Wednesday Lemonade

June 24, 2020

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

Tomorrow, we'll host another virtual event in the VCCA Fireplace Series. Read about our guest artists and their work below.

Two VCCA Fellows have helped raise more than $55,000 for Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative. They call themselves “Writers Against Racial Injustice." We checked in with Lise Haines and Rosie Sultan about the initiative, and we highlight their effort below.

COVID-19 is still with us. We pay tribute to a dear member of the VCCA community, artist and thirteen-time Fellow Steven Gilbert, who passed away in April due to complications from COVID-19.

Finally, as we approach the end of our fiscal year in the midst of an unprecedented closure, we want to take a moment to thank our Fellows and contributors. Over the past few months, we have been touched to see such an outpouring of support of online donations and generous support . To those of you who have felt compelled to participate in our Giving Tuesday efforts, respond to a letter seeking support, or even turn your would-be residency deposit into a donation, we thank you. I f you would like to make a gift and have not yet had the opportunity, we invite you to participate by clicking the button below and giving what you can.
vcca fireplace series 04
Caroline Keys and Lauren Russell
Join us for live music and a reading tomorrow, Thursday, June 25 , at 7:30 p.m. ET. We'll be live streaming to Facebook and YouTube with musician Caroline Keys and writer Lauren Russell.

Caroline Keys ’ latest music project, Junior, recorded an album during January 2020 and had hoped to play a series of fundraising concerts in order to complete production of the album. The group played one successful livestream, which funded a music video that has done well. They're still working to raise funds to finish the record.

Lauren Russel will read from her new book Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020). Descent began when Russell acquired a copy of the diary of her great-great-grandfather, a Captain in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he fathered children by three of his former slaves, including the poet’s great-great-grandmother. Russell became interested in the diary’s omissions and decided to write into those gaps, finally arriving at a hybrid work of verse, prose, and archival documents that traverses centuries as the past bleeds into the present.
fellows in action
Writers Against Racial Injustice
Two VCCA Fellows — Lise Haines and Rosie Sultan — are part of a group of six writers who have raised over $55,000 in a fundraiser supporting the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) .

In a Facebook post explaining how the group formed, Lise Haines writes about learning of George Floyd's death and weighing options of how to respond.

"That’s when a click occurred — the kind I get when I know what to do with a scene in a novel I’m writing," said Haines. "I sent a message to another novelist friend, Jessica Keener, and asked if she wanted to start a fundraiser with me."

In 20 days, more than 1,000 people have contributed to the group's Facebook campaign . Additional funds have gone directly through EJI with the word "Justice" in the comments box.

Lise writes, "When I try to imagine how this has been possible, I realize we are standing at a confluence of need, mission, and compassion. The need to do something is urgent and irrefutable . . . And it’s our good fortune that we're part of a community of writers who work from the compassionate end of life; it is our source material."
Early donors received copies of Jabari Asim's We Can't Breathe , a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. The final two donors will re ceive gift cards to Frugal Books , Boston's only Black-owned bookstore.

Upon completion of this fundraiser, the group will choose another campaign to continue their work against racial injustice.
fellow messages
Fellows, please fill out this form to submit a message . This is a way to tell the VCCA community about how you're navigating these times as an artist and human and to spread the word about work affected by the pandemic.
Cheryl Hochberg
June 17, 2020

"My recent studio projects had come from my travels, but when coronavirus came, all my travel was cancelled for the year. I recently moved to New Jersey, so instead, I used the spring and summer to explore northern New Jersey. I have taken walks every day I can, and taken many pictures. These pictures provide the raw material for the resulting studio work. Back in March, I came across a poem by Pablo Neruda, Keeping Quiet , and that has guided my explorations and directed the resulting studio projects."
Laurie Krasny Brown
April 14, 2020

"Under these current conditions: I am trying to continue the projects I had in mind before COVID-19 erupted, BUT I am also noticing how its presence shifts my thinking about my life and how I might make new work more responsive to the values I cherish. Simplifying everyday life presents a fast track to gaining perspective on what is really important to me and I want to express those feelings and beliefs more emphatically in my work. At the best moments, I feel so fortunate to have this work. I hope it is one way that I can add something to this world."

Work Affected by COVID-19

"The children’s picture book I have written (and my husband Marc Brown has illustrated), Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens, is due out in September. We are crossing our fingers that the production and promotion of the book will not meet with delays, but who knows."
in memoriam
Steven Gilbert
The VCCA community mourns the loss of Steven Gilbert to COVID-19 on April 4, 2020, in New York City. Steve was in residence thirteen times, most recently in 2019. He was also a 2004 participant in VCCA's international exchange with the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus in Schwandorf, Germany. 

As the acuity of his vision diminished, Steve needed access to direct sunlight to work at his best. He worked well in VA7, and he loved swimming in the Sweet Briar Lake. He was a mentor, sounding board, and provocateur to younger artists. He was generous in sharing his work and talking about the work of others. 

Gilbert's work has been included in many group shows, including Museum of the Chateau at Rochefort-en-Terre (France), Karolyi Foundation, Vence (France), Max Hutchinson Gallery (New York), Green Mountain Gallery (New York), Capricorn Gallery (New York), Prince Street Gallery, and the Loeb Center Gallery (New York University). He was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Grant and the Emily Lowe Award. Gilbert was professor emeritus at Maryland Institute College of Art.
Photo by VCCA Fellow Serge Levy
resources
Virginia Visual Artist Emergency Relief Fellowship Program
"Eligible artists must be practicing visual artists, over the age of 21, who live and work in Virginia and derive a significant part of their income from their art, be it sales or lectures, etc. You must be a Virginia tax payer and have paid federal, state, and local taxes for the past two (2) years. If successful, applicants will receive payments by direct deposit. Taxes will apply." https://www.vmfa.museum/visual-artist-relief-program/
standing invitations
Wachtmeister Award
We are now accepting applications for the Wachtmeister Award. The 2021 award will go to an established visual artist working in any discipline or in a cross-disciplinary way who has never been in residence at VCCA.

Please share this opportunity widely with prominent visual artists who you think would benefit from uninterrupted time and space at VCCA.
VCCA Fellows Bookshop
Support 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 book be added .

We're using Bookshop as the platform for this listing, but we encourage you to do your actual shopping from independent publishers and local bookstores, especially Black Owned Bookstores in the United States (list from the African American Literature Book Club).
Playlist Project
Two composers on the VCCA Fellows Council — Judith Shatin and Shawn Qaissaunee — have initiated a project to create playlists featuring the music of composers who are part of the VCCA community. Composer-Fellows are invited to  submit an agreement form with a suggestion of one piece  that's available on streaming media (e.g., Spotify, YouTube, etc.).
Virtual VCCA
There are many ways to participate in Virtual VCCA . Virtual VCCA members can: post events using the + button in the upper righthand corner of the Events page; contribute to discussion Topics ( Second Line: Finding a Way Through Grief , Open Studios , New Work Promotion ); and "Say Hello" to other members in private chats.
🧡 Stay safe, and be well.
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