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Singers serenade Medal Day visitors after the ceremony honoring 2013 Medalist Stephen Sondheim.
Singers serenade Medal Day visitors after the ceremony honoring 2013 Medalist Stephen Sondheim.

Medal Day 2014

Betye SaarThe MacDowell Colony will award assemblage and installation artist Betye Saar with its 55th Edward MacDowell Medal on Sunday, August 10. The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s first artist residency program, has awarded the medal annually since 1960 to an individual artist who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.

Saar, who started as a printmaker, is perhaps best known for her intimate assemblages and collages, which not only challenge the myths and negative stereotypes ascribed to the African-American community but also demonstrate a connection with a myriad of mythic and spiritual concepts from Africa and the Caribbean. The artist, who eventually moved into working with found objects in larger-scale installations, joins an impressive list of past Medal recipients, including Robert Frost (1962), Georgia O’Keeffe (1972), Leonard Bernstein (1987), Jasper Johns (1994), I.M. Pei (1998), Ellsworth Kelly (1999), and Stephen Sondheim (2013).

“Betye Saar has been a key influence in the dialogues around race and gender in the art world since the 1960s,” said Museum of Arts and Design Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, chairman of the Edward MacDowell Medal Selection Committee who will introduce Saar at the ceremony. “Her exquisite collages have posed questions, challenged presumptions, and have never failed to demonstrate her unique aesthetic sensibility.”

MacDowell Colony Chairman and author Michael Chabon, who will present the medal, said, “Betye Saar uses shards of myth and narrative, and found bits of history – with all its pain and magnificence – to build scale models of a world that is intensely personal and yet instantly, inescapably recognizable as our own broken world. These scale models of brokenness help us to interpret and find meaning in that world, mapping it with fierceness, a sense of play, and the wild accuracy you find among the great cartographers and world-builders, also known as artists, whose explorations the MacDowell Colony has for so long striven to foster and sustain.”

Read about Medal Day 2013 here.

Since 1960, The MacDowell Colony has awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal to an artist of enduring vision and creativity. Find out about the medal’s proud history and its distinguished group of past winners.

Picnic Basket lunch purchases have closed. Click here to support Medal Day.

There is no charge to attend Medal Day.

Thanks to the generosity of our Medal Day Corporate Sponsors as well as our Individual Donors MacDowell is able to keep this annual event free and open to the public.

Medal Day Corporate Partner

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Lincoln Financial


Medal Day Lead Sponsor

Lincoln Financial


Medal Day Lead Contributor

Lincoln Financial

For more information about Medal Day, please contact Dean Klingler at or 212-535-9690.

Oder your Medal Day Lunch Baskets

Medal Day 2011
Sunday, August 14th


10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

As a counterpoint to the hundreds of visitors enjoying ready access to the Colony’s artist studios and buildings on Medal Day, this short film reveals a more tranquil side of life for artists-in-residence at MacDowell. Produced in 2007 by renowned filmmaker and MacDowell board member Susan Sollins-Brown, this intimate documentary featuring first-person narratives from a diverse group of MacDowell artists will screen continuously in Colony Hall. 7 minutes.

11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

This 1973 film version of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name will be screened in the Eaves. Directed by Tony Richardson, this explosive film about a well-to-do Connecticut family that is seized by a nameless terror features stellar performances by Katharine Hepburn, Lee Remick, and Joseph Cotten. 133 minutes, rated PG.


12:15 p.m.

The 2011 Edward MacDowell Medal is presented to playwright Edward Albee under the Medal Day tent.  The award ceremony will feature speeches by:

Michael Chabon, Chairman of the Board
Susan Davenport Austin, President
Cheryl Young, Executive Director
David Macy, Resident Director
Mike Nichols, Presentation Speaker
Edward Albee, Medalist


1:15 p.m.

Enjoy an old-fashioned picnic lunch on the grounds of the Colony and relax in the summer beauty of New Hampshire. Guests may bring their own lunch or purchase a Medal Day picnic basket. Picnic baskets are available for pre-order through August 7th for $20 by clicking here.

MAKE ART: MAKE A SCENE    2:00–3:00 p.m.

MacDowell has joined forces with Andy’s Summer Playhouse of Wilton, NH, for this special Medal Day community engagement program sponsored by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. During the month of July, MacDowell playwrights Stephen Karam and Alexandra Napier collaborated with Jennifer Emerson Foreman, Andy’s Summer Playhouse lab director, to produce the John C. Russell Playwriting Lab. Karam and Napier mentored a group of young writers as they developed 10-minute plays that will be presented on the Medal Day stage in honor of 2011 Medalist Edward Albee.  

OPEN STUDIO TOURS         2:00–5:00 p.m.

Tour the Colony's artist studios and interact with artists-in-residence, who provide an illuminating and compelling glimpse into the artistic process that takes place every day of the year at MacDowell.