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The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts is pleased to offer this endowed fellowship in honor of Sheila Gulley Pleasants and her 35 years of service to VCCA. The fellowship fund will support VCCA Fellows working in any discipline — writers, visual artists, and composers — who need financial assistance to attend VCCA’s artist residency program at le Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France.

Application Details

Eligibility: VCCA Fellows in need of financial assistance
Residency Location: Le Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France
Residency Available: March 17 – November 21, 2025

Application Deadline: September 15, 2024
Application Fee*: $30
Notification by: December 15, 2024

To be considered for the Sheila Gulley Pleasants Fellowship, complete the “Moulin à Nef Residencies, VCCA in France 2025” application, indicating your need for financial assistance in Question 28.

* If the application fee presents a significant barrier to application, please write to by September 10, 2024, to request an application fee waiver.

Sheila’s Career at VCCA

Sheila Gulley Pleasants joined VCCA in 1989 when she and her husband Craig Pleasants moved to Amherst, VA, from New York to serve as residential staff. The couple lived on site at Mt. San Angelo for 17 years, arriving with two daughters and later welcoming a third to their apartment in VCCA’s Studio Barn complex.

Over the course of her near-35-year tenure, Pleasants worked with five executive directors and served as an interim executive director herself. She was a constant presence at VCCA, helping to welcome and foster the creative practices of thousands of writers, visual artists, and composers.

Pleasants bore witness to and played an integral role in many evolutions in VCCA’s artist residency program. When the Pleasantses arrived, there was one pay phone for 22 Fellows and often a line of people to use it. Sheila saw the advent of the internet and helped VCCA transition from sending physical application materials to panelists by mail to using an online application and reviewing platform.

Major milestones in Pleasants’ VCCA career include the 2004 gift of le Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France, to VCCA from the Donnell-Kay Foundation. A Francophile with degrees in French, Pleasants was well-suited to help VCCA establish an artist residency program in France. She first visited Auvillar in the fall of 2003. In the fall of 2023, the mayor of Auvillar, Olivier Renaud, presented Pleasants with the Médaille d’Auvillar in honor of her 20 years of working on the partnership between VCCA and the Village of Auvillar.