Latest News & Press Releases

Fairfax Dorn, Co-Founder of Ballroom Marfa, to Be Honored with Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award

- September 28, 2023

Type: Press Releases, Events

Fairfax Dorn with brown hair and a green dress.

Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award winner Fairfax Dorn. Portrait by Ashton Do

Award highlights Ballroom Marfa Artistic Director Fairfax Dorn’s commitment to the arts and its creators and will be presented during MacDowell’s October 16 National Benefit.

Fairfax Dorn, co-founder and artistic director of Ballroom Marfa, will receive the fourth annual Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award, created to honor those who profoundly and uniquely support artists and advance the arts in society. The award will be presented at MacDowell’s National Benefit in New York City on October 16, 2023, at New York’s Ziegfeld Ballroom. The Marian MacDowell Award will be presented by special guest and New York-based artist Adam Pendleton, an American conceptual artist known for his multi-disciplinary practice.

“I am especially elated to be receiving the Marian MacDowell Award because it is named for a woman who many in our field consider a role model,” said Dorn when she learned she would be presented with the honor. “Her guiding principles inspired so many of us to create space and support for artists. Marian MacDowell keenly understood the needs to nourish the evolutionary path of artists, and at Ballroom Marfa we strive to support the work of artists of all backgrounds by offering that sacred space to create while surrounded by boundless nature.”

Ballroom Marfa, located in the remote area of Marfa, TX, is a non-collecting contemporary art museum, performance space, and arts residency program established in 2003. With support from individuals and foundations, Ballroom Marfa commissions new site-specific and site-inspired projects and gives artists and musicians the opportunity to engage with the magnificent natural landscape of Big Bend National Park.

“Fairfax Dorn and her organization are perfectly aligned with MacDowell’s mission to nurture the arts and artists,” said MacDowell Executive Director Chiwoniso Kaitano. “Both organizations hold the artist front and center, at the core of what we do, what we believe, and what we think about on a daily basis. Ballroom Marfa may only be two decades in the making, but its profound impact on artists’ careers in that short time makes it an exemplar of the mission to hold the arts, artists, and the creative process above all other considerations.”

The evening will be hosted by Tony Award-nominated playwright and actor Sharon Washington.

The Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award honors arts patrons and supporters whose vision aligns with our founder Marian MacDowell’s legacy and her championship of artists. Past recipients have included Ava DuVernay’s media collective ARRAY; Mahogany L. Browne and Urban Word; and Susan Unterberg and her organization Anonymous Was A Woman.

Dorn will receive the award during an evening that will feature music created and performed by MacDowell Fellows. The celebration will include a cocktail hour, dinner, presentations from MacDowell Fellows, and a paddle raise.

MacDowell, which has provided more than 16,000 residencies to artists working in all disciplines at no cost to the artists, was established by pianist Marian MacDowell in 1907, according to husband and composer Edward MacDowell’s wishes. When Edward died in 1908, Marian worked tirelessly to make sure artists working in all disciplines and “regardless of social station” would find the time and space to do their best work. It’s a philosophy reflected in Ballroom Marfa’s mission.

For tickets and table sponsorship opportunities, visit our benefit webpage. For more information about sponsorships, please email Blake Bradford at or call 212-465-3215. Join the conversation online with #MarianMacDowellAward.