Monday, July 30, 2012

IT'S TIME TO APPLY — VMFA Visual Arts Fellowships 2013-14

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is now accepting applications for 2013-14 Visual Arts Fellowships. Grants from $4,000 to $8,000 are awarded to professional, graduate and undergraduate artists.

You must have been a legal resident of Virginia for 24 months preceding the application deadline of November 9, 2012. 

For more about the eligibility requirements and an application, click here

Monday, July 23, 2012

Coming Soon: Rome Prize 2013 Competition

Competition Deadline: 1 November 2012

One of the leading overseas centers for independent study and advanced research in the arts and the humanities, the American Academy in Rome offers up to thirty fellowships for periods ranging from six months to two years.

Rome Prize winners reside at the Academy’s eleven-acre center in Rome and receive room and board, a study or studio, and a stipend. Stipends for six-month fellowships are $14,500 and stipends for eleven-month fellowships are $27,000.

Fellowships are awarded in the following fields:
  • Architecture
  • Design (including graphic, fashion, interior, lighting, and set design, engineering, urban planning, and other related design fields)
  • Historic Preservation and Conservation (including architectural design, public policy, and the conservation of works of art)
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Literature (awarded only by nomination through the American Academy of Arts and Letters)
  • Musical Composition
  • Visual Arts
  • Ancient Studies
  • Medieval Studies
  • Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
  • Modern Italian Studies
Applications will be available in early September

Monday, July 16, 2012

9 VCCA Poets Read to a Full House in DC

On July 15, Split This Rock and Busboys and Poets celebrated VCCA with a reading from Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo — an anthology of poems that were written about or inspired by VCCA residencies. The house was packed with folks who came to hear nine VCCA Fellows read from the popular anthology. (Photos by Split This Rock board member Dan Vera and Pete Montgomery.)
Split This Rock Director Sarah Browning welcomes a full house to the reading of Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo at Busboys and Poets.
Anthology co-editor Andrea Carter Brown and contributor Kim Roberts share the excitement.
Contributor Karren LaLonde Alenier reads from Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo.
Contributor Holly Bass reads work she wrote while in residence at VCCA.
Contributor Becky Gould Gibson reads from the anthology.
Co-editor Margaret B. Ingraham reading her poem in the anthology.
Contributor Kim Roberts reads a poem she wrote while in residence at Mt. San Angelo.
VCCA Fellow Dan Vera tells the story about being chased by a cow while out for a ride at Mt. San Angelo.
Contributor Michele Wolf reading from Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

SUNDAY, JULY 15 — Nine VCCA Poets Reading at Busboys and Poets

If you want to find out what a VCCA residency is like, or reminisce about one, don't miss this reading at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, on July 15. Nine VCCA poets will read from the poetry anthology, Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo, edited by Margaret B. Ingraham and Andrea Carter Brown. 

For more info about any of these poets, click on their name: Karren LaLonde Alenier, Ned Balbo, Holly Bass, Andrea Carter Brown, Becky Gould Gibson, Margaret B. Ingraham, Kim Roberts, Dan Vera and Michele Wolf.

Sunday, July 15, 2012 
5:00 - 7:00 pm 
Busboys and Poets 
2021 14th Street, NW (at V St.)
Washington, DC
Busboys and Poets has a $5 admission charge

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fellow Collaboration That Began at VCCA-France Now Opening at Les Yeux du Monde in Charlottesville

"Horn 1" by Rob Tarbell, 2012, mirrored glass with integrated projector and ipod
In the summer of 2010, artist Rob Tarbell and composer Douglas Boyce met at Moulin à Nef, VCCA's facility in Auvillar, France. Their collaboration began with the mysterious singing of an Auvillarian bird they couldn't identify—birdsong in a foreign language. 

Two years later, their exploration of space and light, songs and flight, is complete. Bird-like Things in Things Like Trees—the show they conceived in that beautiful Gascon village—is opening at Les Yeux du Monde art gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia.

