Virginia Center for the Creative Arts purchases Mt. San Angelo property from Sweet Briar College

Posted on July 01, 2020 by Dana Poleski

VCCA tour Sweet Briar students tour the VCCA and meet with the center’s resident Fellows.

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) and Sweet Briar College are pleased to announce that VCCA has purchased the Mt. San Angelo estate from Sweet Briar College. The purchase includes 410 acres of land and all of the buildings at Mt. San Angelo, which has served as the home of VCCA’s artist residency program for 42 years.

It was in spring of 2019 that VCCA approached Sweet Briar with the proposal to purchase the land it was leasing from the College and to have a permanent home.

VCCA was established in 1971 as a retreat for writers, visual artists and composers to have the privacy and focus that is so necessary to their work. It moved from its original location in Charlottesville, Va., to Mt. San Angelo in 1978. Since then, VCCA has hosted thousands of working writers, visual artists and composers. VCCA intends to maintain the pastoral nature of Mt. San Angelo so that it will continue to be a place of quiet contemplation for the Fellows in residence there.

“We are grateful to Sweet Briar College, which has made the property available to us for 42 years, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be in a position to make Mt. San Angelo our permanent home—across the street from our long-time partner. This partnership has strengthened both institutions over the years, and VCCA looks forward to continuing this relationship,” said VCCA Executive Director Kevin O’Halloran. “Although VCCA is closed temporarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be busy over the next several months making improvements to the buildings and grounds so that we can welcome Fellows back during 2021, our fiftieth anniversary year.”

VCCA is one of the few artist residencies in the country affiliated with an institution of higher learning. VCCA Fellows in residence have full access to the recreational and cultural opportunities provided by the College, and indeed, the artists themselves often provide cultural opportunities to students and the Sweet Briar community.

“The arts are at the heart of the liberal arts tradition at Sweet Briar,” Sweet Briar President Meredith Woo said. “We understand and support VCCA’s desire to own the facilities and land that it has called its home. The relationship between the two institutions is exceptionally strong, and we look forward to further nurturing the ties across Highway 29.”

The relationship between the two organizations includes events, seminars and classes. One such class is the Fellows Studio, which is a part of Sweet Briar’s leadership core curriculum and brings VCCA Fellows to campus to teach a class during each of the College’s three-week sessions. VCCA is also an integral part of Sweet Briar’s Center for Creativity, Design and the Arts.