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Four New Members Bring a Range of Talent and Expertise to MacDowell Board of Directors

- June 15, 2022

Type: Press Releases

A collage of portraits of MacDowell's four new board members

(Clockwise from top left) New MacDowell Board members Katie Firth, Luke Kelly by Jon Cartwright, Jeannie Suk Gersen by Nina Subin, and Julius Tapper.

Unanimous election brings strengths in development and mission building to nation’s first artist residency program.

MacDowell, the nation’s first artist residency program, is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has elected four new members, tapping into diverse talent and experience in academia, entertainment, finance, cultural strategy, and non-profit development. The four join an all-volunteer board that is focused on guiding MacDowell into the future, and they bring a broad range of interests and expertise to a leadership team chaired by best-selling author, visual artist, and MacDowell Fellow Nell Painter.

The board voted unanimously last month to elect professor of law and MacDowell Fellow Jeannie Suk Gersen (MF 12); strategist and equity advocate Julius Tapper; Vice President and Treasurer of the Jean & Louis Dreyfus Foundation, actor, and community advocate Katie Firth; and film, television, and stage producer, and former CEO of the Roald Dahl Story Company, Luke Kelly to its 47-member board.

“It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Jeannie Suk Gersen, Julius Tapper, Katie Firth, and Luke Kelly, our strong and beautifully diverse group of new board members, into MacDowell’s leadership,” said Madam Chairman of the Board Nell Painter. “I know they will brilliantly further MacDowell’s century-old commitment to excellence in the arts and to artists at all stages of their careers.”

The MacDowell Board of Directors is composed of volunteer members of varying professional and artistic backgrounds. Its members support MacDowell’s mission and values and champion MacDowell Fellows, ensuring the livelihood of a residency program that each year hosts 300 creators working in multiple disciplines who are selected via a highly competitive application process.

“MacDowell is an idea and a place, renewing itself continuously since Marian MacDowell built Edward MacDowell a studio on their farm in Peterborough in 1896,” said Board of Directors President Andrew M. Senchak. “Jeannie, Luke, Julius, and Katie join her and a long list of directors dedicated to the idea and the place. We welcome them.”

Jeannie Suk Gersen is a professor of law at Harvard Law School and a 2012 MacDowell Fellow. In 2010, she became the first Asian American woman to receive tenure at Harvard. She has written three books and many articles in scholarly journals and general media, and is also a contributing writer for The New Yorker.

Julius Tapper is an innovation strategist working to redesign systems to value equity, inclusion, culture, and community. Julius leads inclusive innovation and equity-centered design at Deloitte’s Ethos and Doblin divisions. Prior to consulting, Tapper worked at TD Bank, founding their impact investing and social finance program and issuing TD’s first Green Bond.

Katie Firth is vice president and treasurer of the Jean & Louis Dreyfus Foundation, has served on advisory boards and committees at nonprofit institutions in New York City, and volunteers for several organizations. She’s worked as a theatre actor, is a member of The Actors Center, and works as a voice-over artist.

Luke Kelly is the former CEO of the Roald Dahl Story Company and has produced and executive produced across 19 television, film, and stage productions. He is currently on the board of Yoto, MTT, and is a trustee of Partners in Health and The Fantastic Peach Charitable Trust.

MacDowell awards more than 300 Fellowships each year to artists who make use of uninterrupted time to work and enjoy the rare opportunity for multidisciplinary exchange. By awarding these Fellowships, MacDowell continues its long-standing mission that has inspired important contributions to American and world culture for more than a century and has to date earned Fellows 97 Pulitzer Prize, 117 Rome Prizes, 33 National Book Awards, and nine Academy Awards, as well as many other accolades.

Full biographies of our new board members can be found here.

For more info: Jonathan Gourlay, communications,, 603-924-3886, ext.114