Application Periods

Fall 2018

Deadline: April 15, 2018

Residencies: October 1, 2018 - January 31, 2019
Accepting Applications:
February 15 - April 15, 2018

Winter/Spring 2019

Deadline: Sept. 15, 2018

Residencies: Feb 1 – May 31, 2019
Accepting Applications:
July 15 – September 15, 2018

Summer 2019

Deadline: January 15, 2019

Residencies: June 1 – Sept 30, 2019
Accepting Applications:
Oct 15, 2018 – January 15, 2019

Artists from all points in their careers and all corners of the globe come to MacDowell
Artists from all points in their careers and all corners of the globe come to MacDowell

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not find an answer to your question below or require further assistance, please contact the Admissions office by e-mail or phone at 603-924-3886 ext. 113.

What is The MacDowell Colony?

The MacDowell Colony is the nation’s leading artist colony. The Colony nurtures the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination.

What is a MacDowell Fellowship?

Each year about 300 Fellowships, or residencies, are awarded to artists in seven disciplines: architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts. A Fellowship consists of exclusive use of a private studio, accommodations, and three prepared meals a day for two weeks to two months. MacDowell does not offer classes or instruction.

Who is eligible to apply?

MacDowell encourages applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics. Emerging and established artists may apply in the following disciplines: architecture, film/video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts. Applicants who are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs as of the date of application are ineligible for a residency and therefore cannot apply. Doctoral candidates who have finished all coursework may apply.

What is the cost of a residency? Is financial aid available?

There are no residency fees. Artists are responsible for the cost of travel to and from the Colony. We are pleased to offer stipends to artists in all artistic disciplines so that they may take advantage of a residency at the Colony. Funding is also available to help reimburse artists for costs associated with travel, including shipping of materials. Financial aid forms are available upon acceptance and aid is awarded based on need. Visit the Financial Assistance page for more details.

How do I apply for a Named Fellowship?

There is no special application process for Named Fellowships; all artists accepted for residencies are considered for these designations.

How long is an average residency? Is there a minimum length of stay?

While artists may request residencies of up to eight weeks; the average stay is 30 days. There is no minimum length of stay; however, we recommend no less than a two-week residency, if possible.

How often am I allowed to apply?

You may apply once in a 24-month period. If you are placed on the waiting list and not offered a residency or have to cancel your residency, you may reapply after a 12-month wait.

Do I need to reapply if I am a Colony Fellow?

Yes. All applicants, including Colony Fellows (those who have previously received a MacDowell Fellowship), must submit an application each time they apply.

Am I allowed to defer my residency?

Residencies may not be deferred. However, if an applicant is accepted but cannot accept the dates offered, they will be placed on the waiting list for the season, and may reapply after 12 months if they are not called from the waiting list.

Does MacDowell offer residencies for emergencies, such as an impending deadline?

Yes, MacDowell has a policy for “emergency time,” which enables Colony Fellows to request a short residency to assist with their situation. Before submitting your request, please review the following conditions for emergency time:

  • The applicant must be a Colony Fellow, meaning a prior artist-in-residence at MacDowell.
  • The applicant must not have been already denied a residency for the same period being requested.
  • The applicant must have a legitimate emergency situation. This is defined as circumstances beyond the applicant’s control that prevent critical work from being accomplished and preclude waiting until the next application period. Emergency time requests should not be used as an alternative to applying.
  • Priority will be given to those who have not previously benefited from the policy and to those who have been impacted by a natural disaster.
  • The applicant should have a current reference on file, or the applicant must provide a new reference.
  • No more than four weeks can be offered.
  • Openings in the schedule are first filled by individuals on the waiting list, then by those requesting emergency time.
  • The applicant must write a letter of request addressed to the Executive Director, Cheryl Young. The letter should contain the reason for the request, dates of availability, the desired length of stay, a project description, and space requirements. E-mail requests to

If you are awarded an emergency time residency, you will have to wait the standard two years to reapply through the regular application process for another residency.

Do you allow collaborators to apply to The MacDowell Colony?

Yes. Artists collaborating on a project must submit individual applications and appropriate work samples, along with a joint description of the work they intend to do at the Colony. Examples of a previous collaborative work (either completed or in-progress) may be submitted. Please specify your work space needs (i.e. whether or not separate studios are required). Admission status is determined by averaging the individual application scores of all collaborators.

May I apply with my spouse?

