Marking a "century of creativity," the Library's online exhibition on The MacDowell Colony traces the history of the artists' residency program and offers a glimpse of America during a time when many artists were finding a distinct national voice. To date, more than 6,000 writers, visual artists, composers, playwrights, filmmakers, architects and interdisciplinary artists have roamed its 450 wooded acres seeking inspiration and friendship, with both ultimately leading to profound and acclaimed works.
One such work was a play written by Dorothy and Dubose Heyward. In fact, the two met while on fellowship at the colony in 1922 and married a year later. While in residence together in 1924, Dubose finished his novel "Porgy" despite criticism from his fellow colonists. Convinced the novel had "drama" written all over it, Dorothy encouraged Dubose to adapt it to the stage, and the play debuted on Broadway in 1927. Thanks to a little help from George and Ira Gershwin, the American classic "Porgy and Bess" was born a few years later, and Dubose's lyrics to songs like "Summertime" have become some of the most enduring pieces of American musical theater.