Executive Director Joy Peterson Heyrman began her tenure at VCCA in September 2016. Her passion for the arts and commitment to our mission make her the ideal candidate to lead VCCA into the future. Joy served as Deputy Director for Museum Advancement at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore where she worked for 23 years to build a culture of philanthropy and teamwork. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Art History and Archeology from the University of Maryland, as well as a B.A. in English from Amherst College.

Deputy Director/Director of Artists' Services Sheila Gulley Pleasants has served VCCA since 1989 when she moved from New York City to Mt. San Angelo to become residential staff with her husband Craig. In addition to managing the scheduling of over four hundred Fellows each year, she administers the international exchange programs with Austria, Germany, Malta, and Ireland. Since 2004, she has also managed VCCA's programming at the Moulin à Nef, VCCA's center in Auvillar, France. From 1984 to 1989, she was an administrator in the Institute for Speech and Language Sciences and the Department of Linguistics at New York University. She has taught French in the Modern Languages Department at Sweet Briar College and Randolph-Macon Woman's College. She has also taught English at the Université d'Orléans in France. She holds an M.A. in French from New York University and an M.Ed. in English from Converse College. With Craig Pleasants, Sheila was instrumental in the operation of The Upstairs, an alternative exhibition space in Tryon, North Carolina.

Resident Director, Mt. San Angelo, Amherst, Virginia David Garratt served as the Resident Artist at VCCA from 2007 to 2017 with his wife, Barbara Bernstein. In 2017, he was named Resident Director. As an exhibiting artist, David’s recent shows include the Incheon International Ceramic Biennale in Incheon, Korea where he received Honorable Mention for the past 5 biennials (2017-2009) and was featured in its catalogue. For each Biennale, curators select fewer than 100 works from over 75 countries representing contemporary artists’ fired clay art.  In 2013, David’s sculpture was exhibited in the Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum, South Taiwan. In 2012, his work was selected for the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan. David received a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship in 2010-2011, one of two sculptors in the state of Virginia to do so and was one of 100 American artists considered for the Boochever Award at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. In 2008, he was awarded a solo exhibition at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA, a premier gallery for clay works in the US. He has been awarded a Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts grant, and an HK Mellon/Pittsburgh Foundation grant. In 2006, the Cultural Magistrate of Salzburg awarded him a residency at Kunstlerhaus. David also has had numerous solo and group exhibitions of his two-dimensional works. In 2016, he was a featured artist in the International Art of Paper exhibition sponsored by UNC-Pembroke, and his collage was selected for the cover art of Guggenheim poet Joe Millar’s new book, “Kingdom”.

Resident Director, Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France  Cheryl Fortier, joined Le Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France, as Resident Artist in July 2009. A VCCA Fellow since 2006, Cheryl has been represented by Willow Gallery of Fine Arts in Toronto, Vandop Gallery, D’or Art Consultants and Nest Interiors in Vancouver. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the province and is represented in private collections in North America and the U.K. Published in three books, two catalogs, and the subject of numerous reviews, her work was recently showcased in a television feature on arts in Vancouver. Deeply committed to making art a part of people’s lives, Cheryl teaches, acts as juror, mentor, a reliable committee member and is involved in diverse community mural projects in hospitals, restaurants and public spaces.

Assistant to the Director and Board Secretary  Carol O'Brien works closely with the Executive Director and Board President to facilitate the work of the Board of Directors. Joining VCCA in 2002, she most recently was responsible for the development, implementation and stewardship of the annual and planned giving program. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Carol was a co-founding owner of Colony House, a retail gift and furniture store in Russellville, Kentucky, which she managed from 1975 until 2002.

Assistant Director of Artists' Services  Dana Jones joined VCCA in 1998. Her job includes processing all applications received for the VCCA's residency programs, both in the US and abroad, assisting with programing for VCCA Abroad, as well as oversight of the database, computers and network.

Development and Program Associate Kimberley Stiffler came to VCCA in 2011. She grew up traveling around Southeast Asia. She has a B.A. and M.A. in Art History; ask her about Edwardian fairy-tale illustration—especially the work of Arthur Rackham—and the post-Pre-Raphaelites. Her handmade jewelry can be seen at the Academy Center of the Arts and Oxide Pottery in Lynchburg, where she lives with a cocktail-shaking English professor and two cats of doubtful background.


Office Manager/Artists' Services Associate  Beatrice Booker arrived at VCCA in 2003 after working in Lynchburg as a case manager at GE Financial. Bea, who has a paralegal certificate from Central Virginia Community College, is the mother of two girls, Bianca and Bijoana. She is active in her church, singing in the choir and working with youth groups. She enjoys walking, reading and traveling with her husband Sylvester and their daughters.


Director of Individual Giving  Emily Joseph joined the VCCA in 2017 and is responsible for the development, implementation, and stewardship of the annual giving program. Emily has over 15 years' experience in the nonprofit sector, working largely for the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal in Greece and, most recently, at Amazement Square in Lynchburg. She has traveled extensively in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe and has professional experience as a potter, painter, and exhibition designer.

Director of Communications Kirsten McKinney also joined the VCCA in 2017 and oversees the positioning of the VCCA and its programs within the international art world, the national and regional philanthropic community, and the loyal group of world-wide Fellows. Kirsten has spent over 20 years in higher education and has a background in graphic design, marketing, communications, and the nonprofit sector. Her professional experience as an “embedded reporter” with the University of Richmond’s music department took her on many international adventures, including Costa Rica, Colombia, Greece, Portugal, and Spain. Kirsten received her BFA in Theater Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MLA concentrating in 20th Century American art and culture from the University of Richmond.