NEW YORK — The founder of a major grant program for women artists will be honored with the MacDowell Artists’ Retreat this fall. Visual artist Susan Unterberg was named this year’s winner of the Marian MacDowell Arts Advocacy Award, cited for her leadership in Anonymous Was a Woman.

“As an artist, I am very aware of the challenges faced by mid-career artists, especially women, and I celebrate the support provided by places like MacDowell, who give artists time, space and recognition,” Unterberg said of MacDowell in a statement Sunday.

“Direct support is what has the greatest impact on artists and our work; I am grateful to be recognized for my contribution to this support, which is best exemplified by the 265 artists who have received AWAW awards at this day,” she said.

Unterberg started AWAW in 1996 and hid her identity for over 20 years, to underscore the anonymity of so many women in the arts. The phrase is based on an observation by Virginia Woolf, who once noted that many anonymous poems turned out to be written by women. AWAW has distributed nearly $7 million in grants, awarding $25,000 each to visual artist Carrie Mae Weems and Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, among others.

Unterberg will be officially honored Oct. 17 at a MacDowell benefit in Manhattan, where Rosanne Cash is scheduled to perform.

The venerable artists’ retreat in Peterborough, New Hampshire, was founded in 1907 by composer Edward MacDowell and his wife, musician and philanthropist Marian MacDowell.