a private bedroom, and three meals a day. Founded in 1971, VCCA’s “creative space” has advanced the work of over 5,700 Fellows.

Location

Amherst, Virginia: United States

The VCCA is located at Mt. San Angelo, a 12-acre campus within the nearly 4,000-acre holding of Sweet Briar College, whose library, athletic facilities, walking trails and other amenities are available to the Fellows of VCCA. Amherst, Virginia is approximately one hour south of Charlottesville and three hours from Washington, D.C. Our smaller facility at the Moulin à Nef in Auvillar in southwestern France is located on the Garonne River between Toulouse and Bordeaux.

Statistics

  • Residency Length: from 2-8 weeks, 3 weeks (average)
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 25 at Mt. San Angelo and 4 at Moulin à Nef
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 400 at Mt. San Angelo and 35 at Moulin à Nef
  • Total applicant pool in most current year: 800 for Mt. San Angelo and 60 for Moulin à Nef

Eligibility

  • Collaboration: Must apply and be accepted individually
  • Geography: Open to US artists, Open to non-US artists
  • Application deadline: May 15, September 15, January 15
  • Additional deadline info:
    June to September Residencies Deadline: January 15 Notification by March 31 October to January Residencies Deadline: May 15 Notification by July 31 February to May Residencies Deadline: September 15 Notification by November 30

Past Residents & Quotes

Past residents: 
David Del Tredici, Naomi Wolf, Ha Jin, Manil Suri, Alice McDermott, Jacque Hnizdovsky, Cy Twombly, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Nathan Currier, Gregory Maguire
It might seem an overstatement to say that my experience at VCCA has been the most important event in my literary life, but I assure you that is not hyperbole. The facilities were marvelous and staff magnificent in attentiveness.
— Margaret Ingraham, Fellow and VCCA Board President
At VCCA, there are no intentional cohorts. Our scheduling is fundamentally based on the individual artists' needs. A Fellow may arrive at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday and two weeks later, leave their residency at 2 p.m. on a Thursday. This ebb and flow of artists is unique and valued by our Fellows as new ideas and energy, personalities and interests, could walk through the door on any given day.
— Joy Heyrman, Executive Director

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private housing (individual apartment/cabin/house)
    Named for founder Elizabeth Coles Langhorne, the VCCA Fellows Residence houses bedrooms, dining facilities, kitchens, a library, laundry facilities, and recreation rooms. Each bedroom is private with a private sink and semi-private bath. Sliding glass doors open onto vistas of rolling pastures and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Three live-work spaces are also available. In Auvillar, Fellows are housed in the Maison Vieilhescaze, a four-bedroom house adjacent to the Studio Center. Fellows are responsible for their own housekeeping.
  • Meals: All/most meals are provided by organization
    VCCA Fellows are provided with three well-balanced meals every day, each featuring a vegetarian option. There are four small kitchens where residents may keep small quantities of food and do minimal cooking. At Auvillar, Fellows are responsible for preparing meals, one dinner each week is provided.
  • Computer/internet access: Computer and internet connection provided in common area (shared), Wireless Internet
  • Accessibility: housing/grounds/studios are accessible
    Six of the bedrooms in the Fellows' Residence are on the ground floor, and accessible to those in wheelchairs. Almost the entire studio complex is on one level and is a five- to ten-minute wheelchair ride along a private lane with minimal grade. If you are a wheelchair rider, be sure to mention this in your application so that we may accommodate you as well as possible. No accessibility at le Moulin à Nef.
  • Studios/special equipment: Photography (non-digital), Printmaking, Sculpture
  • Additional studio information: 
    Fellows at VCCA work in their own private studio. The Normandy-style barn built in the 1930s houses eleven studios for writers and nine for visual artists. The three studios for composers are equipped with pianos and one also has a Roland Electronic Keyboard. Two additional live/work spaces are available in the Writers' Cottage. All studios are air-conditioned and heated. The visual artists' studios are 500 to 700 square feet in size, with skylights, work surfaces, and sinks, all on the ground floor. One studio is equipped with a Dickerson combination press. A sculptors' studio has 220-volt power and a loading dock. A darkroom with two enlargers for printing 35mm and 4x5 negatives is available for photographers. The Moulin à Nef studios include a downstairs sculpture studio created as a working ceramics facility. Featuring two kilns and multiple kick-wheels, it is approximately 25 x 35 feet with high ceilings, a settlement sink, and access to the cement courtyard with a slop sink in the back. Two upstairs-furnished studios measure 15 x 18 feet and work well for writers or visual artists. The central upstairs studio is a 16-foot cube with state-of-the-art halogen lighting. The building is equipped with two bathrooms and connects to a charming outdoor courtyard.
  • Other facilities and services: There are walking trails on the grounds, as well as an outdoor pool enjoyed between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Transportation to the town of Amherst and Sweet Briar College is provided twice weekly. VCCA Fellows may use facilities at the College--libraries, computer labs, exercise facilities, etc. There is no smoking permitted in any of the buildings.

Residency Fees

VCCA is supported through the partnership of the artists it serves and the donors who are committed to advancing creative work. Application fee: $40. The cost of a VCCA residency is $150 per artist/per day. Fellows are asked to contribute towards that cost. Fellows are accepted regardless of their ability to pay. We are flexible in our scheduling practices and schedule based on the individual artists needs. Fellowships and need-based financial aid are available.

Stipends / other support

VCCA offers close to 16 Fellowship awards and 7 grant awards each year, some of which include travel and materials stipends. Available fellowships and details are listed on our website.

Additional expectations / opportunities

VCCA’s core mission is to support the creative work of the world’s best artists. Through its community partnerships, VCCA presents readings, performances, and exhibitions of Fellows’ work and quarterly Open Studios, which are all on a voluntary basis. Residency at the Moulin à Nef comes with the expectation that Fellows will engage with the community as part of a monthly scheduled event or more informally. Our international exchange program offers residential fellowships for VCCA Fellows in many parts of the world. More information is available on our website.

Contact Information

154 San Angelo Drive
Amherst, Virginia 24521
United States
Tel: 434-946-7236