MacDowell to host second salon series conversation

  • MacDowell Chair Nell Painter, author Chang-rae Lee, author P. Carl, and author and former MacDowell Chair Michael Chabon will discuss the relationship between the artist’s vision, the creation of character and story, and the ways their own individual and social identities interact with their art practice on May 6. Courtesy photo

Published: 4/29/2021 4:55:35 PM

Historian, author, visual artist and MacDowell Board Chair Nell Painter will lead the second in a series of free virtual discussions about the arts and creativity on Thursday, May 6, at 7 p.m. with memoirist and theatre artist P. Carl and novelists Michael Chabon and Chang-rae Lee.

These four esteemed creators will discuss the relationship between the artist’s vision, the construction of character and story, and the ways their own individual and social identities – however they interpret them – interact with their creative practices. In this conversation, Painter will lead these three artists – two novelists and a creator of theatre – in an interrogation of the relationship between their personal lives and the art they generate.

Painter, who recently completed her first year as Madam Chairman of the Board, will ask, “Are male artists as conscious of their social identities as women artists are as they make their art? And how do male artists think about their identities? Do male artists even think about their identities?”

The free event, tackling everything from the performance of masculinity and men’s observations about their hair, to the intersections of gender with race and privilege, is part of a multidisciplinary series presented jointly by the 92nd Street Y, New York’s world-class cultural and community center, and MacDowell, the nation’s oldest contemporary arts residency program. The first of these salons brought together actor and writer Andrea Martin, theatre director Indhu Rubasingham, and author Jacqueline Woodson in a discussion that probed the relationship between their identities and their art, as well as the barriers artists face when telling the stories that are traditionally left untold.

Both it and the upcoming event provide an intimate front-row seat to the type of unscripted, interdisciplinary discussions that happened every day between MacDowell Fellows before the pandemic, and will occur again when it is over. MacDowell Fellows often tell us that these conversations are a cherished and essential component of the MacDowell experience.

Painter, who is looking to expand the dialog about the value and importance of art to our culture, especially in a fast-changing world, will host three salons that will take place over the course of 2021. This series of conversations about culture, creativity, and the arts serves to capture the magic of artists-in-residence from every discipline coming together at MacDowell. It features artists and luminaries from across the globe in dialogue, including Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College; Lonnie Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian; and Marc Payot, president of Hauser & Wirth as well as others soon to be announced.

For more information and to register, visit


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