Established by a pro-Venice activist named Mary Samm in 2119, the Venice Academy of the Visual Arts is located in the Venice district of Newport, close to Florence Park. VAVA is home to artists, student filmmakers, dancers, and holosculpturists. It holds a student exhibition annually: in 2209 it continues from the 11th to the 18th of August.
April records in her diary that admission is based on one's portfolio content, as opposed to a perhaps more traditional high school examination score. At the beginning of TLJ she has been attending VAVA for a few months, but unfortunately April is running low on inspiration for painting, and needs to have a successful entry in the student exhibition to gain full admittance.
April's friend Emma is also a student at VAVA, but instead of painting she prefers to work on holosculptures. Charlie attends dance class at VAVA, traditionally considered a 'performing' rather than 'visual' art. Other students include Zack Lee (a filmmaker) and Olav (another painter).
There are several notices on VAVA's noticeboard outside:
- A poster advertising the VAVA Summer Exhibit in August, which April's painting is supposed to be part of.
- An advert looking for a nude model. April comments that it used to read "only looking for young and beautiful chicks" but the last word has been hastily replaced with "women'".
- Another is selling an antique 16mm film camera for an exorbitant $8000. April isn't surprised to see this was posted by Zack.
- The last advert is looking for an actress to take part in a "snuff movie parody" at the Newport Harbour, but April thinks this sounds fishy.
The Collapse seems to have hit VAVA as hard as the rest of Venice, and one of the homeless people Zoë talks to on Marco Polo, a former holosculpture teacher and tutor to Emma de Vrijer, was retrenched in the process of the school's down-sizing. It was eventually moved out of Venice, a move the former teacher describes as "ironic", although he does not elaborate on its current location.
Charlie also admits to Zoë that he studied dance at VAVA before the Collapse. When he discusses its current status, he only states cryptically: "It was famous. Still is, but...for very different reasons." In Dreamfall, the path leading towards VAVA through the park is blocked by a police barrier.