I am at Vermont Studio Center (VSC) right now. And I was at the
In comparison, VSC is an in-town site in northern
Here at VSC writers are a minority compared with visual artists, with a ratio of in the first two weeks of April. To my delight, our studios, in a new building named Maverick, are the envy of the visual artists. The building is only one year old and still smells of fresh paint, with windows facing the running
Both VCCA and VSC are open to international applicants. While I saw quite a few European artists but no Asians at VCCA, VSC seems to be the opposite in this respect.
One important thing to mention: both residencies provide great food. Again VSC is more programmatic in organizing meals. Last night when we lined up for our first dinner, the plates were filled by the kitchen staff instead of ourselves, and we were told "no seconds." In comparison, at VCCA, you get your meal in a buffet manner. This is easy on the residents, but might be harder for the chef to do quantity management. Last summer a change of chef at VCCA resulted in a few days of uneven food supply. On the other hand, to be as well-organized as VSC requires more kitchen staff and again increases overhead costs. There are pros and cons either way.
In conclusion, both VSC and VCCA are wonderful residencies where you can get writing done, yet you have a choice of organization style. Other things being equal, if you'd like an opportunity of exchange with established authors, and don't mind paying a bit more, go for VSC. If you just want to have your own time to write, and prefer an informal, self-governing rural setting, you'll probably enjoy the lower-cost residency (plus a nice trail in the woods) at VCCA more.
A friend once asked me what else I get from a residency. I find meal times a wonderful opportunity to network with other writers and artists. You sit with different people each meal, and you often can have fun and stimulating conversations. It is a real plus that you get out a writer's isolation once in a while.
Apart from VSC and VCCA, there are a number of no-cost and highly reputed residencies in