The MacDowell Colony 

Quotes from Colonists
Edward MacDowell and Marian

  "I know of no place that so perfectly fulfills its purpose as does MacDowell."
---Barbara Tuchman, writer 

"I will be very glad ... to be working at the Colony --- which for many years now has lived in my mind as a refuge and a workshop and the place in which I most wanted to be when the time comes, as it perpetually does, to crouch in order to spring."
--- James Baldwin, writer 

"Perhaps this composer loves the place because of the life-long personal associations that started there. Isolation and contentment produce tranquil friendships as well as passionate arts."
---David DelTredici, composer 

"[The MacDowell Colony is] an enterprise that has been from its inception in accord with everything that is rational, natural and desirable. For the world must have its art, or the world would be no fir place for man to live in; and the artist must have his opportunity, or his art will die and the artist will die with it."
--- Edwin Arlington Robinson, writer 

"Money cannot buy elsewhere what is offered by the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough to the serious worker, and the reason for this is that what is offered in Peterborough does not exist elsewhere."
---Edwin Arlington Robinson, writer 

In certain company, we hold our wings
and hide them beneath our coats.
Or, if no longer angles --- damaged,
a little lost---we hide our stumps 
and our scars.

 Here, though, we take
our coats off as we walk in. Have you 
flown yet today? People ask. 
Have you made use of your scars?
---Stephen Dunn, writer 

"A studio was built, then another, and another. Individual friends of the Association, as well as musical clubs here and there over the country, began to donate them. Each was given its own corner of fragrant seclusion in the great pine woods; no two were in sight of each other, or better yet, within hearing. A man could compose his soul or a symphony without danger of being disturbed or of disturbing."
---Hermann Hagedorn [The Outlook, 1921], writer 

"Whatever influences the art of a country, influences in the most intimate sense its civilization, and certainly few people are aware that MacDowell's plan, now proved practical beyond question, is one of national importance." 
---Mary Mears, first Colonist, 1909 

"Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms. The MacDowell Colony provided the perfect habitat fro all this to happen naturally."
---Milton Avery, painter 

"Their kindness found me out; and, how I needed it, needed to hear myself think and to get our of all this tumult with which I was both deeply engaged and not unhappy, but in which there was no chance, really to explore oneself.
---Thorton Wilder 

"A place in America where the artist can really work is the simple idea behind the MacDowell Colony. That idea carried through magnificently has resulted in a unique contribution to the cultural life of America."
---Aaron Copeland, composer 

"Life seems so transitory! It is very attractive to set down some sort of permanent statement about the way we feel, so that when it's all gone, people will be able to go to our art works to see what it was like to be alive in our time and place ---twentieth-century America"
---Aaron Copeland, composer 

"...the stove slowed, the sun poked its way through the hills beyond, the marvelous lunch lay in the basket outside the door, and my typewriter banged away. I felt like a short Thomas Wolfe --- so wildly did the words flow. It was the magic of MacDowell---and the sweetness of Peterborough, that transformed Thorton Wilder's Our Town into my town."
---Studs Turkel, writer 

"Poets --- all artists---have inspired moments of seeing. They also need practical conditions favorable to the hard labor of making -- of making the work of art so beautiful that the vision it holds will last forever."
---Galway Kinnell, writer 

"On various occasions in that Spartan paradise my sanity has been restored. When I am there my very best work is composed, and when I am far away the fact of the place allows me to breathe more easily."
---Ned Rorem, composer 

"Among all the artists-colonies, MacDowell is pre-eminent in the quality of its colonists."
---Virgil Thomson, composer 

"There, privilege takes on a fresh significance: it means the privilege to concentrate on nothing but one's work. For many artists, this is almost unimaginable; at the MacDowell Colony, it's natural. And yet, it continues to be amazing that such a working retreat exists."
---Nora Sayre, writer 

"The freedom to work uninterrupted was so valuable in the development of my work, the wonderful fellow artists I met, the warmth, tranquillity and spirit of the environment which seemed to bring out the best in everyone, and the high degree to which the making of art is valued-- all contributed to the most enriching and rewarding experience I will always cherish."
---Jose Martin, sculptor 

"I came here in a scattered state, unsure of what I was coming to, and leave in peace and gratitude...immediately I was in my work. I had forgotten what it was like to be productive. What a wonderful place to work and grow, where the natural setting serves human ends."
---Hugh Ogden, poet 

"It was as if the sharpness and power of the sunlight of New Hampshire destroyed all my bad thoughts and filled me up with new positive energy. And this was not only caused by the natural phenomenon..." ---Priotr Nathan, visual artist

"If the spirit which informs MacDowell were to be spread through our society, we all would have much less to worry about."
---Barry Wallenstein, poet 

"Every day I think about that beautiful place and the quiet and the possibility to think... I'm glad it exists, even just to remember."
---Lynne Tillman, writer 

"I had never been to a retreat before and didn't know what to expect. My greatest fear was that it would be Artiness-in-the-Woods. I braced myself, dived in and found the exact opposite...There existed an overriding sobriety and sensitivity to the work that created an atmosphere that just can't be bought."
---Monica Raymond, writer 

"A quiet bedroom, a bathtub, my own studio with two huge tables to work on, the moon lighting up the snow, being able to walk through the woods at night unafraid, no phone, long uninterrupted hours to write, privacy, a fireplace, good conversation and a pool table. What else could one need?"
---Deborah Artman, writer 

"As outrageous as it may sound, my objective was to do five months' writing in five weeks. I did more. The Colony provided what I most wanted--- quietude, privacy, stimulation, congeniality."
---Hugh Ford, writer 

"I felt cheated of the afterglow of MacDowell---cheated of the silence I had brought home with me the way you come into the house on a cold day with the smell of snow in the folds of your coat. Cheated of the perfect concentration, not to mention the delusion that the world is a benevolent place that exists to protect your vision and nurture your words."
---Rosalyn Brown, writer 
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