EXHIBITION:  Bird-like Things in Things Like Trees
OPENING RECEPTION:  Friday, July 13, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
LIVE PERFORMANCE:  7:00 pm with Harmonious Blacksmith 

C-Ville article: "Rob Tarbell and Douglas Boyce Fuse Visual Art and Musical Composition"

Rob Tarbell
(Photo from "Checking in with Rob Tarbell" article in C-Ville)

Douglas Boyce
Le VCCA-France offre un séjour artistique dans l’Etat de Virginie, USA 
Prix Résidence Moulin à Nef 
à un artiste (plasticien) de la Région Midi-Pyrénées ou Aquitaine

Written On A Shady Porch In Post-Derecho Mt. San Angelo

Poem Concluding with a Derecho 
by Aaron Baker
It doesn’t know the names of things and won’t stop to revise.
Summoned, wraith-like, out of the corn fields of Iowa,
out of general error, the oath of the deserted wife,
the farmboy’s dream of the coast, out of bitterest arguments
too long delayed, it builds among the inland prairies and plains—
not ignorance but total and undifferentiated knowledge.
It moves—slowly at first—against Illinois, Indiana
and the Virginias.
                                   And so dusk on Mount San Angelo
where the artists are gathered, crackers and wine, to greet
the arriving genius. Lights flicker, flicker out. The treeline hoves
and plunges in the teeth of the squall. Hold hands! Hold hands!
The painter puts down her knife, then takes it up in darkness.
The composer puts his hands over his ears.

Listen: the dream of the artist is transformation.
The derecho shatters the cedar, pitches treetops into housetops
and brother against brother. Separates roots from earth,
action from principle, the right hand’s knowledge
of what the left hand is doing—and then gives us
ten days of life among the wreckage. Downed lines, broken
limbs, the music of chainsaws and generators.  Said the novelist
from New York with a note of disdain, “It’s like somebody
came through here and pitched a giant tantrum.”

And so we mistake ourselves, fumble and mutter
amidst our notebooks,  canvases, and drained laptops.
We curse  the heat, the power company, the governor.
We try to convince ourselves of everything except
that we’ve been stunned into enervation and futility
by our encounter with the one true genius of our age.
A poem ends. The derecho ends the poem.


Aaron Baker, poet
Chicago, Illinois

To see photos and read more about the Derecho Days at VCCA, see our blogs posted between July 2-9


Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 10 of the Worst Heat Wave On Record - And Still No Power!

The visual artists rise early so they can work in their studios until the heat accumulates to blistering levels. When it is finally unbearable, they seek cool havens. In the early days, the Ascension Episcopal Parish Hall was the only oasis. Then the Amherst Public Library opened with ac and wi-fi, then the Sweet Briar computer labs got power. Fellows saw the utility work crews—but still no respite for VCCA.

By dinnertime—the Fellows' Residence is searingly hot. At night, some Fellows sleep on wet towels or stretch out on the concrete floors of their studios. They laugh about having to wear sweaters if the temperature ever drops to the 80s again.

And during all of it, they're writing, painting, composing—sometimes incorporating the derecho into their work. Indeed, they've been so determined to maintain their discipline that they turned down an offer to sleep cool at Sweet Briar College.

Late Thursday night, Sheila and Craig Pleasants finally got power at their own house, and invited the VCCA kitchen staff to come over and cook there—away from the sweltering kitchen they'd been slaving in three times a day for seven days. This way Fellows could come over and dine in luxurious air conditioning.

Sarah, Jenny and Gwen chose to keep cooking at VCCA—because the commercial stove is considerably larger and all the supplies are on hand—but a plan was hatched. When dinner was ready, it was trucked over to the Pleasants' house. The Fellows carpooled to follow Craig over and, for the first time in six days, the Fellows enjoyed dinner in a room that was less than 100°. But no one wore a sweater.

