Asbestos, George Washington…and you? I’ll take “three words that have never appeared in the same sentence ever for $500, Alex.”

I am very excited to welcome nine people to the VCLA family, and every single donation is appreciated and very necessary. Indeed, we’ll need many more such generous checks (and/or PayPals, etc.) to get us closer to the finish line. So far, we’ve raised over $600K and need to double that to restore and open the center. (Incidentally, we are quite amenable to outside-the-box contributions; one of the donations involves various electronic and tech supplies, which are needed, appreciated, and will go a long way to helping make this literary arts center a first-class experience for future visitors.)

If you didn’t catch the great piece on the center in last weekend’s Winchester Star, you can read it (for free, with bonus pics) here.

Have you signed up for the newsletter yet? We are also on Instagram (valitarts) and Twitter (@VALitArts), and don’t sleep on our Facebook page, either (Virginia Center for Literary Arts). Anything you can do to spread the word via your social media channels is a huge help! Of course, if you know people who might be interested in joining or contributing to the cause, send them this way.

The big news right now is asbestos. Or, rather, the removal of it from our property. As I’ve mentioned, these buildings are old, and currently showing their age (and also their character). Part of the renovation process involves making them actually habitable. So…we’ve had them scrutinized and tested, and right now all hazardous stuff is being eradicated. When I visited –with business partner and lifelong friend Mark, and his family– during a cold day last week, we saw several of the windows have actually been removed. It’s not pretty, but it’s progress!

So, where does George Washington come into the equation?

Well, check this out: back before he became busy leading a revolution, he was a young surveyor (completing his first project at age 17!) and became intimately familiar with the land in and around the Shenandoah Valley.

As it happens, the modest log cabin (!) where our first president worked (during 1755-76) is directly across the street from VCLA, on the corner of Cork and S. Braddock. Check it out.

Here’s the view of VCLA from his lawn, featuring a vintage cannon. Yes, GW is our next door neighbor.

Real, vital history like this is one of the myriad reasons I decided Winchester is the perfect place for this project.

Did I mention that VCLA’s buildings are old and…not exactly ugly but in need of a face-lift? Your help spreading the word and turning this momentum into a tsunami will make amazing things happen.

Reminder: this is the vision (aerial view) we are hoping to cultivate!

Thanks for your support. Stay tuned for another asbestos-free update, soon!


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