Wednesday Lemonade

June 3, 2020

It can feel disingenuous, even dangerous, to insist on silver linings — to, say, force life’s lemons into lemonade — in the face of suffering that should be addressed head on. Yet, here we are with another issue of our weekly newsletter born out of an effort to make the most of a terrible situation.
For the past nine weeks, the terrible situation driving this newsletter has been a global pandemic that has resulted in an extended pause in VCCA’s residency programs. The lemonade we've made from the lemon of our temporary closure has been more online connectivity among our community.

Now the crisis is compounded as yet another painful chapter unfolds, though it would certainly be disingenuous to suggest the realities of police brutality and state-sanctioned violence against black people haven't been with us all along. What do we make of this?

There is a little card that has been sitting on Sheila’s desk for the last few years. It says, “I believe in the transformative power of art and artists.” Let that be, if not our guiding light, then at least the starting point of our discussion.

The fight for racial justice and the need for systemic change are urgent. Social and political activism are vital. This is precisely the moment that calls for artists to engage. 

Know that we will be back as soon as we can to provide time, space, silence, and camaraderie to support your creative work. In the meantime, we offer our online spaces as a forum where VCCA Fellows can grieve together, rage together, and most important, work together to determine the role artists can play.
Second Line: Finding a Way Through Grief
We've created a new topic page in Virtual VCCA that we invite you to use as a focused forum for grappling with the overabundance of grief in our wounded country. We invite your words, your art, your music, your recommendations, and more in response to so much illness and violence.

If you're not already a member of Virtual VCCA, powered by Mighty Networks, you can use this link to join .
Revisiting the Elegy, Revisiting a Reading
In last week's Fireplace Series reading, poet Nandi Comer shifted the focus from her newly released collection Tapping Out to read two poems from her chapbook American Family: A Syndrome .

One of those poems, "Why I Don't Call on Cops," is appended as further reading in Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era (Routledge, 2019), a book edited by VCCA Fellows Tiffany Austin and darlene anita scott, Sequoia Maner, and Emily Ruth Rutter. The book includes the work of VCCA Fellows Tiffany Austin, Lisa Norris, and darlene anita scott.

Last week's other Fireplace Series reader, nonfiction writer Sandell Morse, and our host Lex Williford also turned their focus to the current moment. We encourage you to watch (or rewatch) both readings and the conversation at the end of last Thursday's virtual event.

Next Thursday, Jun e 11, our Fireplace Series will bring you writer Carlos Sirah and visual artist Felicia van Bork in an evening hosted by writer and Fellows Council member David Ebenbach .
fellow messages
A Pause. A Call.
Today we're taking a break from sharing messages collected from Fellows about how they're navigating COVID-19, as we feel it's necessary to expand the prompt.

Rather than submit us messages via a form, we encourage you to use the new Virtual VCCA topic mentioned above to tell the VCCA Fellows community about how you're navigating these times as an artist and human. You might share lived experiences, recent work or current projects responding to this moment, reading/watching/listening recommendations, etc. You might also share resources, ask for support, etc. The forum is yours.
Mental Health and Wellness During Crisis
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Virginia Association of Museums and other statewide cultural organizations in Virginia teamed up to provide collection of articles, tips, and exercises that include mental health resources, trauma-sensitive yoga, meditation tips  for artists, and more. It was compiled with COVID-19 in mind.
standing invitations
VCCA Fellows Bookshop
New List: Help us add to a new Black Words Matter Reading List on Bookshop. This will be a collection of books written and recommended by VCCA Fellows.

Keep supporting new work by VCCA Fellows whose book launches, readings, signings, tours, and other events have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Submit this form to request your own qualifying book be added.
Playlist Project
The VCCA Fellows Council has launched a project to create playlists featuring the music of composers who are part of the VCCA community. To recommend one of your pieces for inclusion, submit this agreement form .
🧡 Stay safe, and be well.
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