MacDowell - Episode 1 - Living at the Colony

Viewing Guide and Teacher's Resources


Download a Printable Version

Grades 7-12

Curriculum Applications

Social Studies
Arts Appreciation
Language Arts

Overview

In the woods of southwestern New Hampshire, there is a magical place where artists go and create. The MacDowell Colony, located in Peterborough, was founded by Marian MacDowell, the widow of composer Edward MacDowell, on the farm they purchased in 1896. The Colony consists of 32 one-room studio cottages where poets, playwrights, composers, painters, authors, sculptors and others artists come to stay in this 450-acre haven of quiet beauty to create their works away from the hubbub of everyday life. Through its natural surroundings, studios, living conditions, and simple rules, the Colony is a nurturing environment which inspires and enables artists to create great works of art.

Focus

Students viewing Living at the Colony will develop a sense of place by understanding how havens like the MacDowell Colony can enhance the creative process.

Previewing Activities

  1. Ask students to outline the environment in which they work best when trying to develop something creative. What is it about those environments that motivate and inspire them?
  2. Have students research examples of work by a MacDowell artist. (Examples: Willa Cather, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Thornton Wilder, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland.

Focus for Viewing

Direct the students to listen to the artists-in-residence describe how their stay at the Colony influenced their lives and their work.

Post-Viewing Activities

  1. Have students read the beginning of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and then compare Grover's Corner to their own community. Encourage students to describe their community for an outsider or during a particular historic time period.
  2. Have students compare various descriptions of Northern New England from MacDowell colonists. For example, compare Thornton Wilder's Our Town with Carolyn Chute's The Beans of Egypt, Maine and student's personal experiences.
  3. Have students debate the merit of artist colonies and how they should they be supported.


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