MacDowell Colony History
In 1896, Edward MacDowell, a composer, and Marian MacDowell, a pianist, bought a farm in
Peterborough, New Hampshire, where they spent summers working in peaceful surroundings. It
was in Peterborough that Edward, arguably America’s first great composer, said he produced
more and better music. Not long after — falling prematurely and gravely ill — Edward conveyed
to his wife that he wished to give other artists the same creative experience under which he had
The MacDowell Colony is a leading
contemporary arts organization
located in Peterborough, NH.
Since 1907, our mission has been to create a space
where inspiration happens on a daily basis. We do that
by providing essential support for emerging and
established artists by bringing together diverse,
multidisciplinary talent to exchange ideas and pursue
The Colony is situated in 400 acres of lovely woods and rolling hillsides in New Hampshire, and now consists of 36 cottage
studios, some available the year ’round, where some 150 writers, painters, sculptors, composers, and other artists spend part of
each year, for a token fee, or at no charge whatever.
Among the residents in years past have been such luminaries as Aaron Copland (1945); DuBose Hayward, creator of “Porgy &
Bess”; Leonard Bernstein; poets Edward Arlington Robinson and Stephen Vincent Benet; writers Thornton Wilder and Willa Cather;
artists Kenneth R. Lithgow and Norman Dinerstein. Literally dozens of Pulitzer Prizes and Prix de Rome have been awarded to
Colony residents. Funds generated by MacDowell Societies across the nation are channelled to the Edward MacDowell Memorial
Association, Inc., for the support of the Colony.
Learn more about the MacDowell Colony here.
The mission of The MacDowell Colony is to nurture the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an
inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination.
The sole criterion for acceptance to The MacDowell Colony is artistic excellence. MacDowell defines excellence in a
pluralistic and inclusive way, encouraging applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives
We welcome artists engaging in the broadest spectrum of artistic practice who are investigating an unlimited array of
inquiries and concerns. We apply the same egalitarian standards for all those who serve MacDowell either in a staff,
volunteer, or representative capacity.