Dinner at the Pleasants' oasis has been the routine ever since. On Saturday night, they had a reading where Aaron Baker read his new poem about the derecho.
Above photo: after dinner at the home of Sheila and Craig Pleasants. Left to right beginning with the front row: Jacob Greenberg (in purple shirt). Second Row: Nicole Parcher, Katy Didden, Scott Gendel, JoAnn Balingit and Sheila Gulley Pleasants holding Scout. Back Row: Cathryn Hankla, Gina Occhiogrosso, Laura Catherine Brown, Gregory Sale, Aaron Baker, Janet Wondra, Susan Stabile, Christopher McEvoy and Elizabeth Lide. Standing: Paul Kayhart and Craig Pleasants. (Not pictured: Katherine Min.) Photo by Elizabeth Lide.
While the Fellows were fueling up, so were their tools.
Three photos above by Sheila Pleasants.

  • Resident Artists Barbara Bernstein and David Garratt—who have worked every waking hour since the derecho hit. They haven't even been able to enjoy a cool dinner at the Pleasants' because they need to continuously monitor the generator that is refrigerating all the food
  • Facilities Manager Mike Patterson—who has been on the job every single day since the derecho shook up our world
  • Jenny, Gwen and Chef Sarah—for serving up three nourishing meals a day under very trying conditions
  • Kathy Chase—and the congregation at Ascension Episcopal for their generosity in opening their doors to our Fellows
  • Amherst Public Library—another cool escape for our Fellows
  • Sweet Briar College computer labs—another port for Fellows in the post-derecho storm
  • Cheryl Elkins—head of summer programs at Sweet Briar College, for offering the Fellows housing relief

 We have air conditioning and phones, but no Internet yet

Friday, July 6, 2012

Of Derechos, Cowboys and Heros

Derecho has the ring of a cowboy in an old spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood. This Derecho rode into Virginia on June 29 under cover of darkness and, like all cinematic villains, it was intent on mischief. Tough old Mt. San Angelo trees that had weathered thousands of challenges from storms before, finally lost to the galeslinging Derecho, holding their ground even as they fell.

No flinty-eyed Clint came to our rescue, but there was no shortage of heroes. Our Resident Fellows Barbara Bernstein and David Garratt worked through the storm Friday night then began again at 5:30 am Saturday morning. The driveway of Facilities Manager Mike Patterson was blocked by debris, so David went to pick him up. While David and Mike were clearing paths and cleaning up the Mt. San Angelo grounds, Barbara moved to the kitchen and started cooking. The three of them performed these and other storm related tasks for fifteen hour days all weekend long.

On Sunday, Michael Dowell (director of operations and finance) brought his truck and chain to pull away large branches and trunks blocking the Mt. San Angelo roads.

By Tuesday, most of the staff was here, hauling and raking in tropical three-digit heat.

On Thursday—day six—there is still no power but the clean up presses on. Chef Sarah Lanzman, Jenny and the crew continue to swelter away in the kitchen, preparing three meals a day for the stalwart Fellows who persevere in pursuing their work, despite conditions that are a far cry from the usual residency at Mt. San Angelo.

With persistence, humor and generosity, the incredible VCCA community is running the remnants of the villainous Derecho out of town. Just like the old westerns.

