A New Chapter for VCFA
This past year, VCFA announced that we will have new homes for our beloved residency programs beginning in the summer of 2023. All six programs will gather together twice a year at new campus locations, bringing our students and faculty exceptional facilities, increased opportunities for interdisciplinary study, and more resources for scholarships and program investments.
After our final winter residencies conclude on our Montpelier, Vermont campus in early 2023, VCFA will transition from a 12-residencies-a-year schedule to a two-residencies-a-year schedule. This means that, for the first time ever, the college’s academic calendar will accommodate concurrent residencies and cross-program collaboration in the summer and winter semesters.
Why did we make this decision and why now?
The decision to relocate to new campus spaces for our residencies came after deep consideration and deliberation by VCFA’s Board of Trustees.
When evaluating VCFA’s underutilized campus in Montpelier, Vermont, it became clear that our current facilities and resources could not accommodate the college’s goals for growth, simultaneous residencies, and interdisciplinary study.
To better align the college’s resources with the needs of our students, faculty, staff, and alumnx, the Board evaluated opportunities to strengthen the college’s financial position and to dedicate more resources towards student scholarships and funding for faculty and staff. After a year of consultation and consideration, the Board finalized the plan to move summer residencies to Colorado College and begin our unified academic calendar in 2023. Further plans are underway to select a location for winter residencies.
Significant financial benefits associated with the move will enable VCFA to offer more scholarships and to invest more fully in the college’s four strategic initiatives, which include increased access to VCFA’s academic programs, a dedication to equity and empowerment, a lifelong commitment to our alumnx and their careers, and the elevation of art as an impactful tool for change.
Finally, in addition to offering numerous benefits to our current students, VCFA plans on utilizing this added room—both in facilities and housing—to improve alumnx offerings during residencies. Our faculty and staff are using this time of transition to envision new ways of bringing even more alumnx to residencies beginning in summer 2024.
Community has always been the touchstone of VCFA’s values, and it is our hope that by forging these new channels for collaboration and discourse within and across programs, we will further deepen our understanding and practice of what “community” means at VCFA.
“Our commitment to the arts is necessarily tied to innovation, and we’re constantly reevaluating and redefining how to best support our community and the progressive, transformative programs for which VCFA is known. We’re thrilled to be continuing the College’s tradition of excellence in this next chapter and are eager to share in the enhanced opportunities it will afford our students, faculty, and community.”
– Leslie Ward, VCFA President
Beginning in the summer of 2023, all six of VCFA programs will conduct 9-day residencies on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The inaugural summer residency will take place on July 21-29, 2023.
We are excited for our students, faculty, and others in the VCFA community to experience the benefits of our new residency location. Established in 1874, Colorado College is a private, four-year liberal arts college that is consistently ranked among the top 30 liberal arts colleges in the United States. While Colorado College has a relatively small undergraduate community of just about 2,000 students, it sits on a beautiful 92-acre campus in downtown Colorado Springs that is truly in tune with its focus on the arts. Its facilities are comprehensive and modern and includes community recording studios, a 300-seat concert hall, soundproof music rooms, print studios, lecture halls, over a dozen galleries, and campus accommodations that offer accessibility and inclusive housing options for adult students.
With this additional space during our summer residencies, students and faculty will be able to collaborate in ways that were not possible before.
“We are thrilled to welcome Vermont College of Fine Arts students, faculty, and staff to Colorado College starting this summer. I am sure that VCFA’s culture of creative boundary pushing will find exciting synergies on campus with CC’s ethos of integrating the arts and innovation. And there’s nothing more inspiring than our beautiful Rocky Mountains in the summertime.”
– L. Song Richardson, Colorado College President
VCFA is excited to announce that Susquehanna University, a small liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, will be the home of VCFA’s Winter Residencies beginning in January 2024.
VCFA is excited to announce that Susquehanna University, a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, will be the home of VCFA’s Winter Residencies beginning in January 2024. As with Colorado College, Susquehanna University will host all six of our MFA programs, providing space where students and faculty from across academic disciplines can come together in one place for nine days of programmatic and interdisciplinary activities.
Susquehanna offers outstanding facilities and accommodations, a commitment to the arts,
shared values around equity, and a desire to partner with VCFA and support our programs and community. In addition to their ability to house our community all together, the beautiful campus offers state of the art facilities for all of our program needs including multiple gallery spaces, screening rooms, rehearsal spaces, smart classrooms, and auditoriums.
“Susquehanna is honored to host the Vermont College of Fine Arts winter program on our campus next year. The partnership is a synergistic alliance as we have shared expertise in arts, design, music and writing disciplines.”
– Jonathon Green, Susquehanna University President
Why is VCFA making this change?
Our campus facilities and the resources needed for delivering outstanding residencies have not kept pace with the needs of our programs. Conducting our summer residencies on another campus offering full amenities allows VCFA to provide the exceptional learning experience our students expect. At the same time, VCFA will be able to redirect resources towards strategic initiatives that support its mission, including program investment and student scholarships, rather than maintaining a physical asset that contributes only a fraction of the VCFA student and faculty experience.
The core of the VCFA experience is connected to the people and relationships that make up this institution—our outstanding faculty, dedicated administrative team, and students bring creativity and excitement for the arts to their studies every day. This will not change, whether during semester work that happens from a student’s home, or during our content-packed residencies.
Exploring the best and highest uses for underutilized buildings on our Montpelier campus allows VCFA to better align financial resources to have the greatest impact on our community of students, faculty, staff, and alumnx.
When will this change take place?
VCFA plans to relocate its summer residencies to the Colorado College campus starting in summer 2023.
Is VCFA closing? Is VCFA merging with Colorado College?
No. VCFA is not closing and does not have plans to merge with Colorado College.
Who is Colorado College?
Established in 1874 as a coeducational institution, Colorado College’s history is one of proud tradition and progressive culture. As one of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the country, Colorado College offers intensive learning that expands through and beyond the exceptional landscape of the Rocky Mountain West. In CC’s unique and innovative educational model, known as The Block Plan, students take one class at a time for 3 ½ weeks, diving deeply into scholarship and passion through small discussion-based classes. Colorado College enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students who study across more than 42 majors, 32 minors, and 37 departments.
How and why did VCFA decide to enter into an agreement with CC?
In exploring campus options for VCFA students, we knew we needed a like-minded institution that shared VCFA’s values, commitment to the arts, and sense of innovation. After extensive consideration of college campuses both in Vermont and elsewhere, Colorado College emerged as an exciting opportunity with its beautiful campus facilities, a longstanding commitment to its own unique educational model, and the creative spirit we seek for our community.
What will happen with VCFA’s Montpelier campus? Will VCFA’s offices move to Colorado?
VCFA will continue to maintain its administrative offices on the Montpelier campus and is exploring options for better use of underutilized properties on campus that will afford greater benefit to the Montpelier community.
Will this change affect VCFA’s accreditation status?
No. VCFA will continue to be authorized by the State of Vermont and accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). In addition, the Visual Art and Graphic Design programs will continue to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
More information of specific interest to various members of VCFA’s far-reaching community can be found at the links below:
(Featured work images by Teal Doggett, ’19 GD, and Rosemary Rae, ’18 GD; Photos of Colorado College Courtesy of Colorado College)
Reach out to the Office of Institutional Advancement at [email protected].