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Writers' Residence Wiki: Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA)


Location: Amherst, Virginia (just north of Lynchburg) [map]

Setting: Rural, foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Cost: Sliding scale, some full scholarships.

Approximate Number of Residents: 25

Writers Only or Other Arts: Writers, visual artists, composers

Living Accommodations: Most rooms are in a dormitory and are singles sharing a bath with one other room. Some studio/apartment combinations.

Workspace Accommodations: Most have separate studio space in a converted barn. A few studios are combined with living quarters. Some writing studios are nicer than others. Some are fairly minimalist, with old metal desks and not particularly appealing decor. Tending toward rustic. Tackboard walls where you can put up index cards or notes. Some spaces are somewhat upgraded. Internet is spotty in some rooms and studios. Cell phone reception is good. Consider working outside if the weather is nice. There is a lot of scenery.

Food: Three meals a day provided. VCCA does not accommodate special diets except there is a vegetarian option at each meal, but you must sign up for vegetarian meals, as they only prepare enough for declared vegetarians. Some kitchen facilities available in the barn/studio area (refrigerator, microwave, tea kettle, etc.) and refrigerator in the main dormitory. Apartment/studio buildings have kitchens. Dinners are great, but lunch can be less so. Usually leftovers, and then a little bit of sandwich stuff. The food is left in the fellows' kitchen for a few hours in the middle of the day for you to eat when you want. HOWEVER, be warned that the best leftovers will be gone quickly and if you go late to lunch sometimes you aren't left with a whole lot of options.

Amenities: Nearby Sweetbriar College offers swimming pool, exercise room, library, walking trails. VCCA has walking trails, bicycles, wireless internet.

What You Should Know Before You Go:

What You Should Take With You: Flashlight for walking to studio after dinner if you plan on working in the evenings, raincoat and rain boots, coffee, coffee press, any other food/drinks you need between meals. Bathing suit, exercise clothes. Change for the laundry facilities on site.

What You Should Know While You're There: Writers will often hold readings in the evenings or visual artists will hold open studios. These are usually announced at dinner. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know other artists and writers, but don't feel like you have to participate in all social gatherings or attend all readings. There is usually someone there with a car so you can catch a ride to a grocery store five minutes away. For art supplies, paper and printer cartridges, the drive is about 15 minutes.

Feedback From Those Who Have Been There: VCCA is great for people who don't want total isolation. The setting is beautiful and rural, but not too far from civilization.

Studio Barn
Composer's Studio
Writing Studio