MacDowell Announces 2020 Public Season of Works-in-Process and Artist Conversations in New York

press release - December 17, 2019

Image caption: Collaborators Tom Kitt, James Lapine, and Michael Korie take a break from working on Flying Over Sunset in the Irving Fine Studio during their 2017 residencies. (photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey)

Image caption: Collaborators Tom Kitt, James Lapine, and Michael Korie take a break from working on Flying Over Sunset in the Irving Fine Studio during their 2017 residencies. (photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey)

"Spark & Illumination" showcases theatre, literature, music, architecture, visual art, film, performance, and journalism as it’s being made.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New York – On January 23, The MacDowell Colony kicks off the year-long MacDowell NYC Salon Series “Spark & Illumination” with an evening of original musical theatre as James Lapine, Tom Kitt, and Michael Korie will be on hand to present excerpts of Flying Over Sunset and talk about their MacDowell-supported collaboration just weeks before the musical’s Broadway premiere. Writer-director Lapine, composer Kitt, and lyricist Korie will present songs from their new play in an intimate setting in Chelsea and will share stories of their creative process. The evening launches a series of public salons scheduled for 2020, as some of the contemporary art world’s most dynamic creators will perform, exhibit, and read from works created at The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH, one of the nation’s leading contemporary arts organizations and its first artist residency program.

“These events bring to light the road map of a practitioner’s unpredictable creative process and will provide a rare opportunity for the public to experience new works, as well as the story behind the artistic impulse and practice of a range of art makers,” says Executive Director Philip Himberg. “The story of The MacDowell Colony is one rooted in experimentation and risk. This series aims to lift a corner of the veil on artistic inspiration and craft and to kindle conversation about storytelling in all of its provocative facets.”

Beginning with Flying Over Sunset, which will be presented by its creators at MacDowell NYC at 521 West 23rd Street at 6:30 p.m., monthly programs – both free to the public and ticketed – will present poetry, jazz, musical adaptation, film, and journalism throughout 2020.

A full schedule follows:

January 23, 2020 @ 6:30 p.m. Musical Theater
Flying Over Sunset, a New Musical

It’s 1957, before Timothy Leary hit the scene, when Cary Grant, Clare Boothe Luce, and Aldous Huxley gather at a beautiful beach house overlooking the Pacific to embark on an acid trip together. That’s the story at the center of the new musical, Flying Over Sunset, written and directed by James Lapine with music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Michael Korie. Join these three MacDowell Fellows for this musical salon featuring performances and conversation about a work soon to premier at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.

February 29, 2020 @ 4 p.m. Poetry
Page Meets Stage: The Crossover

Urban Word NYC, in partnership with MacDowell, presents MacDowell Fellow and award-winning poet John Murillo with emerging poets from Urban Word NYC, Jennifer Martinez and James Lherisson. An evening of reading and conversation between teen poets and esteemed literary figures followed by a Q&A. Evening Host: MacDowell Fellow, board member, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Vijay Seshadri.

March 12, 2020 (Time TBA) Latinx Jazz
The Afro-Cubanism of Aruán Ortiz: From Contemporary Chamber Music to Avant-Garde Jazz

MacDowell Colony board member and Fellow Tania León and board member Terrance McKnight co-curate an acoustic evening that offers a multilayered look into the Latin American/American musical influences and connections of Aruán Ortiz. The event’s performers will include João Luiz from Brasil Guitar Duo for an evening of music and conversation with MacDowell composers.

May 11, 2020 @ 6:30 p.m. Musical Adaptation
The Seat of Our Pants: inspired by Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth

Composer, librettist, lyricist, and MacDowell Fellow Ethan Lipton created his new adaptation of The Skin of Our Teeth at The MacDowell Colony for the Public Theater. In The Seat of Our Pants, Lipton re-imagines the most iconic of American plays – originally penned by MacDowell Fellow Thornton Wilder – in musical form. How does a play from the classic canon “sing”? Be among the first to hear the songs and join a conversation with Lipton and director Leigh Silverman. A TBA special guest star artist will read from Wilder’s original play.

June 2020 (Date and Time TBA) LGBTQ+ Film
LGBTQ+ Cinema at Cinépolis Chelsea

Join us at Cinépolis for an evening celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride 2020 with special guest hosts and panelists to be announced soon.

August 2020 (Date and Time TBA) Medal Day
MacDowell’s Annual Medal Day
in Peterborough, NH

Join art lovers from around the region and around the country at our most anticipated event of the year on the lush MacDowell Colony grounds to celebrate the achievements of leading voices in American culture. This event is free and open to the public. This year, the Edward MacDowell Medal will be awarded to a composer (to be announced this winter).

September 9, 2020 @ 7 p.m. Celebrating Women Writers

Emerging Voices: An Evening with Chelsea Bieker and Monica Sok - Debut women writers supported by The MacDowell Colony and The Rona Jaffe Foundation

MacDowell NYC is hosting an evening in celebration of our 10-year partnership with The Rona Jaffe Foundation. The permanently endowed Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship was established in 2008, and each year it supports a MacDowell residency and a stipend for an emerging woman writer. This event is also part of the Foundation’s annual Writers’ Awards Celebration Week running from September 9-11, 2020.

Debut writers Chelsea Bieker (Rona Jaffe Award 2018, MacDowell Fellow 2014), author of the novel Godshot (Catapult, 2020), and poet Monica Sok (Rona Jaffe Foundation/ MacDowell Fellow 2016), author of A Nail the Evening Hangs On (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), will join us for a reading and conversation about their new works. Q&A and reception will follow. Books will be available for sale! This event is free and open to the public, however a reservation is required. Please reserve your ticket here.

October 1, 2020 – (Time TBA) Journalism Panel
The Art of Journalism: The Virtues of Bias

Join us for this evening of incisive conversation with MacDowell Fellows who work in investigative and long-form narrative journalism. In this era of the 30-second soundbite and relative truth, in-depth reporting and groundbreaking nonfiction writing are more important than ever. This special evening will be curated by MacDowell board member and Virginia Quarterly Review Editor Paul Reyes.

October 19, 2020 @ 6:30 p.m. Gala In NYC
MacDowell Colony National Benefit in New York

MacDowell’s signature fundraiser held in New York City. Each year, this glittering event showcases the range and depth of work from MacDowell Fellows.

This series at MacDowell NYC extends the public offering that our ongoing MacDowell Downtown series makes possible for our community in Peterborough, NH.

Since 1907, MacDowell’s mission has been to create a space where inspiration happens on a daily basis. We do that by providing essential support for emerging and established artists, bringing together diverse, multidisciplinary talent to exchange ideas and pursue creative work. The sole criterion for acceptance to MacDowell is artistic excellence, which is defined in a pluralistic and inclusive way, embracing artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics.

For more information, please e-mail or contact Brett Evan Solomon at 212-535-9690.