The photos below were taken on Thursday, July 6, 2012.
For scale: that's Craig leaning on the trunk of the old poplar. That is not a tree trunk behind him—it is one of the branches torn off the poplar by the derecho.
Craig Pleasants has his hand on one of the poplar's felled limbs, which is over 3'. The trunk of the tree is in the foreground and measures over 5' from side to side. The old poplar may survive a few years, but is expected to die from the trauma. If you don't recognize Craig, it's because he hasn't shaved since the derecho—they don't have power at home, either!
Craig Pleasants and Mike Patterson hauling branches out of the boxwoods.
It took some cajoling to get hard-working Mike Patterson to stand still long enough for this photo.
Facilities Manager Mike Patterson directing Sheila Pleasants and Carol O'Brien (director of annual and planned giving) on the next clean up project. We're pretty sure Sheila is solar powered by that shiny silver hat, and Mike is lowering the temperature—at least psychologically—with a Santa t-shirt.
Sheila Pleasants and Development Assistant Kimberley Stiffler return from hauling branches.
Dana Jones (associate director of admissions & assistant to artists' services) hauls branches with Nancy McAndrew (international programs coordinator)
Almost done in this section! Sheila Pleasants, Carol O'Brien and Barbara Bernstein raking the last of the leaves and branches behind the facilities building.
When the temperature is hovering at 100 degrees, water breaks are essential. Resident Artist Barbara Bernstein and Kimberley Stiffler pause for a much-needed hydration.
And a bit of normalcy: Fella and friends grazing contentedly in the sunshine.
This mockingbird ran across the rim of "Persephone's Renewal" like a miniature road runner. The working fountain sculpture is the creation of Ivy Parsons.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Farewell and Thank You, Michael Dowell!

Michael Dowell dressing cool for his last day in the oven.
At 4:15pm, it was 101° outside—so you can imagine how cozy his office was.

Michael’s last week as VCCA’s Director of Operations and Finance was a doozy. The derecho hit Friday night and Michael was on premises first thing Saturday, a pattern he has repeated every day since, clearing paths, cleaning up, making sure Fellows were as safe and comfortable as possible—no easy feat when you’re working without power and the days are a scorching 100°. He even brought an industrial fan from his own house for the VCCA kitchen, a blessing for the sweltering cooks.

He’s also been working with insurance adjustors and taking care of the myriad technical aspects of this disaster, even as he was closing out his own office responsibilities.

In typical Michael fashion, he has handled it all with humor and grace. Thank you, Michael, and best of luck in your new endeavors.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

9 VCCA Poets Reading at Busboys and Poets in DC

If you want to find out what a VCCA residency is like, or reminisce about one, don't miss this reading at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, on July 15. Nine VCCA poets will read from the poetry anthology, Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo, edited by Margaret B. Ingraham and Andrea Carter Brown. 

For more info about any of these poets, click on their name: Karren LaLonde Alenier, Ned Balbo, Holly Bass, Andrea Carter Brown, Becky Gould Gibson, Margaret B. Ingraham, Kim Roberts, Dan Vera and Michele Wolf.

Sunday, July 15, 2012 
5:00 - 7:00 pm 
Busboys and Poets 
2021 14th Street, NW (at V St.)
Washington, DC
UPDATE - Busboys and Poets does have a $5 admission charge

Monday, July 2, 2012

Majestic Old Trees at Mt. San Angelo Succumb to Storm

It's called a derecho—that crashing riptide of winds that tore through Virginia last Friday. It began in Illinois and took about 12 hours to get to here, fueling itself on the above average temperatures. This particular derecho was notable for its strength, speed and longevity.

No one at VCCA was hurt, but the straight-line winds were so powerful, they felled some of Mt. San Angelo's grand old trees—black walnut, oak, pine, cedar and a glorious poplar.

Electricity has been off since Friday and the temperatures have been soaring into three digits. Fortunately, the kitchen stove is gas so Chef Stella (who is filling in for Sarah while she is on vacation) and her diligent staff along with Resident Artist Barbara Bernstein have been cooking—in every sense of the word—all weekend. 

Resident Artist David Garratt along with Facilities Manager Mike Patterson have been on premises every day—clearing, fixing, and trying to make things a little easier for our patient Fellows.

This derecho created an outage of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud in Northern Virginia, which took down Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram and other services on Friday evening. So it won't surprise anyone to know that our fragile Internet is being very skittish right now.
Director of Annual and Planned Giving Carol O'Brien took these photos on her cell phone this morning:
Side entrance to office
Behind writer's cottage (pool is outside the photo on right)
Rear of facilities shed
Fellows Residence is in background
Birth of a derecho: this is what it looked like as it was developing in Chicago. Photo by Samuel Shea.