Discipline: Visual Art

Barbara Trachtenberg

Discipline: Visual Art
Region: Newton, MA
MacDowell Fellowships: 1978

Barbara Trachtenberg received a fellowship to MacDowell Colony in 1978—when she was a young wife and mother. She continued supporting her family as a teacher and administrator in a hospital school for students with multiple handicaps in NH, continuing into the mid-80s and in a residential school for gifted, emotionally challenged youth. She has written about that experience in short fiction and completed two master's degrees—in special education (Keene State) and counseling psychology (Antioch). Moving to Boston in the mid-80s to teach in an immigrant city, she took a sabbatical to teach in Mexico and improve her Spanish. She returned as a school psychologist, and completed a doctorate in culture and literacy. Her dissertation—based on ethnographies of poor single Central American mothers of school children—sought the women’s perceptions of their own overcoming of obstacles to acculturation in the urban US. She retired at 62 to return to her early love of abstract art. She is self-taught.

A lifelong traveler, Trachtenberg began exhibiting her street photography in France and Havana. She soon took her abstract visual work seriously and moved to painting, collage, and assemblage, exhibiting throughout New England.

Her memberships and juried group exhibitions include Galatea in Boston’s artist district; group shows in Greater Boston’s galleries and university galleries; Rockport Art Association's Experimental Group; Rocky Neck Art Association, CambridgeArt and ConcordArt and five invited small group shows at Honeyjones, Cambridge. Her solo shows include Havana, Cambridge, MA and rural France and part of an online gallery based in Berlin. Trachtenberg received fellowships at MacDowell Colony, CAMAC (Marnay-sur-Seine, France) and has a presence online Berlin site of works on paper. She was a Regional Liaison as a MacDowell Colony Fellow in 2020.

Portrait by Chelsea Bradway


Phi Beta

Barbara Trachtenberg worked in the Phi Beta studio.

Funded by the Phi Beta Fraternity, a national professional fraternity of music and speech founded in 1912, Phi Beta Studio was built between 1929–1931 of granite quarried on the MacDowell grounds. The small studio is a simple in design, but displays a pleasing combination of materials with its granite walls and colorful slate roofing. Inside is…

Learn more