Pete Gershon, coordinator of the Museum’s Core Residency Program, takes us behind the scenes of the prestigious postgraduate program.
What is the Core Residency Program?
The Core Program awards residencies to exceptional, highly motivated visual artists and critical writers who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training and are working to develop a sustainable practice. Artist residencies encourage intensive and innovative studio practice, and critical-studies residences enable writers to pursue independent curatorial and writing projects. The term runs September to May and is renewable for a second year—much longer than most residencies. It allows them to really settle in and become part of the community.
What sets this group apart from students at the Glassell School of Art?
The Core Program attracts applicants from all over the world, acting as a bridge between postgraduate training and the next stage of a professional career. Some participants are invited to teach classes at the Glassell School. Others take classes side-by-side with Studio School students.
Describe a typical day for a Core resident.
I’m not sure there’s any such thing as a typical day! Most keep an incredibly active schedule with travel, teaching, and exhibition opportunities. You might find them in their studios developing a project or at the Museum’s Hirsch Library conducting research. Tuesdays, though, are reserved for seminar meetings, where all come together to prepare for visiting speakers and artists, and to discuss topics of shared interest.
Can Houstonians meet the Core residents and see their work?
We offer a series of lectures by significant artists, curators, critics, and art historians, which are free and open to the public. Every spring, the Core Program presents an exhibition of recent work with an accompanying yearbook that contains essays by the critical-studies residents. Members of the public can also participate in a monthly roundtable, where the residents exchange ideas and share their research.
Any fun facts about the Core Program you’d like to share?
Since 1982, the program has hosted 224 visual artists and 32 critics, including the likes of Trenton Doyle Hancock, Julie Mehretu, and Shahzia Sikander. Some former Core residents have remained in Houston and have influenced many generations of the city’s up-and-coming art practitioners.