The Core Program


The Core Residency Program awards residencies to exceptional, highly motivated visual artists and critical writers who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training but have not yet developed professional careers. Established in 1982, the Core Program encourages intensive studio practice as well as an intellectual framework for understanding that practice. Residents engage in ongoing dialogue with one another and with a wide range of leading artists, critics, art historians, and curators who visit throughout the year. The Core term starts in September and ends in May; residents may apply for a second term.

Residents receive a $14,000 stipend, 24-hour access to a private studio or office, and borrowing privileges at the Museum’s Hirsch Library and Rice University’s Fondren Library. Critical-studies residents are also provided a networked computer and may submit a proposal for a curatorial or critical project during their second year. In March, a yearbook featuring essays by the critical-studies residents is published, and the artists mount a group exhibition of their current work. In their second year, artists become eligible to receive the Long Prize, a $10,000 unrestricted grant.

Joseph Havel, director, Glassell School of Art

Joseph Havel has directed the Core Program since 1991 and was appointed as director of the Glassell School of Art in 1993. His sculpture has been exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, including solo museum shows at The Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; The Center for Contemporary Art, Kiev; The Huntington Beach Art Center, California; and The Dallas Contemporary. He has had recent solo gallery exhibitions at Yvon Lambert, New York, Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston, Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie, Paris, and Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas. His work is in public collections in the U.S. and abroad including The Whitney Museum, New York; The Modern Museum of Fort Worth; The Pompidou Center, Paris; The Ministry of Culture, Paris; The Menil Collection, Houston; and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  He has received numerous awards including a National Endowment of The Arts Fellowship in 1987, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship in 1995, Artadia Award in 2004, and the Dallas Contemporary Texas Legend Award in 2008. He was the Art League Houston’s Texas Artist of the Year in 2010 and is the 2013 Texas Visual Artist as recognized by the Texas Legislature and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Mary Leclère, associate director

Mary Leclère works with critical-studies residents to develop individual curatorial projects, and she facilitates critical dialogue among the artists and critics. An art historian and critic herself, Leclère is a PhD candidate at the University of Virginia. She has published book reviews in Art Journal and at, essays in Afterall and X-TRA, and wrote a catalogue essay for the exhibition Nothing Is Neutral: Andrea Bowers at REDCAT in Los Angeles. She also oversees the Core residency exhibition program, for which she has curated solo shows featuring the work of Walid Raad, Frances Stark, Matthew Buckingham, Harun Farocki, and Andea Bowers.

Lily Cox-Richard, critical initiatives coordinator

Lily Cox-Richard works with the Core residents, and in collaboration with Mary Leclère, to develop programming, exhibitions, and other critical initiatives. As faculty in art theory, she facilitates dialogue between the Core Program and the Glassell Studio School. Cox-Richard's exhibitions include shows at Vox Populi in Philadelphia; the Poor Farm in Manawa, Wisconsin; and Kompact Living Space in Berlin. She has received several grants and residencies, including a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan's Society of Fellows, and a residency at the MacDowell Colony.

Pete Gershon, program coordinator

Core Residency Program coordinator Pete Gershon previously served as the administrative coordinator at Nameless Sound and for 15 years published Signal to Noise, the internationally distributed quarterly journal of improvised and experimental music. Gershon’s book Painting the Town Orange: The Stories Behind Houston’s Visionary Art Environments was published by the History Press in February 2014. He received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Hampshire College and is working toward a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of North Texas.

Support the Core Program

The Core Program is sustained entirely through annual contributions, which provide for the basic needs of Core residents while also underwriting related activities, travel, exhibitions, symposia, and lectures.

Contributions of any amount are welcome; however, for those who have a passion for supporting emerging artists, there are two levels of giving that offer exclusive benefits.

CORE 10X10

$10,000 (FMV $1,000)
All of the benefits of CORE SALON plus:

  • A limited-edition work of art by a former Core Fellow
    The 201314 edition is produced by Sergio Torres-Torres. In past years, works have been contributed by Amy Blakemore, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Aaron Parazette, Karyn Olivier, Francesca Fuchs, Demetrius Oliver, and Mark Allen.


$1,500 individual (FMV $100) or $2,500 couple (FMV $200)

  • Invitations to up to three events at a sponsoring venue
    Two events featuring discussion about local exhibitions
    One special event featuring a guest artist
  • An invitation to a CORE SALON breakfast at an international art fair
  • An invitation to the annual Core Open Studio
  • Recognition at the annual Core exhibition and in the annual Core publication
  • A copy of the annual Core publication

For more information or to contribute, please e-mail or call 713.639.7559.

The Core Program at the Glassell School of Art receives generous funding from:
The Joseph and Sylvia Slifka Foundation
The National Endowment for the Arts

The following donors have underwritten a Core fellowship:
The Dickson-Allen Foundation
Joan and Stanford Alexander
Leslie and Brad Bucher 
The Francis L. Lederer Foundation
Meredith Long
McClain Gallery
The Powell Foundation
Tribute Goods, Karen Pulaski
The Arch and Stella Rowan Foundation, Inc.
Sean Rudolph and Brad Blume

Additional support is provided by:
Barbara and Michael Gamson
Judy and Scott Nyquist
Reid Sutton and Brad Nagar
Clare Casademont and Michael Metz
Jereann Chaney
Heidi and David Gerger
Nancy McGregor and Neal Manne
Rick and Nancy Rome
Leigh and Reggie Smith
Cynthia Toles
Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc.
Bettie Cartwright
Penelope Gonzalez and Lester Marks
Kelli and Eddy Blanton
Jan Diesel
Talley Dunn
Gregory Fourticq
Ms. Cecily E. Horton
Karol Kreymer and Robert Card
Victoria and Marshal Lightman
Nancy Powell Moore

The Core Program receives endowment income from funds provided by:
Leslie and Brad Bucher
Eliza Lovett Randall
The children of Eliza Lovett Randall in honor of their mother
The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation
Herbert C. Wells and gifts in his memory
Gifts in memory of Warren A. Hadler
The Estate of Margaret H. Gillingham
Gifts in memory of Laura Lee Blanton


Rice University
The Core Program has established a collaborative teaching partnership with the Department of Visual & Dramatic Arts at Rice University. As guest instructors, selected Core residents offer undergraduate courses in art and art theory on the Rice campus.