Executive Director Gregory Allgire Smith joined VCCA in October 2011. An accomplished leader, fundraiser and collaborator with thirty years of nonprofit arts experience, Greg's focus is to strengthen VCCA's financial underpinnings and visibility, both in the United States and abroad through its site in Auvillar, France, as well as various international exchanges. Previously, Greg was the president/chief executive officer of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, a four-year college of art and design established in 1869. He was instrumental in expanding their independence and creating a new campus. Before that, he was director of the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, and held positions with art museums in Toledo, Akron, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. He is a member of the American Association of Museums and founder of the Association of Art Museum Administrators. A member of three Rotary Clubs in Toledo, Savannah and Cincinnati, Greg is investigating the clubs in Central Virginia.
Directrice Résidente VCCA-France Cheryl Fortier, joined Le Moulin à Nef, the VCCA studios in Auvillar, France, as Resident Director 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 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.
Artistic Director Craig Pleasants has been with VCCA since 1989 and is a former acting director. From 1985 to 1989, he was co-director and exhibition designer of 80 Washington Square East Gallery and Broadway Windows, two exhibition spaces of New York University's Department of Art and Art Education. In 1978 he founded The Upstairs, one of the first alternative spaces in the southeast. He was its director/curator until 1984. In that capacity he was a founding member of the National Association of Artists' Organizations. Craig has been an exhibiting artist for the past 20 years. Solo shows of his work have been mounted at The Alternative Museum, White Columns, and Berland/Hall Gallery in New York City, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Virginia Commonwealth University's Anderson Gallery, in Richmond, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and Musee d'Art Contemporain in Marseilles.
Director of Artists' Services Sheila Gulley Pleasants has served in that capacity since 1989. As admissions coordinator, Sheila manages the scheduling of over three hundred Fellows each year. She also administers the international exchange programs with Austria, Germany, France, Malta, Ireland, and UNESCO. 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. With Craig Pleasants, Sheila was instrumental in the operation of The Upstairs, an alternative exhibition space in Tryon, North Carolina.
Director of Annual and Planned Giving Carol O'Brien joined VCCA in 2002. She is responsible for the development, implementation and stewardship of the annual giving program, the VCCA Legacy Society and special events. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, she was the co-founder of Colony House, a retail gift and furniture store in Russellville, Kentucky that she owned and managed from 1975 until 2002. She has been an active board participant in various civic and nonprofit organizations.
Communications Director Lexie Boris joined VCCA in February 2010. She has worked with marketing companies from Roanoke to metropolitan Washington D.C. and was a founding partner in the Wordsworth Agency, a firm specializing in theatrical clients including The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage and the Shakespeare Theatre. Upon moving to Charlottesville, she opened an antique shop on the historic downtown mall emphasizing Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and managed real estate projects including the transformation of Charlottesville's largest manufacturing facility into a mixed-use community of business, arts and media.
Associate Director of Admissions & Assistant to Director of Artists' Services Dana Jones joined VCCA in 1998. She has an Associates Degree from Central Virginia Community College. Her job includes processing all applications received for the VCCA's various residency programs as well as oversight of the computers and network.
International Programs Coordinator Nancy McAndrew joined VCCA in March of 2012. Her journeys through the nonprofit world have included positions as museum educator at Amazement Square Children's Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia, and director of education and cultural programming at Avoca Museum in Altavista, Virginia. She spent a year teaching at the Charlottesville Waldorf before taking time off to create her daughter. She is the founder and creative director of Lynchburg Tribal, a tribal belly dance company. In her spare time she gets dirty exploring the realms of permaculture and organic gardening.
Development Assistant Kimberley Stiffler was born in Singapore and grew up traveling around Southeast Asia. She apprenticed to a Dallas silversmith after moving to Texas to complete high school, and her own jewelry can be seen at both the Academy of Fine Arts and Oxide Pottery in downtown Lynchburg. She received her B.A. in Art History from R-MWC and her M.A. in History of Art from the University of Bristol. As part of the latter program she co-curated an exhibition with London's National Portrait Gallery on portraits of Tudor and Jacobean women, although her areas of special interest are Edwardian fairy-tale illustration—especially the work of Arthur-Rackham—and the post-Pre-Raphaelites. Kimberley moved back to Lynchburg in the fall of 2008, where she lives with an English professor and two cats of doubtful background. She started at VCCA in the winter of 2011 and is charmed by her interactions with live artists.
Office Manager 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 her daughters.
Accountant Bonnie Sue Wine has been keeping the books at VCCA since 1998. Previously she has worked as an auditor for Bank of America in southern California, an accountant and assistant manager for Carey Limousine in Washington, D.C. and West Palm Beach, Florida. She was also the Town Treasurer for the Town of New Market, Virginia. She has served on the Board for the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association and the New Market Area Chamber of Commerce and has been a member of the New Market Planning Commission.
Executive Chef and Director of Food Services Sarah Lanzman has been a professional chef for over 30 years. For 16 years, she and her husband ran their own company, Lorelei Caterers, in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has taught healthy cooking classes as well as holistic wellness workshops. Her recipes and articles have been published in various magazines and newspapers. Sarah is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Consultant (CNC) as well as a Certified Natural Health Professional (CNHP) and has a holistic approach to health and cooking. Flavor in her dishes reflect the local, natural and organic foods she uses in her recipes.
Facilities Manager Mike Patterson has oversight of the 12-acre Mt. San Angelo grounds and building complex. He joined VCCA in 2004, tending everything from fast-growing grass to persnickety plumbing and electrical systems, and was promoted to Facilities Manager in 2012. He had been a building mechanic at Tritech Laboratories in Lynchburg. Mike and his wife Jennifer have one daughter, Katherine. They live on a farm in Amherst County where Mike enjoys hunting and fishing.