Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA)


Location: Amherst, Virginia

Mission: Serenity. Light. Space. Privacy. The ability to work uninterrupted for hours, days, weeks in a quiet studio cradled in 400 acres of rolling Blue Ridge farmland. These are just a few of the reasons why more than 400 of the world’s foremost writers, composers, and visual artists come to VCCA each year. Every residency includes a comfortable, private bedroom, three meals a day, and a private studio.

Among our Fellows are recipients of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy in Rome, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, as well as winners of National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, and MacArthur genius awards. In the past 41 years, more than 4,000 writers, artists and composers have benefited from residencies at VCCA, making it, in the words of one of our Fellows, “one of the most important sources of art in the world.”

VCCA. Because creative space is a creative edge.

Cost: Artists are accepted at VCCA without consideration for their financial situation. We ask Fellows to contribute according to their ability. The actual cost to us of a residency is $180 per day. We request that a contribution of 25% to 50% ($45-$90 per day) be made by each artist when possible. If you are requesting a daily contribution of less than $45, please note amount and special circumstances below.

Application Fee: no application fee

Number of Artists: Up to 23 at a time

Collaborators and Couples:Collaborators and couples should apply individually, paying individual application fees, with the understanding that one person may be accepted and the other may not. Please note on your application if you are willing to attend a residency if the person you are applying with is not accepted. Each artist or writer accepted for a residency will be offered a separate workspace, unless otherwise requested.

Accommodations: Every residency includes a comfortable, private bedroom, three meals a day, and a private studio. To promote a sense of community, and to provide the opportunity to meet and talk with other artists, breakfasts and dinners are served to the Fellows family style in the residence dining room. Lunches are brought to the studio barn. Just show up ready to work. We’ll take care of the rest.

Elizabeth Coles Langhorne Residence for Fellows: Named for founder Elizabeth 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.

The living room has a large fireplace and grand piano. An adjoining room has a television with satellite reception. The library, with its hardy collection of books and journals, is also equipped with a high-speed wireless connection and a computer for checking email and a variety of audio equipment. The residence is a five-minute walk from the studio barn. There is no smoking in the Fellows’ Residence.

Accessibility: Six of the bedrooms in the Fellows’ Residence are on the ground floor. One bedroom is fully accessible with a low sink and a roll-in shower. 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.

Thirteen Studios for Writers: Writers studios are equipped with a desk, ergonomic chair and good lighting.

Three Studios for Composers: The three studios for composers are equipped with grand pianos, and one also has a Roland Electronic Keyboard with available MIDI connection.

Nine Studios for Visual Artists: The visual artists’ studios are 500 to 700 square feet in size, with skylights, large windows, and sinks. One studio is equipped with a Dickerson combination press and one has a loading dock. A darkroom with two enlargers for printing 35mm and 4×5 negatives is available for photographers.

Length of Stay: 2 weeks to 2 months

Demographic/Medium: For 40 years the VCCA has attracted renowned artists working at the top of their powers, along with talented younger artists at the beginning of their professional careers. Admission is highly competitive. Each year VCCA supports the work of about 350 artists – painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers; composers of opera, symphony, and art song; writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays for stage and screen; collaborative, multi-media and new-genre works. At the VCCA you typically find 23 Fellows in residence at one time. These can include Pulitzer Prize winners, Guggenheim Fellows, recipients of NEA and MacArthur Fellowships, Grammies and National Book Awards. Once artists come to VCCA, they become part of a strong community of fellow artists — Fellows who share ideas and support each other, even beyond their time together at VCCA.

Benefits: (see above)

Deadline: January 15, May 15, & September 15





3 thoughts on “Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA)

  1. The studios were sunny and clean (although, not so clean that you had to worry about accidentally leaving a mark). The food was pretty ok – it’s always nice to go to a residency where they cook for you, so you don’t have to waste precious time on food prep/shopping. There was a continuous stream of people (about 1/2 of those present) who had been to this residency before (many several times), which was interesting. The living quarters are aging, but clean. I was able to complete a lot of work while I was there (May 2014). Neat feature: there’s an outdoor pool that is open seasonally. There was a lot of concern about ticks (the insects) – just a heads up.

  2. I found VCCA a peaceful, lovely place to get a lot of work done. It’s not grand, but it’s nice and well-run, with serious, high-quality colleagues. The grounds are well-groomed, mostly graceful open space. The food is basic and somewhat heavy (not health food). The bedrooms all have lovely views but no sonic privacy (all rooms have open spaces above their doors, due to the design of the heating / air conditioning system, which can’t be individually controlled; I found the AC freezing cold). FYI, the two photos currently on this page next to the ratings box (the room with two red beds, and the writer working at a bay window) definitely aren’t photos of VCCA. The first appears to be from VCCA’s sister res in France, and the second looks to be from another international res VCCA has an exchange with.

  3. The photos on this page are not of VCCA and are frankly nicer than VCCA – would be good to correct this

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