In 1918 construction began on a cottage at a secluded New Hampshire artists' retreat where thousands of composers, writers and visual artists have come over the years to do their creative work in comfort and solitude. The idea for such a structure was proposed by Mary Christie of Delta Chapter. The SAI Convention body of 1916 (representing the 11 chapters then in existence) seized the challenge and agreed to raise the necessary funds. With the support of Marian MacDowell, widow of the famed American composer whose life and career inspired the founding of the Colony, the necessary resources were in hand in an astonishing two years. When the cottage was completed, it was given outright to the MacDowell Colony by SAI.
That "cottage" is actually a handsome 3-story white house which can accommodate 12 artists, the largest residence facility at the Colony. It proudly bears the name "Pan's Cottage."
2017 Pan's Cottage Update Campaign
(reprinted from the Spring 2017 Pan Pipes)
Visiting the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, is like having a fairytale come true. This is one of the absolute peak experiences of my SAI career,” said Sarah Mason, past National Vice President, Membership, who visited the site and Pan’s Cottage during a board meeting held in 2007.
Pan’s Cottage still welcomes composers and other MacDowell Colony Fellows, just as it did in 1919 when it was completed with funds provided by SAI members. The “cottage” is actually a handsome 3-story white house which can accommodate 12 artists, the largest residence facility at the Colony. SAI is largely responsible for funding and maintaining Pan’s Cottage. The building houses artists from all artistic disciplines at the secluded New Hampshire artists’ retreat, where thousands of composers, writers, and visual artists have come over the years to do their creative work in comfort and solitude. Many SAI members have been MacDowell Colony Fellows, including Louise Talma, Violet Archer, Jean Eichelberger-Ivey, Dika Newlin, and Alice Parker.
Following are a few recent testimonials from musicians who have benefited from the creative opportunity the Colony provides. Their experiences, and those of so many more, are the reason that SAI has established the Pan’s Cottage Campaign Fund — to ensure that Pan’s Cottage is available to artists at the Colony for many, many more years to come.
Partnering with the McDowell colony to conduct a major renovation of Pan’s Cottage, we are building a “virtual rose garden” by placing a red rose on the cottage drawing above for every $1,000 raised. We are well on our way to meeting the $100,000 goal by June 30, 2018, but still need your help.
Tania León is an SAI National Arts Associate, as well as a member of the SAI Composers Bureau. She also served as an IAMA Composer/Judge for the 2015 Competition. She had this to say in 2016 about her Resident Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony:
“I am grateful for the opportunity to share thoughts, philosophy, perspectives, meals and presentations with exceptional artists from the nation and abroad. Also, the appreciation of time in support of my artistic endeavors, have generated a palpable effect in my mental space. My gratefulness for that gift is monumental.”
Dr. Ingrid Arauco is an SAI Patroness Member, initiated by the Iota Tau Chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1992.
“The delight of MacDowell is that everything conspires to fuel one’s creativity—the beauty of the landscape, the comfort of the studios, the lovingly prepared and delicious meals, and of course, the inspiring example of excellence provided by all the artists in residence. There is a special fellowship here among the artists, founded on mutual trust and respect. I feel that at MacDowell new pathways were opened for me artistically, which I intend to continue pursuing in the quest of deepening my work as a composer.”
Richard Danielpour, a member of the SAI Composers Bureau, shared his experience in 2015 about his fifth Fellowship at the Colony:
“This was my first time back to the MacDowell Colony in 12 years, and it offered me a unique perspective on how it has grown and developed in the last decade. I believe that nearly everything about the Colony (the food, library, communication apparatus, and staff) has been improved upon within that time. The essence of the Colony has, however remained unchanged -which is what is most heartening. The overall willingness of the staff to go that extra mile in helping the artists to be productive and comfortable during their stay cannot be overstated enough. The Colony of course does not make the art - the artists do that, but the way the Colony is set up thankfully puts the artists in the best possible position to do their work effectively.”
