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VCCA-a local retreat for artists from around the world.

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Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg

Normandy style barn at VCCA houses 22 artist studios

The Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA) is located off RT 29 on property owned by Sweet Briar College, known as Mt. San Angelo Estate.  It is a sanctuary where artists can find serenity, light, space and privacy to work for hours, days or weeks on their creative works in private studios cradled on 400 acres of rolling farmland.  If you have ever tired to write that great American novel, or paint a masterpiece or sculpt a piece of clay, marble or wood into art or compose a song or opera you know the distractions of life often get in the way and that project gets delayed or remains unfinished.

The VCCA offers its artist residents, Fellows, a comfortable, private bedroom, three meals a day, and a private studio. While there the artist has a quiet light filled studio to work in but has the ability to share thoughts and ideas with over 20 other artists.    The results speak for themselves, VCCA residents have won a Pulitzer Prize, written many NY Times best sellers, had movies made and have had their art shown at top galleries around the world.

To get a fellowship at VCCA you must apply and be accepted.  The application process can be found on their website.  

During the Civil War, estate owner Elizabeth Mosby traveled to Europe and brought back architect Thomas Eastlock from England to create the original 1870 Italianate villa.  Upon her death the estate then known as Mount Saint Angelo went to her brother and upon his death the estate was transferred to Elizabeth Mosby’s Sister, Indiana Fletcher Williams, the founder of Sweet Briar College (founded in 1901).  In 1909 the house was remodeled into a Georgian Revival mansion.  In the 1920s a 13,000 square foot Normandy-style barn complex was built which now houses the artist studios. The name was changed to  Mount San Angelo in the 1930’s.  In 1968 Sweet Briar College purchased the property and in the fall of 1977 Sweet Briar College agreed to lease the facility to VCCA.  On July 17th 1979 the mansion was destroyed by fire.  At the time there were fifty six VCCA Fellows in residence.  Over the next two years Fellows lived and worked in the barn complex.

Today the residence hall, completed in 1981, can house up to 22 Fellows.  The Studio Barn complex (built in 1932) is just a short walk from the residence hall and houses 22 studios, 3 kitchens an exhibition hall and sculpture gardens.

Pick up truck sculpture on the grounds of VCCA.

Pick up truck sculpture on the grounds of VCCA.

From time to time VCCU has an open house where the public is invited to visit the property and grounds and mingle with the artists.  Last October during their open house I met several interesting artists that were from Europe and the United States.  The VCCA is a creative space for writers, artists and composers from across the nation and around the world.  It is also a great place to visit when they host their annual open house!

If you are looking for a quiet place to relax and get creative and you aren’t accepted as a Fellow at VCCA then we invite you to check into The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and take advantage of our quiet 1878 mansion or 1910 carriage house.  It may be the place that inspires your creative energies.

VCCA is having an open house Sunday January 19th, 2014 from 2:00-4:00PM.  Tour open studios and visit with working writers, composers and artists.  If you are interested in the arts this is a must see.