Couples working on collaborative projects may apply as collaborators (see the question above). Couples working on their own creative projects may apply individually and request parallel residencies. If both are accepted, each will be offered a studio. No other provisions are made for partners at the Colony.

May I bring my partner, child, or pet with me to the Colony?

To sustain the sense of community among those in residence, guests cannot be accommodated for meals or overnight stays. You may choose to arrange for day visitors at your studio or in Colony Hall. With the exception of licensed service animals (as defined by the ADA), pets are not permitted.

How do I apply? What does the application include?

The application for residency is submitted online through the SlideRoom application portal; we no longer accept mailed applications. Requirements include a description of your proposed project, a letter of reference, and information about your artistic work such as education, training, and artistic achievements, as well as examples of current work. There is a $30 non-refundable application processing fee which is paid online by debit or credit card.

When are the application deadlines?

MacDowell has three application deadlines per year: January 15th for the Summer period (June 1st – September 30th); April 15th for the Fall period (October 1st – January 31st); and September 15th for the Winter-Spring period (February 1st – May 31st).

If I miss the application deadline may I be placed on the waiting list?

No. Each season, a waiting list of applicants is selected by the admissions panels. If you miss an application deadline, you must wait until the next deadline to apply.

How do I know if MacDowell has received my submitted application?

You will receive a confirmation e-mail from SlideRoom once you hit the submit button on the payment page of the application. If you do not reach the payment page, you have not completed the application. If you are uncertain of which steps are incomplete, please call the admissions department for assistance. MacDowell will send a follow-up confirmation e-mail once your application has been processed. This may take several weeks following the deadline.

My work falls into more than one discipline. May I apply in more than one?

You may apply in only one discipline. We encourage you to apply in the discipline that most closely relates to the project you are proposing to work on at the Colony. If you have questions, you may call the Admissions department to discuss which discipline is the best fit your application.

What are you looking for in a Project Description?

Please write a brief description of the work you intend to do at the Colony including any special space or studio requirements you may have. If you are proposing to continue work on the project you submitted as your work sample, please indicate where you are in the process. Visual applicants should know that the panel looks primarily at the work sample, and attention should be devoted to the quality of the sample images. The project description should include the size and medium of the proposed work along with a list of materials you intend to bring, which will ensure that an appropriate studio is assigned to you. Interdisciplinary applicants are asked to include an explanation of the form and content of the proposed project. MacDowell encourages experimentation in all disciplines and the admissions panels recognize that your project may evolve or change completely while you are in residence.

I don’t have professional documentation or training. Should I bother to apply?

Yes. Talent is the sole criterion for acceptance to The MacDowell Colony. Professional training and achievement are not required. You may use the appropriate sections in the application form to highlight information relevant to the pursuit of your creative work.

I don’t know a well-known or established artist in my field to use as a referee. Whom should I ask?

Referees do not need to be well-known or established artists. We do ask that they be knowledgeable in the field in which you are working and that they be familiar with you and your creative work.

I’ve applied before. Do I still have a letter of reference on file?

Letters of reference that were submitted as part of a completed application are kept on file for five years. If you do not know when you last applied, email the Admissions office to inquire about the status of your reference letters.

When will I be notified of the result of my application?

Applicants will be notified of admission status approximately 2 months after the applicable deadline.

Do I need to mail in work samples?

MacDowell no longer accepts mailed application materials. Applicants must submit digital work samples through the MacDowell application on the SlideRoom portal.

What are the work sample requirements for applying to the Colony?

Detailed work sample requirements are listed for each discipline on the SlideRoom application. Please refer to SlideRoom’s media requirements for acceptable digital formats.

How many artists apply to MacDowell each year and how many are accepted?

Approximately 2,000 artists apply each year to MacDowell. On average, one in every 10 applicants is offered a residency. This varies based on your discipline and the application period for which you have applied.

Who reviews my application?

While the admissions department will review your application for completeness, it is an anonymous panel of experts in the field in which you are applying who reviews your application for a MacDowell Fellowship.

How often do the admissions panels change?

Panel members rotate on a three-year cycle with staggered terms for each member.

I’ve applied before and was not offered a residency. How can I make my application stronger?

We are not able to provide individual feedback to applicants. Our advice to all applicants is to ensure that your application is complete, that your project description is clear, and that your work samples are current. Following our application guidelines will ensure that the panelists have all the information that is needed to judge your application.