Artists-in-residence will be assisted with early departures; no new Fellows to arrive until danger of virus transmission is contained.
The MacDowell Colony, America’s oldest artist residency program, today announced it would close temporarily due to the Coronavirus outbreak. “This preemptive and transitory action is meant to protect artists and play a responsible role in preventing and slowing transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” said MacDowell Executive Director Philip Himberg. “With support from public health experts, MacDowell came to this difficult decision as ultimately being necessary to keep artists, staff, and their families safe.”
The MacDowell Colony operates year-round, serving as many as 32 artists at one time who travel to Peterborough from across the U.S. and all corners of the globe. By day, all Fellows have exclusive access to their own private studio and each evening they come together for dinner in Colony Hall.
“While Resident Director David Macy was working with staff to refine plans to support self-isolation in case an artist or staff member was suspected of coronavirus exposure, it became apparent that proactive closure was necessary to avoid unacceptable levels of risk,” Himberg added. “The last time our residency program closed was in the wake of the New England Hurricane of 1938. While we pride ourselves in staying open for our artists, we decided this was just the right thing to do for the ongoing health of our entire community.”
MacDowell is offering various kinds of support for the departure of Fellows within the next two weeks. Artists who’d planned to be in residence in April and May have been notified of this public health necessity. The administration will continue to evaluate the evolution of the outbreak and announce a re-opening of the residency when it is deemed safe and appropriate. Travel grants are available to help offset hardships created by the abrupt postponement of Fellowships and artists who’d looked forward to coming in April or May will be placed on a waiting list for possible rescheduling. Further details will be released after the total number displaced is understood.