Browne to receive MacDowell arts advocacy award

  • Mahogany L. Browne. COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 11/24/2021 1:05:42 PM
Modified: 11/24/2021 1:05:27 PM

Writer, organizer, and educator Mahogany L. Browne will receive the second annual Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award on behalf of Urban Word – one of the oldest and most comprehensive youth literary arts organizations in the country – during MacDowell’s National Benefit to be held virtually Dec. 7. The award was created to honor those who profoundly and uniquely support artists, aligning with our founder Marian MacDowell’s legacy and her championship of artists as they create bold new works that spark our imagination, illuminate our world, and celebrate our humanity.

“It is my absolute honor to receive this award on behalf of Urban Word,” said Browne. “As a member of its community since 2003, I have learned from the young people as much as I have mentored. It is within the learning space of Urban Word that I am reminded of the power of literacy, voice, and civic engagement. And because of the pedagogical approach designed by Urban Word facilitators and alums, the new world can grow the culture of Hip Hop, archive and affect policy making, create spaces for compassion and self-care practices, and utilize literary text and performance to activate the people in search of liberation. 

“Poetry and the literary arts have the power to ignite all flames, and I am excited for the next stage of Urban Word as our young people transition into professors, public speakers, authors, humanitarians, and leaders.” MacDowell Fellow and author Cathy Park Hong, whose book Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, will host, and author, visual artist, and MacDowell Board of Directors Chair Nell Painter will present the 2021 Award to Browne, who is also Urban Word’s artistic director.

This year’s theme is “Met at MacDowell: Creative Collaboration,” and during the evening we will hear directly from artists who collaborated or connected through the residency, and how the exchange of ideas between artists is just one of the benefits of the time and space provided by MacDowell.

The evening, which is open to the public and free of charge, can be accessed with a link that will be available via RSVP here. The benefit, which begins at 7 p.m. ET, will include a special reading from the recently announced 2022 New York City Youth Poet Laureate Elizabeth Shvarts, and performances and testimonials from MacDowell Fellows, including architect Peter Zuspan (2014), interdisciplinary artist and choreographer Raphael Xavier (2014), poet John Murillo (2017), animation artist Anne Beal (2017), composer Christopher Zuar (2017), and Tony Award winner Nikki M. James singing a composition written by Shaina Taub (2012).

This year’s award is being underwritten by Musa and Tom Mayer.

An online auction will take place throughout the evening to raise critical operating funds for the 114-year-old organization. Items donated by MacDowell Fellows and supporters will represent the creativity that MacDowell engenders and range in prices to allow everyone to participate in the celebrations. Please visit our benefit webpage to RSVP for free or purchase items for viewing parties. The online auction opens on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and will stay open until Dec. 8. Learn more or RSVP on our 2021 Virtual National Benefit page.

Photo Caption: Writer, organizer, and educator Mahogany L. Browne photographed by Jasmine Clarke in MacDowell Fellow Mimi Lien’s (2012) installation, The Green, in Lincoln Center’s plaza, summer of 2021.

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