Thursday, August 25, 2011

After Nationwide Search - VCCA Announces New Director

Following a nationwide search that began in March, VCCA is pleased to announce the appointment of Gregory Allgire Smith as our new Executive Director.

Mr. Smith bested a field of more than 100 highly qualified competitors and has thirty years’ experience in the nonprofit arts sector, twenty of them as chief executive. His focus is to raise arts organizations to a higher level of programmatic service, public recognition and financial stability, while continually broadening their network of advocates.

As board President Tina Walls said, “It was a rigorous search by a very dedicated committee, but Greg’s passion for the arts and his wide-ranging experience in arts education, management and fundraising made him an outstanding choice for taking VCCA to the next level of its growth.”

As most of you know, our current executive director, Suny Monk, is retiring on October 17 after fourteen years of excellent service and dedication. “Suny’s built such a solid and inspiring foundation for her successor to build on,” said Mr. Smith, “that taking on this new role is doubly an honor and a pleasure. I am extremely excited to be named the new executive director of VCCA, an organization with such stature of service to artists over the past forty years and potential for continued greatness in the coming years. VCCA’s mission, the high caliber of artists drawn to it as Fellows, the devoted and hard-working board and staff members, and the stunningly beautiful location--all of these factors make me thankful for my new professional role.”


Greg will be moving here from Cincinnati, Ohio, to begin work on October 1.

For the entire press release, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On

Earthquake epicenter courtesy Scientific American

VCCA had a whole lot of shaking going on but aside from losing our phone lines for a while, all is well.

Earthquakes are not standard Virginia fare. Yet at 5.8, the one that hit us yesterday was not the largest. The record holder was in 1897 at 5.9.

The epicenter in Mineral, Virginia is about 90 miles away. You'd think that since this quake was felt all the way up to Toronto, Canada, it would have been way stronger here. For a Virginian in August, the reason is ironic: our lithosphere is colder. The lithosphere is the outer rocky shell of Earth and because this crust is cooler on the East Coast, "...when something shakes, it is like hitting a bar of steel, it rings pretty well," according to Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center. The West Coast lithosphere has a higher temperature, plus it is divided by active faults - which breaks up the transmission of vibrations.

Still, even on the East Coast, thirty seconds in earthquake time is definitely longer than standard time - a good example of the amygdala in high gear. Our amygdalas got very busy laying down an extra set of memories on top of the 'standard' memories being generated by other parts of the brain. This additional input made the experience richer - which made it seem like the earthquake lasted longer than 30 seconds. Sort of a time warp.

Adds new meaning to the concentrated time artists, writers and composers depend on at VCCA.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Drew Hemenger World Premiere Part of 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Concert in New York City

The New York Chamber Music Festival presents, in a co-production with Symphony Space, a commemorative tribute to the 10th Anniversary of September 11. Hosted by BD Wong, this free concert will be performed by musicians from the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, and is dedicated to the people of New York City.

The concert will include the world premiere of Drew Hemenger's piano 4-hand version of Union Square, September 11, 2001, performed by the internationally acclaimed piano duo Pascal Rogé and Ami Rogé.

The September 11 Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Concert takes place at 7:00 pm Sunday, September 11 at Symphony Space.

For more information, CLICK HERE

Sandra Gibson's New Film in Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

The Toronto International Film Festival has invited Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder and composer Olivia Block to screen their new work Aberration of Light: Dark Chamber of Disclosure as part of their Wavelengths program, a curated presentation of the best in international avant-garde film and video. TIFF Festival dates are Sept. 8-18, 2011.

For more information - CLICK HERE

Monday, August 15, 2011

Inara Verzemnieks Wins 2011 Goldfarb Fellowship

Inara Verzemnieks has won the eleventh annual Goldfarb Family Fellowship. An award-winning journalist before leaving to start her writing career, Inara is currently an Arts Fellow in The Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in the (Portland) Oregonian, The Washington Post and The Atlantic, as well as the online literary magazine Defunct. In 2007, Verzemnieks was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. Her fully funded two-week residency at VCCA begins in late December.

The Goldfarb Family Fellowship is one of the most highly competitive awards offered by VCCA. This years competition was judged by VCCA Fellow Helen Benedict, a professor of journalism at Columbia University and the author of eleven books: six novels and five nonfiction.

The Goldfarb Fellowship is endowed by VCCA Fellow and former VCCA Board member, Ronald Goldfarb, a respected author, agent and attorney. He has written eleven books and over three hundred articles for publications including The Washington Post and The New York Times. Goldfarb is a founding partner in the law firm and literary agency, Goldfarb & Associates.

Previous winners of the Goldfarb Fellowship include E.J. Levy, who just won the Flannery O'Conner Short Fiction Award. (see below)


E.J. Levy wins Flannery O'Conner Short Fiction Award

E.J. Levy of Washington, D.C. - who won VCCA's 2009 Goldfarb Fellowship - has been named a winner of the Flannery O'Conner Short Fiction Award for her collection, My Life in Theory. The collection will be published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall.

E.J. Levy has published stories in journals including Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review and North American Review. She is also published widely as an essayist in publications including The New York Times, The Nation and Orion. She is the editor of the anthology Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New America Writers, which won a Lambda Literary Award.

The judge who selected Levy's manuscript, My Life in Theory, as a finalist noted, "Before I read this collection, I would have scoffed at the idea that I could be captivated by stories that address different theoretical constructs. But the theories investigated here quickly yield to an idiosyncratic cadre of characters."

Now in its twenty-eighth year, the Flannery O'Conner Award has helped launch the literary careers of such previous winners as Ha Jin (also a VCCA Fellow) and Antonya Nelson.

The Flannery O'Conner Short Fiction Award accepts submissions from April 1 to May 31 each year. Guidelines are available on their website.