The MacDowell National Benefit

October 17, 2022

The MacDowell National Benefit returned for an in-person celebration in New York City!

More than 300 people joined us at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City on October 17 for a festive celebration of MacDowell Fellows' work and the presentation of the third annual Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award to Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) and its visionary founder, Susan Unterberg. At a time when MacDowell and others are working diligently to remove barriers to artistic creativity for the widest population, we proudly salute AWAW's leadership in providing support, since 1996, to mid-career women-identifying artists.

This spectacular evening showcased the outstanding work of MacDowell Fellows across artistic disciplines. Hosted by MacDowell Fellow and award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson (4x, 90-09), the Benefit also featured performances and works by poet and drag artist Wo Chan (20), performing as The Illustrious Pearl, a silk installation by visual artist Portia Munson (92, 98, 19), music performed by musician Conrad Tao from 2021 Pulitzer Prize winner and 2022 Kennedy Center honoree Tania León (16), a performance from Carmen Ruby-Floyd and Judy Kuhn of a musical adaptation of The Skin of Our Teeth by Ethan Lipton (18), and 2021 MacDowell Medalist Rosanne Cash, who presented this year's award and closed the evening with a special performance of her song "Particle and Wave."

This year's Benefit auction featured curated getaways, creative experiences with MacDowell Fellows, and artworks large and small for any collection, from MacDowell Fellows Cindy Bernard (16), Nene Humphrey (78, 08, 11), Rosemarie Fiore (03, 14), Nina Katchadourian (95), and many others!

Check out our slideshow of the evening below as well as a video chronicle of the evening.

Artwork titled Leoparda de Ojitos. A humanoid leopard-like animal kneels between two small trees. The image is drawn with bright, neon colors.

Cecilia Vicuña, Leoparda de ojitos, 1977, oil on canvas, 140 x 89.5 cm. Collection Beth Rudin DeWoody. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.

For more information about the Benefit or to become a sponsor of next year's event, please e-mail

Portrait of Susan Unterberg. She smile directly into the camera and is wearing a black shirt and glasses

Susan Unterberg. photo courtesy of Anonymous Was A Woman

Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award

This year, we presented the third annual Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award to Anonymous Was A Woman, an organization founded by visual artist and MacDowell Fellow Susan Unterberg which provides unrestricted grants to women-identifying artists over the age of 40.

The list of individuals supported by both Anonymous Was A Woman and MacDowell is long, and includes Torkwase Dyson, Nina Katchadourian, Autumn Knight, Zoe Leonard, Howardena Pindell, Laura Poitras, Cecilia Vicuña, Carrie Mae Weems, and many more groundbreaking artists. A selection of works created by artists who have received the support of both MacDowell and Anonymous Was A Woman will be on display during MacDowell’s benefit evening

The Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award was created to honor those who profoundly and uniquely support artists, aligning with our founder Marian MacDowell’s legacy and her championship of artists as they create bold new works that spark our imagination, illuminate our world, and celebrate our humanity.

In 2020, the inaugural award was presented to Ava DuVernay and ARRAY, a multi-platform media company and arts collective based in Los Angeles that amplifies independent films by Black artists, people of color, and women filmmakers globally. In 2021, the award was presented to Mahogany L. Browne and Urban Word NYC, one of the oldest and most comprehensive youth literary arts organizations in the country. This year’s award is presented with generous support by Musa and Tom Mayer.

Read Susan Unterberg's Full Bio
Watch the full program recorded at the Ziegfeld Ballroom.
Watch the full program recorded at the Ziegfeld Ballroom.
Rosanne Cash performs "Particle and Wave" accompanied by John Leventhal.
Rosanne Cash presents the the third annual Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award to Anonymous Was A Woman and founder and MacDowell Fellow Susan Unterberg.
Conrad Tao Performs Tania León's "Ritual" at MacDowell Benefit.
Ethan Lipton's "Stuff it Down" performed at MacDowell Benefit.
Inés Nassara Performs Shaina Taub's "Sing Again" at MacDowell Benefit.

Benefit Committee Co-Chairs

Amelia Dunlop
Anne Stark Locher
Amy Davidson Sorkin

Benefit Chairs

Eleanor Briggs
Susan Bay Nimoy
Marcy Carsey
Katie Firth and Jonathan Bank
Christine and Todd Fisher
Jeanne Donovan Fisher
Elizabeth and Russell Gaudreau
Darrell and Robin Harvey
Anne Stark Locher and Kurt Locher
Robert and Stephanie Olmsted
Thomas and Babs Putnam
Andrew and Barbara Senchak
Amy Davidson Sorkin and David Sorkin
Peter and Catherine Wirth

* all lists in formation

Artist Committee

Polly Apfelbaum
Cindy Bernard
Ellen Driscoll
Lauren Groff
Harmony Hammond
Margaret Honda
Sharon Horvath
Nene Humphrey
Nina Katchadourian
Autumn Knight
Jaime Lowe
Carrie Moyer
Erin M. Riley
Amie Siegel
Shelly Silver
Jen Silverman
Nadja Spiegelman
Julie Tolentino
Kristina Wong

Business Sponsors

Penguin Random House logo SVB Private logo

Other National Benefits