The Core Program awards one- and two-year residencies to highly motivated, exceptional visual artists and art scholars who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training but have not yet fully developed a professional career. Established in 1982 within the Glassell School of Art, the teaching wing of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas, USA), the Core Program encourages intensive and innovative studio practice as well as the elaboration of an intellectual framework through which to understand that practice. Residents engage in ongoing dialogue with each other and with leading figures in art and criticism who are brought in as visitors.

In 1998, the program added critical studies residencies. These residencies also include a $10,000 annual stipend and access to facilities, including borrowing privileges at the museum’s Hirsch Library and the Fondren Library at nearby Rice University. The program runs on an academic calendar, from September through May. Toward the end of each year, the artist residents mount a group show in the school’s main gallery, and the critical studies residents prepare essays summarizing aspects of their independent research. These essays, as well as documentation of the resident artists’ work, are gathered in a published catalogue. In addition to such writing projects, critical studies residents are challenged to curate their own separate shows using space allotted within the museum and/or school. Additional writing and curatorial opportunities are created through cooperation with other area schools and nonprofit art organizations. Like the artist residents, each critic in the program meets independently with visiting scholars and theorists, as well as the Program Director, to discuss his or her curatorial projects and overall research. In this way an environment is created that amply supports not only the production of individual work by both resident artists and critics but its reception within an intimate yet diverse creative and intellectual community. After the first year, residents may reapply for a second year.

To apply, please visit the Core Program website for further instruction. The application deadline is April 1, 2009, and all materials must be received by that date.

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