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In Memoriam: Nick DiGiovanni and Elisabeth Stevens

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Nicholas DiGiovanni Fiction writer, Highland Park, NJ 1954-2018
A six-time VCCA Fellow, Nick DiGiovanni was a fiction writer, essayist, award-winning journalist, blogger and teacher of creative writing. He died on July 13, 2018.His last residency at VCCA was in February 2018.We were happy that he was able to be with us one last time.A collection of essays titled "Man Has Premonition of Own Death," inspired by an ancestor's death in the 1920s and DiGiovanni's own unexpected encounter with serious illness, was published in 2017 by Blue Heron Book Works. His novella “Rip,” a modern-day parody of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” was published in 2011 by Black Angel Press. He was one of the writers included in “Songs of Ourselves,” the anthology published by Blue Heron Book Works in 2015.
DiGiovanni founded the Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, held annually in western New Jersey from the late 1990s through the late 2000s, which featured many widely-acclaimed poets incl…

An Update on Recent Collateral Reparations Fellows

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Collateral Reparations: Military Veterans and the Healing Power of Artists Residencies, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, funds VCCA residencies for military veteran artists. The second iteration of the grant supported six Fellows and finished earlier this year. As part of VCCA’s final reporting to the NEA, we caught up with the Fellows and asked about work produced during their time here.
Creative writer Odie Lindsey (Nashville, TN) served during the first Gulf War in an Army Reserve unit. He now teaches at Vanderbilt University and was in residence at VCCA in June 2017. While here, he completed the working draft of a novel to be published by W.W. Norton. He also gave a public reading from his story collection We Come to Our Senses as part of a talk about veterans' issues and art therapy at Riverviews Artspace in nearby Lynchburg.
Visual artist Amber Hoy (Rapid City, SD) was in the military for eight years and deployed to Qayyarah West, Iraq from 2006-2007 with th…

An International Residency Experience

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VCCA has partnerships with five international residencies, including Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus. Each year, VCCA sends two visual artists, one writer, and one composer for a six-week residency (June-mid-July) to the town of Schwandorf in southern Germany. Fellows are housed in the Künstlerhaus, which features private rooms, a shared living area, and kitchen.

The four Fellows in Schwandorf this summer, writer Judith Cooper, composer Iván Ferrer-Orozco, painter Olive Ayhens, and photographer Tucker Hollinsworth were featured at the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus Open Studios Day. Read more about them.

Judith Cooper was "very productive at this residency, and found the staff to be delightful and supportive." Cooper continues, "There are beautiful walks right in the area, including a castle dating from 1305 and a path that leads past the grounds and into farmlands behind it, and a walk along the River Naab into Schwandorf proper. People living in the area couldn’t be more welcomin…

The Owl

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A beloved sculpture that stands in the VCCA Studio Barn recently sparked a fact-finding mission that ended with a surprising revelation. At almost 8 feet tall, the large, totem-like sculpture of a barn owl quietly stands sentry at an intersection in the Studio Barn Complex. Next to it, a brass plaque reads, "THE OWL, Blanche Dombek, 1953-1954, Paris, France."
How did a sculpture this large created in 1953 in Paris land here at VCCA, which was founded almost 20 years later and didn’t put down roots at Mt. San Angelo until 1977? Had Dombek been a Fellow? How did this massive piece get here?
Blanche Dombek had four long residencies at VCCA in the 1980s. The only information listed in the VCCA database is that The Owl was donated by Dombek in 1984, over 30 years after its creation in Paris.
Google search returns on Dombek are sparse, with the exception that she had a connection to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College) in Lynchburg, Virginia, just 20 minutes down …

Etchings 2018 in the books!

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The Auvillar Community Connection

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VCCA’s programming in Auvillar is greatly enriched by the Auvillar community and it's surrounding areas.

This has become clear during the Etchings Festival when a number of community members welcomed guest composers, performers, and participants into their homes. Jacques and Annick Sarraut hosted a beautiful dinner for the entire Etchings Festival as well as others from the community. After a successful first concert, Joelle Cywie welcomed the Etchings guest composers, performers, and staff into her home for celebratory champagne and dessert.

VCCA-France has members in the United States, Auvillar, and the surrounding communities. Many of these members support the programming by welcoming VCCA Fellows in residence or program participants into their homes for cooking demonstrations and meals, and by taking them to visit local sites during their time in Auvillar as well as attending events hosted by VCCA. The VCCA-France is currently helping to raise funds to purchase a keyboard for…

Etchings Is Underway!

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The port of Auvillar is full of music now that the Etchings Festival has begun. From the banks of the Garonne River and walking along Esplanade du Port, part of the Saint Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage route that runs through Auvillar and right in front of the Moulin a Nèf, you can hear the creation of music in progress. 

Beginning with the arrival dinner on June 30, the guest composers, performers and participants have come together in the village to create, polish, and explore contemporary music.

A view from the lavoir on Rue de la Fontaine across the river. Rue de la Fontaine is part of the steep hill up to the village from the port. 

The lavoir is a nice spot for a breather, as it is just past the steepest part of the hill and there is a small population of frogs and fish that live in the water there.