MacDowell at a Glance

Composer Edward MacDowell and pianist Marian MacDowell, his wife, founded MacDowell in 1907 to bring artists of different disciplines together in one space. Our mission is to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which to produce enduring works of the imagination.

Each year, until the pandemic, MacDowell welcomed more than 300 architects, composers, filmmakers, interdisciplinary artists, theatre artists, visual artists, and writers from across the United States and around the globe. More than 15,000 fellowships have been awarded to MacDowell artists. These highly competitive fellowships, each with an average value of $12,000, are awarded based solely on talent by a panel of distinguished professionals in each discipline. Fellows are provided a private studio for a period of up to eight weeks, accommodations and three meals a day. After closing its doors last March in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, MacDowell reopened to a small cohort of nine artists who stayed for up to one month. That scaled-back program is being continued.

During its first century (1907-2007), MacDowell achieved an unparalleled cultural legacy, having nurtured the work of Benny Andrews, Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Michael Chabon, Aaron Copland, Ayad Akhtar, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ellen Driscoll, Louise Erdrich, Osvaldo Golijov, Cathy Park Hong, Dee Rees, Julia Wolfe, Janet Fish, Frances FitzGerald, Jonathan Franzen, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, Oscar Hijuelos, Meredith Monk, Walter Mosley, Alice Sebold, Studs Terkel, Barbara Tuchman, and Alice Walker. MacDowell Fellows have won 93 Pulitzer Prizes, 868 Guggenheim Fellowships, 109 Rome Prizes, 33 National Book Awards, 31 Tony Awards, 33 MacArthur Fellowships, 15 Grammys, 9 Oscars, and 8 National Medals for the Arts.

While working at MacDowell, Leonard Bernstein completed his Mass; Aaron Copland composed Billy the Kid; Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town and The Bridge of San Luis Rey; James Baldwin wrote Giovanni’s Room; Willa Cather wrote Death Comes for the Archbishop; Dubose and Dorothy Heyward wrote Porgy and Bess; and Virgil Thomson worked on Mother of Us All; Alice Walker worked on her first novel and Meridian at MacDowell. Michael Chabon wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Hillary Jordan wrote Mudbound, and Jonathan Franzen completed The Corrections.1997, MacDowell was awarded the National Medal of Arts “for nurturing and inspiring many of this century’s finest artists” and offering outstanding artists of all disciplines “the opportunity to work within a dynamic community of their peers, where creative excellence is the standard.” MacDowell is the only artist residency program to have received this prestigious honor.

At MacDowell, we believe that art makes the world a better place. We also believe that to create inspiring art, artists need a place that inspires them. At MacDowell we create a space where inspiration happens on a daily basis, so that artists can do the work of inspiring us to take a fresh look at the way we connect to the world and to each other.

For more info: Jonathan Gourlay, communications, jgourlay@macdowell.org, 603-924-3886, ext.114