A New Season

What is to Come
What we must know
What we must be…
My heart is evergreen."

Carolyn M. Rodgers

A portrait of a woman with long black hair and wearing a magenta dress. She leans against a bookcase, her elbow resting on a shelf. She smiles softly.

Executive Director Chiwoniso Kaitano. (Julie Bridgham photo)

My first visit to the MacDowell grounds included a tour of the James Baldwin Library. As many of you know, in walking around this masterpiece, a visitor discovers many beautiful moments, but for me, few are more beautiful than the southwest corner where one finds two Womb Chairs placed adjacent to long shelves filled with the work of MacDowell Fellows past and present. The chairs are turned outward, facing an array of tall windows. During my winter visit, these windows framed a snowy wonderland, and during my recent spring visit, they were alive with a joyful portrait of emerging wildflowers in the meadow.

As I become acclimated to my new role as executive director, and as I get to know this wonderful community, I have been thinking of duality and of the changing seasons. MacDowell is a constant in the artistic community and has been so since its inception. And yet we do not exist in a vacuum. Organizations and communities like ours have been impacted by the wider tides of a shifting culture that have affected us all in innumerable ways these last few years. How does MacDowell sustain and amplify its venerable legacy in an age of such tremendous transformation? Have we met the moment? In MacDowell’s third century, will our inheritors look back and judge us kindly and see all the ways in which we, as a community, navigated this historical inflection point in a way that centers the care of artists first and foremost? I certainly hope so. All things have a season and this is certainly a new one for MacDowell in many ways. Our charge is to honor our legacy at the same time we embrace what comes next. The enduring rule is that our mission of centering the care of artists is and will always be our true north.

The poet Carolyn M. Rodgers writes of the evergreen heart. It is an idea that wills us not to be jaded but to remain focused on the beauty and bounty that is always before us. The last few years have been turbulent, but a new season of possibility is upon us.

Thank you for welcoming me into this community. I am so grateful to be here.

In friendship,
Chiwoniso Kaitano
Executive Director

This letter opens the 2023 winter-spring newsletter found here.