The MacDowell Colony Accepting Applications for Summer 2015 Artist Residency

The MacDowell Colony cultivates genius. The bucolic art colony located in Peterborough, New Hampshire was established in 1907 by Marian MacDowell, pianist and wife of composer Edward, and its track record speaks for itself.

Since its inception, the colony has supported over 7,000 artists-in-residence, including a dozen MacArthur Foundation “Genius Awards” and scores of Rome Prizes, Guggenheim Fellowships, National Book Awards, Sundance Prizes, GRAMMYs, and Academy Award winners. Oh, and did we mention at least 75 (!) Pulitzer Prize winners?

So multi-disciplinary artists take note: The application deadline for the Summer 2005 artist residency is January 15, 2015.

Before we take a closer look at the application criteria, let's first step back and provide a bit more color around the colony itself (while trying to refrain from breathless hyperbole).

The Colony's founding mother — that would be Marian MacDowell — was of the opinion that the region's woodsy solitude is most conducive to deep thinking and artistic expression. Located in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, it's situated in "a striking natural environment and robust cultural scene [that] provide a wealth of options for residents and visitors alike." It reminds us of Thoreau meditating in the woods, and then walking into town to buy milk. (Conversely, artists looking to emulate the raw, gritty, and desperate work of, say, Lou Reed's album "Berlin" may want to squat in an unheated warehouse space in Berlin in February.)

Here's what MacDowell artists-in-residence can look forward to:

  • A four-to-five-week stay, not to exceed two months.
  • Free room and board, and possible assistance with travel expenses.
  • Their own studio — there are 32 in total — for personal use, available on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

It's worth nothing that, unlike some residences that situate artists in a comparatively isolating atmosphere, MacDowell artists are encouraged to hang with eachother. MacDowell serves breakfast and dinner in a common dining room and a main hall provides additional opportunities to talk and colalborate. (Reality show, anyone?)

So now comes the fun part: the application criteria. Artists should check out the application guidelines here. In the meantime, here are some pertinent points:

  • The Colony accepts applications from artists working in the disciplines of architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts.
  • The sole criterion for acceptance is artistic excellence, which the Colony defines in a "pluralistic and inclusive way."
  • Emerging and established artists are invited to apply.
  • Applicants who are in a degree program as of the date of application are ineligible for a residency and therefore cannot apply.
  • Artists may apply only once every 24 months.
  • Work samples supporting the proposed project and completed within the past four years are requested.

And there you have it — an Eden-like, collaborative artistic residency program nestled in the woods of New Hampshire. And it gets even better. Acclaimed author Michael Chabon is the Chairman of MacDowell's Board of Directors.

Who knows? Maybe you'll bump into him in the kitchen on Spaghetti Night.