Wednesday Lemonade

July 8, 2020

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

Last week, we upgraded this newsletter to "Wednesday Champagne" to announce the still shockingly good news that VCCA has purchased Mt. San Angelo , our beloved home. Thank you all for sharing in the excitement and sending along so many kind words of encouragement and congratulations. We threw an impromptu Zoom party over the weekend, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate with all of our Fellows and friends as we enter our 50th anniversary year in 2021.

Tomorrow, we invite you to join us in celebrating new books by two VCCA Fellows. Sharon Charde will read from her new memoir, and Donna Hemans will read from her new novel in the fifth virtual event in our VCCA Fireplace Series.

Over recent weeks, we've been calling for the composers among us to submit pieces for inclusion in future VCCA playlists. Today, we announce we've published the first of those playlists on our website for your listening pleasure.

Another new addition to the VCCA website is a shop page listing VCCA merchandise available for sale. We hope you'll consider supporting VCCA by bringing a bit of swag into your life.

In this week's regularly scheduled newsletter programming, we offer Fellow messages from poet Penny Harter and visual artist Beverly Sky, we link to resources from Racial Equity Tools and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and we remind you about standing invitations to engage with VCCA.

Thanks for tuning in.
celebration recap
Cheers All Around
Even virtually, the celebratory energy surrounding our purchase of Mt. San Angelo has been palpable. We've been moved by many smiling faces and kind words from our extended VCCA family.

As a particularly special treat, longtime staff member Dorothy Johnson joined us as a surprise guest at our Zoom party on Sunday. She worked at VCCA from 1979 to 2008. Adored by many Fellows, she became the subject of several toasts herself that day. 
Left to right: Bea Booker, Sheila and Craig Pleasants, and Dorothy Johnson together at Mt. San Angelo for our Zoom party.
happening tomorrow
VCCA Fireplace Series 05: Sharon Charde and Donna Hemans
Join us tomorrow evening, Thursday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET, for readings by Sharon Charde and Donna Hemans. Our host Lex Williford will facilitate live questions from viewers.

Sharon Charde is a family therapist, poet, writing teacher and memoirist. From 1999 to 2016, she volunteered at a residential treatment facility teaching poetry to adjudicated young women. Her new memoir, I Am Not A Juvenile Delinquent, How Poetry Changed A Group Of At-Risk Young Women , weaves her struggle to deal with her grief over the death of her son with the story of her first ten years there. Much of the book was written and rewritten during her five residencies at VCCA.

Donna Hemans is the author of two novels: River Woman and Tea by the Sea , which was published this month by Red Hen Press. In 2015, she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature for the unpublished manuscript of Tea by the Sea. Donna’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad, Ms. Magazine and Electric Literature, among others. She was VCCA's inaugural Anne Spencer Fellow.
composer playlist
Listen Up and Stay Tuned
We've just posted the first of many playlists to come on a new Composer Playlist page of the VCCA website. Each month will bring a new collection of pieces from VCCA Fellows. Our July 2020 playlist features:

  1. Joelle Wallach | String Quartet #2
  2. Joshua Marquez | Toward
  3. Beth Wiemann | Opera from Scratch
  4. Suzanne Sorkin | Swept
  5. James Primrosch | Carthage
  6. Hayes Biggs | O Sapintia/Steal Away

Bring VCCA to You
Without Fellows in residence at Mt. San Angelo during our  temporary closure , the items in our swag display have been feeling a little lonely. 

If you’d like to give our VCCA merchandise a good home during the pandemic, check out our inventory list and email Bea Booker with your order request. She'll be in touch and will send your items on their merry way to wherever you are.
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 or created during the pandemic.
Penny Harter
July 1, 2020

"First, congratulations to VCCA on the purchase of the property from Sweet Briar. What wonderful news!

Because I am a senior, I have mostly stayed home during these lockdown weeks in southern NJ, although I do go for frequent rides through rural landscapes--marshes, woods, or near the water. Also, for over a month now I've been writing a daily poem and posting it on Facebook. I hope that sharing my current 'pandemic' poems is offering friends an oasis of calm and hope during these turbulent times. And I've been sequentially posting all my daily pandemic poems on the New Blog page on my new website .

On that website, I'm also celebrating the release of my new book A Prayer the Body Makes which came out just a few weeks ago. Since in-person readings are not possible, I am working to publicize it online."
Beverly Sky
June 24, 2020

"I have been working to channel grief, mourning and anger into my work as a way of staying sane during these challenging times. Over 400,000 dead worldwide, 120,000 dead and counting in the un- United States and not one flag at half mast, more than combined Vietnam and South Korea wars and no National day of mourning our dead and more hateful killing, George Floyd and so many more, like there are not enough dead yet... and no days, weeks of mourning for all the dead and all the suffering. 

So I listen to requiems and think of them as I work in my studio... thinking about the Jewish tradition of tearing ones clothing 'Kriah' at a funeral, of Shrouds, Veils, grief, roses symbols of loved ones torn from us by an invisible foe, our fantasy sequined past, rending of clothing, the frayed edges, the shredding, the tearing apart of our society and political ethics and still our leaders do not lead us to mourn the dead. 
We are ‘frayed, distressed and torn apart."
Shredded Shroud Series: How Shall We Mourn What We Have Lost? (Yin Version)
5’x5’ Distressed sequined vestment, threads, straight pins, gauze, cotton rose fabric, satin ribbons.
Emergency Relief Fund for Individual Artists
The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) is converting their Artist Fellowships into an Emergency Relief Fund for Individual Artists . The fund provides "grants of $500 to Virginia artists impacted by the cancellation of a specific scheduled event, gig, or opportunity (e.g., commissions, performances, readings, contracts, teaching classes etc. ) because of COVID-19." The application deadline is August 3, 2020.
Racial Equity Tools | Arts and Culture
The Racial Equity Tools website "offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large." We point you specifically toward their list of sites, practices, and resources related to arts and culture strategies .
standing invitations
Virtual VCCA
You're invited to  get involved in Virtual VCCA , our new online community platform. You can post events, start a discussion, share your work, chat with other members, and more.
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 .
Wachtmeister Award
We are  now accepting applications  for the  2021 Wachtmeister Award . Please share this opportunity widely with prominent visual artists who you think would benefit from uninterrupted time and space at VCCA.
🧡 Stay safe, and be well.
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