Starting with MacDowell’s home, his Log Cabin, and two hundred acres of land, the Colony now has five hundred acres of land, including three hundred and fifty acres of forest and a farm in good cultivation, well equipped farm buildings, fifteen studios, and five dwelling houses. There is also Colony Hall, a very large barn which through the generosity of Mrs. Benjamin Prince is being converted into a beautiful building. Colony Hall is the social centre of the Colony. The John W. Alexander Memorial Building, to be used for summer exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, is now under construction and will soon be completed. The Colony has also amassed equipment of another sort including the splendid Cora Dow library of some three thousand volumes and a most valuable collection of scores and costumes. Furthermore a superb open air theatre for outdoor festivals of music and drama has lately been completed. The beautiful stadium seats of this theatre are a gift from the National Federation of Musical Clubs.
Such growth in the physical plant of any enterprise is evidence enough of an actual, tangible success. The number of artists who have availed themselves of the advantages offered by the Colony are proof of another kind of success.
A SOCIAL ASSET
It should be clearly understood that the MacDowell Colony is in no sense a philanthropic enterprise. Although it does strive as far as possible to lower the barriers which lack of means so often places in the path of talent, yet it is not intended primarily for the impecunious. The qualification for admission to the Colony is talent. A prospective colonist must either have some fine achievement to his credit, or be possessed of a talent for which two recognized artists in his own field are willing to vouch.
The directors of the Association consider that it is a sound economic policy to offer the advantages of the Colony at a nominal price. They look upon the amount paid by the residents for board and lodging as the directors of a university look upon the tuition fees paid by the students. These fees are as much as the students can be expected to pay, yet they do not go far toward defraying the entire expenses of the university. The real return to be made by the student is that later contribution to society which in all likelihood will be more important on account of his years of study in the university. Similarly the directors of the Association are carrying on their undertaking for the enrichment of American Art and Letters. Like the university, the Colony must have either public or private support.
In a civilization like ours where the social significance of creative art is not yet popularly recognized, support for an enterprise like the MacDowell Colony cannot be expected from the government. Such support must come from individuals.