The Virginia Center for Literary Arts: mission Statement

VCLA is a place where writers gather to work, unite and inspire. Our mission is to advance the art and craft of the written word to build a dynamic, innovative community in the exquisite surroundings of Winchester, Virginia. Every day, VCLA will augment the appreciation of and passion for the literary arts in adults and young people through programs that sponsor expression, education and the sharing of the written word. Our primary goal is at once simple yet critical: to afford writers with time and space to create, as well as resources to help sustain them at all stages of their careers.

Serving as a genuine destination and haven, VCLA will also thrive as a vision that inevitably becomes “bigger” than itself: the energy, goodwill and passion of likeminded, unwavering writers—and those who support them—will necessarily live and grow as an organic and entirely affirmative phenomenon.

We understand that beyond having time and space to work, so many writers are derailed by a lack of funds and solidarity. A community that advocates (and, on a more basic but crucial level, understands) creativity—how it happens, what it requires, who seeks to cultivate it more as calling than hobby—is essential. Each individual must ascertain and walk their unique path, but what all writers share is the need for support, in all its forms, and reassurance they’re not alone.

As such, VCLA’s practical goal is to provide an authentic location enabling writers to focus and thrive for a defined period. The larger mission is initiating a micro community via the two-week residencies and/or weekly workshops, as well as a macro community wherein, via social media, a vibrant website, and regular events, artists can connect, network, and above all, nurture one another. In addition, VCLA will be a venue for readings, author talks, and other artistic events. We will encourage and, where possible, partner with local businesses to promote the appreciation of fine food, drink, entertainment and culture.

A year-round operation, VCLA will appeal to attendees whose schedules require flexibility. Workshops and residencies that are affiliated with universities, seasonal, or for-profit are too often overly competitive, expensive and insular. VCLA will appeal to—and welcome—writers and artists at all levels of their development. More, we will cultivate an implicit camaraderie with those less established, who are seeking encouragement or a community they can immediately feel a welcome part of. The center, inclusive by design, welcomes anyone with a desire to write, who is open to joining a group that mutually assists and inspires.

The core market for VCLA is the type of person who appreciates the arts and is interested in the sort of community commonly found only in academia or online book clubs. VCLA will be both refuge and incubator for personal creation, collaboration and kinship; alumni will return and this growing alliance will become an inexorable network, which will help drive enthusiasm and revenue, as well as preserve an entirely positive kinship that would otherwise be unobtainable.

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