Wednesday Lemonade

May 13, 2020

Welcome back to Wednesday Lemonade, a community newsletter focused on keeping VCCA Fellows, staff, and supporters connected.

Merci beaucoup to every one who viewed Cheryl Fortier's video tour of Le Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France, which premiered this time last week. If you missed it,  here's a link to watch .

Many of you answered last week's call to share parting words of thanks and farewell to David Garratt and Barbara Bernstein. Here's one more chance to chime in before we deliver your notes them.

We have a few new virtual videos and events on the horizon. Read about those announcements below before continuing on to messages from Fellows; a few photos and words from beloved VCCA volunteer Bob Cranston who diligently and generously helps us maintain Mt. San Angelo's grounds, facilities, and sculptures; and a link to COVID-19 resources from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF).

Endless well wishes.
happening now
 A Conversation With Alonzo Davis
Join us on Facebook where we're premiering a video featuring visual artist, Fellow, and past board member Alonzo Davis in conversation with writer, Fellow and current board member Rone Shavers. The two sat down across the virtual expanse to talk about Alonzo's history with VCCA.

A renowned visual artist and educator, Alonzo Davis came to VCCA for the first time in 1995. He joined the Board of Directors in 2004, and in 2007 challenged VCCA to create a permanent, fully-funded, two-week residency supporting outstanding American writers, visual artists, and composers of African or Latin American descent: the Alonzo Davis Fellowship. Alonzo is known for co-founding the Brockman Gallery in Los Angeles with his brother Dale Brockman Davis; we highly recommend reading " How a Trio of Black-Owned Galleries Changed the Art World, " a recent interactive piece from the New York Times, to learn more.
happening tomorrow
 VCCA Fireplace Series 01: Julie E. Bloemeke and Christina Chiu
Tomorrow evening, we kick off our new VCCA Fireplace Series featuring Fellows whose in-person events for new work have been canceled due to the pandemic.

Washington Post columnist and VCCA board member Steven Petrow will be our host for tomorrow's video live stream featuring poet Julie E. Bloemeke ( Slide to Unlock ) and novelist Christina Chiu ( Beauty ). Tune in tomorrow on Facebook .

Read more about the event, our guests, and their work  on the VCCA website . See you tomorrow!
happening next week
 Virtual VCCA Happy Hour
Next Thursday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET, visual artist and VCCA Fellows Council executive committee member Amie Oliver will host a Virtual VCCA Happy Hour!

We plan for this to be an informal Zoom gathering lasting up to an hour, and we invite our Fellows and friends to drop in to say hello and see some friendly faces.

Amie will be posting more information about this event in Virtual VCCA in the coming week. We'll also update you on the details in next week's newsletter. Cheers!
fellow messages
Below are just a few of the many lovely messages from Fellows we've collected so far. Keep them coming! And keep an eye out for more messages from Fellows elsewhere.
Heidi Kumao
"Just a small note to say Hi and let you know about Devoured, a small stop motion animation that I recently finished about living under lockdown. It's short. It's compact. It won't take much time! I started this piece at VCCA in 2018 and worked on it in 2019, again at VCCA. I didn't have a soundtrack until the corona virus hit. And voila."

Heidi Kumao  is a Guggenheim award-winning video artist/sculptor. She is a nine-time VCCA Fellow and was last in residence in 2019.
Pat Valdata
"I'm taking solace in springtime: seeing flowers blooming and watching birds courting gives me hope that we'll get through all this. Otherwise, just doing the butt-in-chair thing, but I think it's important to recognize that anxiety can make it hard to write, and that's okay in short doses. We need to be patient with our creative selves and trust that the work will come."

Pat has a new book coming out in November and hopes to be able to schedule readings and book signings by then. Her upcoming VCCA residency at Le Moulin à Nef was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Nancy Bass
"Morning Clouds at the Beach”

"During this period of isolation, I have been moved to paint a series of intimate portraits of the beauty, vastness, and constantly changing nature of the ocean and shore. Painting is a lovely way of escaping from the world. Painting is also a celebration of what one finds remarkable. The process of making these paintings allows me to focus on the preciousness of a moment in time. I am creating paintings that speak to the eternal which offers comfort in a time when life and death have come to the forefront.

I was heading up a group exhibition that was canceled due to the virus. There were several months of planning that had gone into this exhibition and many artists counting on their sales. But artists are strong and we will try again next year. You have to go forward planning for a better day."
Barbara Crooker
"So, in some ways, being in social isolation is no different than usual, except that I have more time since I can't go to the gym. I've used this time to write 100 postcards to promote my new book, two Amazon reviews for other writers, five jacket blurbs for other writers (some are fellow Fellows), recorded three videos (of me reading my own work: BLT , Tomorrow , and Strewn ), and revised my new manuscript (book ten). And am writing new poems. And am putting in a garden (so far: peas, lettuce, arugula, carrots, three kinds of beets). Because, to paraphrase Claude Monet, gardening and writing are the only things I know how to do."

Barbara's new book ( Some Glad Morning , title suggested by Bea Booker) out in November 2019 was going to start readings to promote it in January. She had to cancel many readings, panels, her local book launch, and a teaching gig.
views from Mt. San Angelo
From Bob Cranston, VCCA Volunteer Extraordinaire
Today we pass along notes and images from the most committed and generous volunteer we could ask for, Bob Cranston. Bob is a recently retired engineer who drives in from Lynchburg every day, Monday through Thursday .

"Retirement can provide many opportunities — which my wife and I have pursued — including extended travels and spending time with grandkids. This still allows ample free time, and I had been investigating where I could stay active and utilize my talents. I was fortunate to find the VCCA website and learn that there are opportunities to volunteer. 

Upon my first tour of the facility with David Garratt I knew I had found the perfect fit. I have been spending a few hours at Mt. San Angelo almost every week since late summer (time out for a winter vacation in February).

There is always something to do, rain or shine. With the extensive gardens and facilities, I have been able to keep quite busy. Trees always are in need of trimming and during the spring and summer months the beautiful landscape is in need of mowing. 

Upon my first visit I could not help but notice the sculptures along the road. I have cleaned many of these that had been needing attention. Of course, the work is sometimes not visible but still vital to the operation. Cleaning, repairing, and refurbishing facilities and equipment are daily chores.

I have had the opportunity to spend some time and work with other staff members, in particular Derrick Lewis. We work together often and are seen throughout VCCA performing daily chores together. David Garratt has been most welcoming and I will miss him now that he has moved on. I cannot imagine any other opportunity that I would enjoy as much as VCCA. The staff and the fellows are all wonderful and very talented people."
Photo by volunteer Bob Cranston
Photo by volunteer Bob Cranston
Photo by volunteer Bob Cranston
covid-19 resources
From the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF)
Here's another great collection of resources for artists and organizations navigating COVID-19 , this time from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF). MAAF promotes and supports multi-state arts programming in a region that includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia.
standing invitations
Buy New Books by Fellows
Keep in Touch
🧡 Stay safe, and be well.