Charles Gaines Recipient of the 60th Edward MacDowell Medal

August 11, 2019

On Sunday, August 11th, 1,400 enthusiastic friends, fans, and artists gathered on the verdant grounds of The MacDowell Colony to celebrate conceptual artist Charles Gaines! The weather was stunning as Board Chairman, Fellow, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Chabon delivered his inspiring remarks about the power and effect of art before Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, Thelma Golden, took the stage to speak about Mr. Gaines's work and his indelible influence on the art world. The ceremony concluded with Gaines's heartfelt acceptance of the 60th Edward MacDowell Medal.

Charles Gaines joins an array of artists across disciplines that include Leonard Bernstein, John Updike, David Lynch, Georgia O'Keeffe, I.M. Pei, Merce Cunningham, Louise Nevelson, Joan Didion, Isamu Noguchi, Sonny Rollins, and Toni Morrison. For a full list of past Medal recipients, click the “History of Medal Day” button below!

Video and images of this year’s celebration will be placed on this page as they become available. Currently, please view Charles Gaines's acceptance of the Medal. Next year’s Medalist, in the discipline of music composition, as well as the date of next year’s Medal Day will be announced Spring 2020!

To learn more about this event or to become a sponsor, please contact Dean Klingler at or 212.535.9690.

Michael Chabon on the Power of Art in Troubling Times
Michael Chabon on the Power of Art in Troubling Times
Thelma Golden Introduces 60th Edward MacDowell Medalist Charles Gaines
Charles Gaines Accepts the 60th Edward MacDowell Medal
60th Edward MacDowell Medal Awarded to Charles Gaines (full ceremony)

History of Medal Day

The Edward MacDowell Medal in the Arts is a national award presented each summer to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the national culture. The award rotates among the disciplines practiced at MacDowell. Following the ceremony, visitors enjoy a picnic lunch and tour open studios. Both the award ceremony and the open studios are free, and open to the public.

Discover the history of Medal Day

Edward MacDowell Medalist

Charles Gaines

A pivotal figure in the field of conceptual art, Charles Gaines’ body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early…

Learn more about Charles Gaines

Artists of Medal Day

Past Medal Days