MacDowell Drops Reference Requirement, Restructures Application Deadlines

Press Release - October 13, 2021

Type: Press Releases, Fellowships

Image courtesy Michael Moran / OTTO

MacDowell, the nation’s first artist residency program, has announced it will suspend a longstanding admissions requirement that applicants supply reference letters as part of the application process. In addition, the residency will convert from three annual application deadlines and corresponding residency seasons to two. That means the next application deadline will be February 10, 2022, for residencies during the period September of 2022 through February of 2023.

The trial phase for eliminating reference letters will begin with the next application period, which commences on November 1, 2021.

“We’ve been hearing for some time that reference letters are a barrier to equitable and fair treatment of all artist populations,” said Admissions Director Courtney Bethel, “so in line with our moves to increase equity and access in our culture at MacDowell, we’ve decided to experiment with dropping them as an application requirement.”

The new application periods will help MacDowell manage steadily rising numbers of applicants. Over the past five years, expanding applicant pools have dramatically increased the workload for staff and admissions panelists. As a result, it was necessary to create space in their schedule to allow more time for staff to process and panelists to review applications for each deadline.

“This move will result in two six-month residency periods, fall through winter for the February application deadline, and spring through summer for a new September deadline,” said Bethel.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of the residency program for more than six months from March 2020 through last September, MacDowell continues to offer space to artists whose residencies were cancelled or who have yet to be scheduled due to travel bans.

“We’ll use openings in the schedule during the coming winter, spring, and summer to offer space to these artists,” said Bethel. “We look forward to welcoming new applications from artists for the upcoming February deadline.”

The application period for the new fall-winter 2022-2023 residency period will open on November 1, 2021.

The new application deadlines and seasons are as follows:

Season: Fall 2022-Winter 2023 will include the months of September 2022 through February 2023
Application deadline: February 10, 2022
Accepting applications: November 1, 2021 – February 10, 2022
Result notification: end of April 2022

Season: Spring-Summer 2023 will include the months March 2023 through August 2023
Application deadline: September 10, 2022
Accepting applications: June 1, 2022 – September 10, 2022
Result notification: end of November 2022

Fellows make use of uninterrupted time to work and enjoy the rare opportunity for multidisciplinary exchange. Artists with demonstrated financial need are eligible for travel grants and stipends to cover expenses that accrue at home while they are away at their residency. MacDowell awards more than 300 fellowships each year.

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 95 Pulitzer Prizes as well as many other accolades.

For more info: please contact Admissions Director Courtney Bethel.