Virtual MacDowell: Connection Through Conversation

A collage of images. In the center, the Virtual MacDowell logo. Surrounding the logo are dozens of screenshots of people on a video call.

During the pandemic, when MacDowell’s grounds were closed to artists-in-residence for the first time since the hurricane of 1938, we began reflecting on new ways to encourage meaningful connections among the artists that we support. We created Virtual MacDowell as a space where Fellows could engage in earnest collaboration and exchange ideas. With an emphasis on bringing artists together to build community and broadening MacDowell’s outreach efforts, Virtual MacDowell (VM) is not an online residency, but a new program designed to supplement the experience of being an artist-in-residence at MacDowell.

MacDowell’s VM team selects participants based on similarities in their backgrounds and life experiences along with their willingness to share critical and constructive feedback. The aim is to help MacDowell improve its outreach, relationship-building, and networking through increased representation and inclusion of artists from communities that it has not fully engaged with in the past. Prior sessions have welcomed Native American and Indigenous artists, artists with disabilities, parent artists, Black artists, Latine/x artists, and Asian and Pacific Islander artists. Future VM forums may be focused on commonalities based on language, geographies, age, gender identity, and other affinities, recognizing that there are intersectionalities within these groups, and that individuals will always bring their unique viewpoints and experiences to the table.

MacDowell’s VM team designs these sessions as guided conversations held twice weekly over the course of four weeks. All MacDowell Fellows are welcome to participate in VM programming and receive stipends for their participation. Email us here to learn more about Virtual MacDowell.

Read our original announcement about the program