About 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 and are working to develop a sustainable practice. Residents engage with a wide range of leading artists, critics, curators, and art historians who are invited to meet individually with the residents, lead seminars, and deliver public lectures.

Fellows are expected to be active in their own creative and/or critical practice, whatever form that takes. Core fellows come together as a community of thinkers and makers to engage in an ongoing dialogue, the content of which is driven by contemporary concerns, the interests and work of the fellows, and the Core lecture series and visitors.

The residency term is nine months (September to May), and fellows may apply for a second term. Tuesday mornings are reserved for group discussions, and public lectures take place on Thursday evenings. Each spring the program mounts an exhibition of work produced during the current residency term, accompanied by a publication featuring essays by the critical-studies residents and documenting the work of all the residents. Critical-studies residents may apply for support for a curatorial project in their second year.

Residents receive a $20,000 stipend, 24-hour access to a private studio or office, and borrowing privileges at the MFAH Hirsch Library and Rice University Fondren Library. Limited administrative and financial support is available for successful international applicants seeking J-1 visas through the program’s partner organization, International Arts & Artists. No support is provided for other visas.

• More Information
Contact Mary Leclère, associate director: mleclere@mfah.org

Joseph Havel, director, Glassell School of Art

Joseph Havel, who has directed the Core Program since 1991, was appointed director of the Glassell School of Art in 1993 and retires on June 30, 2022. 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 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. Havel has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1987, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Fellowship in 1995, an 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 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 earned her PhD at the University of Virginia. She has published book reviews in Art Journal and at caareviews.org, 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.

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. For those who have a passion for supporting emerging artists, two levels of giving 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 2019–20 edition is produced by Sharon Engelstein. In past years, works have been contributed by Mark Allen, Amy Blakemore, Francesca Fuchs, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Demetrius Oliver, Karyn Olivier, Aaron Parazette, and Hilary Wilder, among others.


$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 contact Haley Horan: hhoran@mfah.org

The Core Program at the Glassell School of Art receives generous funding from The Joseph & Sylvia Slifka Foundation; The Powell Foundation; and The Glassell Family Foundation.

Core fellowships have been underwritten by Anchorage Foundation of Texas; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc.; Mr. Brad Blume; Ms. Bettie Cartwright; Mr. and Mrs. Jamal H. Daniel; The Dickson-Allen Foundation; Mr. Ronald A. Logan; and The Arch and Stella Rowan Foundation, Inc.