The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), a world-renowned artist residency program with locations in Amherst, Virginia, and Auvillar, France, announced a temporary closure in response to the continued spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Writers, visual artists, and composers currently in residence at VCCA have been asked to leave as soon as possible. No Fellows will be admitted to Mt. San Angelo in Virginia until May 1, 2020. No Fellows will be admitted to the Moulin à Nef in France until after June 1, 2020. VCCA aims to reschedule canceled residencies for as many affected artists as possible who wish to return at a later date.

Applications for the next cycle of residencies and fully-funded fellowships, which would begin no earlier than October 1, 2020, will remain open at this time. The deadline for those applications will remain May 15, 2020.

VCCA is encouraging its administrative staff to work from home. While artists remain in residence, VCCA’s housekeeping, groundskeeping, and kitchen staff are following guidelines and mitigation procedures recommended by the Commonwealth of Virginia and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 among artists in residence or staff members at VCCA. The measure to pause operations is a precautionary one intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in VCCA’s local communities and in the arts community at large.

While VCCA’s residency facilities in central Virginia and southwest France are in rural areas removed from crowds and urban activity, Fellows come and go from many different national and international locations. The VCCA residency experience is a communal one, with artists sharing living quarters with up to 24 other Fellows. While current guidelines from the CDC and others do not restrict meetings in small groups, and though a temporary closure will have severe financial repercussions for the organization, VCCA leadership believes a temporary closure to be the most prudent action in safeguarding the health and safety of the VCCA community.

Other measures being taken in response to COVID-19 include shifting the next meeting of the VCCA board of directors from an in-person gathering to a remote teleconference.

VCCA’s board and leadership will continue to monitor and evaluate this situation as local and national experts make recommendations and more information becomes available. VCCA looks forward to announcing its re-opening as circumstances allow.