On Monday, May 1, more than 300 MacDowell Colony Fellows and supporters gathered under the glittering glass ceiling of Capitale in downtown Manhattan for the 2017 National Benefit. The Benefit is MacDowell’s largest annual fundraiser – and this year it raised a whopping $600,000 for the artist residency program. Board Chairman Michael Chabon hosted an evening that included powerful excerpts from the new opera Little Rock Nine, with music by Tania Leon (‘16) and a libretto by Fellow Thulani Davis (’89, ’90, ’92 ’93) with research by Henry Louis Gates Jr. There was also a video greeting from Honorary Chair Todd Haynes with some flattering remarks about Brian Selznick (’09), who penned the source material for Todd’s latest film, Wonderstruck, and introduced an exclusive clip of the film ahead of its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Additionally, guests were lucky enough to watch a scene from Indecent, introduced by its playwright, Paula Vogel (’82-’83, ’89, ’94, ’97, ’11) and director, Rebecca Taichman (’11), the night before its multiple Tony award nominations! The evening was capped off with a Dutch-style pledge drive, where Board Member David Baum rallied guests to raise $60,000 and then ate fire to reward them for their generosity!