2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist composer Kate Soper on her 2013 residency:
“One of the best artistic experiences of my life; ideal working conditions. In addition to the work I completed I’m left with a model of relaxed but intense focus, openness of thought, and a connection to process that I will try to recapture and incorporate into regular life in whatever way I can. I will also carry with me the lessons I learned from hearing other artists discuss their work intimately and openly outside of a typical artist talk format, both in presentations and in casual settings.”
What can you do to support the Pan’s Cottage Campaign efforts?
• Hold chapter fundraisers – photos of chapters that donate will appear on the national website;
• Match pledges made by Regional or Province Officers;
• Donate an individual minimum gift of $25, matching Delta Chapter’s 1916 request to the National Convention;
• Speak about the MacDowell Colony and Pan’s Cottage at Province Days;
• Read quarterly Pan Pipes for Pan’s Cottage Campaign articles.
Thank you for helping Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies make the Pan’s Cottage Campaign a success!
Winter 2017 Pan Pipes article (click for PDF)
Summer 2017 Pan Pipes article (click for PDF)
The Present – Hillcrest Music Room Restoration
In the second century of our existence we have embarked upon another major project with MacDowell,: says Arlene Veron, Past Chairman, SAI Philanthropies, Inc. SAI Philanthropies, Inc. has provided a gift of $75,000 to MacDowell Colony.
“Visiting the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, is like having a fairytale come true. This is one of the absolute peak experiences of my SAI career.”
These words, spoken by Sarah Mason, National Vice President, Membership, during a recent board meeting held in New Hampshire, summarized the feelings of all of us who had the privilege of walking the grounds of the MacDowell Colony in July.
The MacDowell Colony Resident Director David Macy arranged a private reception and tour of Hillcrest, the home of Edward and Marian MacDowell, for current and former members of the National Executive Board and the board of SAI Philanthropies, Inc. As was announced at the 2006 Convention, SAI presented a $75,000 gift to the MacDowell Colony to restore and preserve Edward MacDowell’s music room at Hillcrest. A special plaque acknowledging this gift was unveiled during the visit.
It reads, “The preservation of Edward MacDowell’s Music Room at Hillcrest was made possible by a generous gift from Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc. 2007.”
You are invited to walk with us through this special place that has continued to support the dreams of so many artists, thanks in part to the generous gifts of Sigma Alpha Iota members. Pan’s Cottage still welcomes composers and other MacDowell Colony Fellows, just as it did in 1919, when completed with funds provided by SAI members.
“Over the years, our Sigma Alpha Iota membership has had a strong kinship with The MacDowell Colony,” SAI is largely responsible for funding and maintaining the Colony’s Pan’s Cottage, a building that houses artists from all artistic disciplines. Many SAI members have been Colony Fellows, including Louise Talma, Violet Archer, Jean Eichelberger-Ivey, Dika Newlin and Alice Parker. Veron says that “the vital history of music at The MacDowell Colony, the important practical and symbolic function of the Music Room and Hillcrest today, and the fact that Mrs. MacDowell used it as her home for creating a place that would have such a lasting role in American art” are just a few reasons why SAI chose to support the Hillcrest Music Room preservation project. “Edward composed in this very room, “ she elaborates, and Marian entertained artists and friends there. The Music Room also has a Mason Hamlin piano that Colony Fellow and composer Louise Talma – an Honorary Member of SAI- left to the Colony in 1996. (Excerpts taken from The MacDowell Colony Newsletter, Vol.35, No.1, Summer 2006)
Pictures of the SAI National Executive Board and the Board of SAI Philanthropies, Inc. touring MacDowell and the restored Hillcrest Room can be seen in the Fall 2007 Pan Pipes.
Opportunities for Chapter or Individual Involvement
All chapters should avail themselves of the opportunity to use the two video presentations on the MacDowell Colony, which can be borrowed through the SAI Multimedia Technology, to better acquaint their members with the story of the Colony and SAI's role there.
For information about the MacDowell Colony and Pan's Cottage, view macdowellcolony.org.