Dona Ann McAdams

Dona Ann McAdams studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute and has an M.F.A. in Visual Arts from Rutgers University and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Empire State College.

McAdams has exhibited at many places, nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; The International Center for Photography; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; Robert Miller Gallery; and La Primavera Fotographica, in Barcelona, Spain. Her photos are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Print Club; the Pompidou Center and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; among others.

Since 1983, she has been committed to bringing cameras and photography into marginalized and underserved communities. She has built community darkrooms and taught photography across the country, in places as diverse as New York City homeless shelters, Appalachian farming communities, thoroughbred race tracks, and day programs for people living with schizophrenia.

She has been recognized for her talents as a photographer by grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Polaroid Foundation, and the New York State Council of the Arts. In 2002 she was the recipient of the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize given by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. She received a “Bessie” in 1993 for Sustained Achievement in Performance Documentation, and an “Obie” in 1997 for Distinguished Contribution to Off-Broadway.

She has taught and lectured at Rutgers University; New York University; The American Center in Barcelona, Spain; and Hostos Community College, NYC; among others.

Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Times, The Chicago Tribune, Time, Newsweek, Stern, Doubletake, and Aperture.

She is the author of a book of performance photography, Caught in the Act (Aperture, 1996) and The Woodcutter’s Christmas (Council Oak Book, Fall 2001). She is now completing another monograph, The Garden of Eden, about people living with schizophrenia.

In 2010, she worked closely with Maurice Sendak in establishing the Sendak Fellowship, a residency fellowship for people who tell stories with illustration. She currently remains the Sendak Fellowship's founding director.