MacDowell Colony Fellows, 1954.

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Giovanni's Room byJames Baldwin


While a MacDowell Colony residency guarantees artists a quiet place to work undisturbed, it also brings together creative workers who might otherwise never meet.  At any given moment, there is a unique, if fleeting, creative community assembled there.  Relationships formed at MacDowell have resulted in artistic collaborations and deep, lifelong friendships.

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Leonard Bernstien's The Mass Note card

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein was already famous when he first came to work at The MacDowell Colony in 1962.  He returned in 1970 and 1972.  “All of those times I was writing works which had, at least in intent, a vastness, which were dealing with subjects of astronomical if not mystical and astrological dimension,” Bernstein reminisced in 1987.  “This vastness is inherent somehow in this place.”

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Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland was unknown as a composer when he first came to The MacDowell Colony in 1925.  The artists he met there that summer changed his perception of art in America.  Years later, Copland acknowledged his debt to the Colony, saying that if people found his music distinctly American, the Colony deserved some of the credit.

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'Porgy' a play by Dorothy Heyward and Dubose Heyward

Dubose and Dorothy Heyward

Playwright Dorothy Kuhns met poet DuBose Heyward at The MacDowell Colony in 1922, and they married the following year.  When the Heywards returned to the Colony in 1924, DuBose was working on his novel Porgy.  It was Dorothy who convinced DuBose it would work as a play, and the two collaborated on dramatizing the story, which became the basis for George Gershwin’s legendary opera Porgy and Bess.

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Thornton Wilder and Marion MacDowell

Our Town

Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer-prize winning play Our Town is inextricably linked to Peterborough, New Hampshire, which was a model for the play’s fictional town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire.  One of the most performed plays of the twentieth century, Our Town was made into a movie in 1940, and in 2006, an operatic Our Town premiered with a libretto by J. D. McClatchy and music by Ned Rorem.

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