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Granite State Stories: MacDowell artist colony founded

  • Noted American composer Edward MacDowell (1861–1908) and his wife Marian Griswold Nevins MacDowell (c. 1857–1956), c. 1906, around the time that they conceived the idea of the MacDowell Colony, which was incorporated the next year. N.H. Historical Society


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

American composer Edward MacDowell believed that he did his best work on his peaceful, secluded farm in Peterborough. He wanted to provide other artists with the same opportunity for solitude, time, and space to create.

In 1907 MacDowell and his wife, pianist Marian MacDowell, donated their farm to found the MacDowell Colony. The MacDowell model for supporting the arts was widely imitated across the country and internationally. Since its founding the MacDowell Colony has supported nearly 8,000 authors, artists and composers, including Willa Cather, Leonard Bernstein, James Baldwin and Michael Chabon.

Thornton Wilder, inspired by Peterborough, wrote Our Town, while staying at the MacDowell Colony.

Today there are 32 studios offering residencies of up to eight weeks at a time.

N.H. Historical Society