In the early 1900s, Marian Nevins MacDowell (Zeta, New England Conservatory) and her husband dedicated their New Hampshire farm to creating a community “where artists could work in an ideal place in the stimulating company of peers.” That community is now known as MacDowell, located in the town of Peterborough.
MacDowell was Alpha Chi Omega’s first philanthropic project, and sisters funded the building of Star Studio in 1911. It was the first studio given to MacDowell by an outside organization. Beginning as a nicely proportioned one-room studio, the building has slowly evolved through a series of renovations. In 1972, a porch on the west side of the studio was remodeled and enclosed. Additional work was completed in the 1990s to brighten the studio.
Surrounded by a pine forest, Star Studio provides a quiet setting for writers and other artists to work inside. Notable fellows who have worked in Star Studio include Fred Clarke, E.L. Doctorow, Catherine Ingraham, Gish Jen, Susanna Kaysen, Young Jean Lee and Basil Twist.
Today, the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation supports fellowships in honor of Fay Barnaby Kent (Delta, Allegheny College), a former national officer who first suggested MacDowell as a philanthropic pursuit. The Foundation also honors MacDowell through an endowed grant to support Star Studio’s maintenance. And each February, Alpha Chi Omegas celebrate our connection to the arts during MacDowell Month.