July 1, 2021 – Peterborough, NH – MacDowell awarded the 61st Edward MacDowell Medal to composer, writer, and recording star Rosanne Cash in the historic hall where it awarded the very first MacDowell Medal. The event took place before 150 friends and guests, and was recorded by New Hampshire PBS.
Like all good art, hers is complicated,” said author and critic Kurt Andersen, who introduced Cash to the small group gathered indoors because of unstable weather. “She is still constantly distilling her time alive into wisdom…. American culture is lucky to have her.”
The Medal ceremony brought to a close two days of studio visits with artists-in-residence, a one-on-one interview with New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, a dinner with artists-in-residence, and a live performance of two Cash songs to close things out. Emmylou Harris and John Leventhal performed Cash’s song “I Was Watching You” from the album Black Cadillac, then Cash and Leventhal played “The Undiscovered Country” from her latest album She Remembers Everything.
During her acceptance speech, Cash said “artists are in a service industry — the premier service industry for the soul.” She went on to say that that service means that artists “are bound by an imperative to create, connect, reveal, and to practice artful subversion.” She also noted that as the first woman to be honored with the MacDowell Medal in music composition, it was doubly thrilling to have the genres she works in honored, what she called “an essentially American songbook of folk, blues, Appalachian, country, and their feeder streams.”
The Medal, which has rotated annually among all disciplines practiced at MacDowell, has always been awarded to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture.
For more information, visit Rosanne Cash’s artist page.