Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT)

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      Close-up of a woman working on a painting from a draft sketch

Stephanie Serpick in her studio during her Vermont Studio center residency in June 2007. Photo courtesy of Vermont Studio Center

Since its establishment by artists in 1983, the Vermont Studio Center (VSC) has provided four- to 12-week independent studio residencies to more than 8,000 visual artists and writers from 92 countries. VSC is the largest artists' and writers' residency program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month on a historic 30-building campus along the Gihon River in Johnson, Vermont. In 2007, VSC received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $20,000 to support full and partial fellowships for economically disadvantaged artists and writers.

With the NEA's help, writers Melissa Kwasny (Montana) and Aaron Belz (Missouri) and visual artists Alexandra Huddleston (New Mexico) and Stephanie Serpick (Illinois) benefited from VSC residencies. As Kwasny wrote in her thank you letter to the center, "The residency program . . . and full fellowships, especially for those of us who cannot afford to pay to go somewhere in order to [work on our art] without distractions, are crucial."

Selected through a rigorous jury process, full fellows receive room and board, a private work studio, and a stipend. Those that receive partial fellowships are able to apply for work exchange opportunities to offset the costs of their residencies. VSC fellows also participate as visiting artists in the VSC/Johnson Elementary School Art and Culture program, which provides weekly arts education classes to nearly 300 kindergarten through sixth-grade students.

All VSC fellows are given an opportunity to share their work with the community through open studio tours, craft talks, slide shows, lectures, and readings. Participating visual artists with full fellowships are also offered individual exhibitions in the center’s Red Mill gallery; partial fellowship recipients exhibited their work as part of a group show. While in residence, fellows also can meet with a roster of distinguished visiting artists and writers. In 2007, this acclaimed group included glass artist Hank Adams, painter Therese Oulton, and poets Toi Derricotte and Stanley Plumly.

(From the NEA 2007 Annual Report)