Imagine being an composer, a sculptor, a painter, a writer, any kind of artist accomplished and important enough to be chosen to stay in a setting that offers the freedom and the space and the uninterrupted time to create for thirty days.
One of those magical kind of places is the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
One day a year it is open to the public. A medal, the Edward McDowell Medal, is awarded to an outstanding artist. The grounds are open for public exploration and many of the studios are open so that various artists can show their creative processes and answer questions about their work.
August 14 was the day of the Medal Ceremony this year and Toni Morrison was the recipient and honored speaker.
I was so thrilled to be able to attend with my friend Diane. It was kind of like what I would imagine a day in heaven to be.
Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors and Beloved and The Bluest Eye are in my top five all time favorite novels. Other writers that have been honored with the McDowell Medal include Edward Albee, Alice Munro, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, William Styron, Mary McCarthy, and Thornton Wilder (among others). Poets Marianne Moore and Robert Frost , painters Edward Hopper and Georgia O’Keefe, film makers, photographers, architects, composers, 57 honorees in all — such a sense of artistic history in the air. I was star struck.
Image having one of these cabins to yourself for a whole month. Lunches are delivered to each door in picnic basket and communal dinners are available in the evenings. No one can visit anyone else’s cabin without specific invitation to do so.
The highlight for me was hearing the speakers. The picture is not so clear (taken under the tent), but the messages given certainly were.
Toni Morrison. Opera and theater director Peter Sellars is behind her.