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MacDowell and Institute of American Indian Arts Offer New Creative Writing Fellowship to MFAs

- December 5, 2022

Type: Press Releases, Fellowships

New Fellowship highlights MacDowell’s desire to support Indigenous voices and continue efforts to improve access to nation’s premier artist residency program.

New York/Santa Fe – MacDowell and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) are joining together to offer a new Fellowship program for graduates of the IAIA’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFACW) at the nation’s longest-running artist residency. By combining resources, the new Fellowship expands MacDowell’s efforts to foster equity within the arts by creating opportunities for an ever-expanding community of artists.

“It is immeasurably satisfying to be able to announce this partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts,” said MacDowell Executive Director Philip Himberg. “We are pleased to extend the singular interdisciplinary experience of a MacDowell residency to artists we have historically struggled to reach, and it provides us a tangible example of how we can and should act to support a diversity of voices that will enrich our culture.”

MacDowell supports the idea that the IAIA’s MFACW program is “changing the literary landscape,” and has found common purpose in beginning what it hopes is a long association with IAIA – "the birthplace of contemporary Indigenous art, literature, and fashion.” Through this partnership, MacDowell and IAIA will share resources and networks to amplify the work of each and pursue common goals. All graduates considered for the IAIA Fellowship would need to comply with MacDowell’s long-standing application process. This alliance also reflects MacDowell’s commitment to making the residency program more accessible to Indigenous artists and continues along a path of new outreach actions that include Virtual MacDowell, in which participants with similarities in backgrounds and life experiences share critical and constructive feedback. Sessions with Indigenous Fellows resulted in the first-time creation of a cohort of Indigenous artists-in-residence this past summer, which gave participants the opportunity to uplift each other as a community rather than experience MacDowell individually as the solitary Indigenous artist on site. The cohort also met with local Indigenous artists to share ideas and their art.

“Many of our IAIA MFACW students come from small communities, and the opportunity to engage in conversations with artists and writers from around the world is indispensable,” said Deborah Jackson Taffa, director of the IAIA’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and 2021 MacDowell Fellow in literature.Not only will they learn from the engagement; they will see how much they have to offer in return. Good books happen in conversation with other intellectuals and being at MacDowell is affirming as it offers a seat at the table. The residency acts as a mirror, offering perspective on home and history, the very places our students seek to depict in their writing.”

Since its beginnings on the Santa Fe Indian School campus, IAIA began acquiring and exhibiting its students’ artworks, forming a collection that became the foundation of the world’s premier museum representing contemporary Indigenous arts and cultures – the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA). MoCNA continues expanding its renowned collection of nearly 10,000 artworks, curating numerous progressive and innovative exhibitions, both traveling and at its museum in downtown Santa Fe.

MacDowell residencies last from two to six weeks, with an average duration of 30 days. Each residency includes use of a private studio with discipline-specific amenities, three meals a day, and living accommodations. The opportunity for artists-in-residence to engage with creators in other disciplines and backgrounds is vital to the program, and MacDowell is ensuring that it can continue to take place in a safe and healthy manner even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to interrupt our daily lives. The relationships formed between artists often spark inspiration and long-term creative partnerships.

MacDowell’s next residency application period opens January 1, 2023, and has a deadline of February 10.


Institute of American Indian Arts
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) – the birthplace of contemporary Indigenous American art – has been the educational home for esteemed and innovative artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, and leaders since 1962. IAIA continues to grow on its stunning 140-acre campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Named one of the top art institutions globally by UNESCO and the International Association of Art and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, IAIA offers undergraduate degrees in Cinematic Arts and Technology, Creative Writing, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, Performing Arts, and Studio Arts; graduate degrees in Creative Writing, Studio Arts, and Cultural Administration; and certificates in Broadcast Journalism, Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History. The college serves approximately 500 full-time Native and non-Native American students from around the globe, representing nearly 100 federally recognized tribes.