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 $15,000 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

Joseph Havel, director, Glassell School of Art

Joseph Havel has directed the Core Program since 1991 and was appointed 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 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, 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.

Pete Gershon, 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. He received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Hampshire College and has a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of North Texas. Gershon is the author of the books Painting the Town Orange: The Stories behind Houston’s Visionary Art Environments (2014) and Collision: The Contemporary Art Scene in Houston, 1972–1985 (2018).

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 contact Haley Horan at

The Core Program at the Glassell School of Art receives generous funding from:
The Joseph & Sylvia Slifka Foundation
Ms. Nancy Powell Moore
The National Endowment for the Arts
The Dickson-Allen Foundation

The following donors have underwritten a Core fellowship:
Anchorage Foundation of Texas
Rudolph Blume Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Jamal H. Daniel
The Francis L. Lederer Foundation
McClain Gallery
Karen Pulaski
The Arch and Stella Rowan Foundation, Inc.

Additional support is provided by:
Mr. and Mrs. John Berry
Ms. Karol Kreymer and Dr. Robert J. Card
Mrs. Jereann H. Chaney
Dr. Cullen K. Geiselman
Heidi and David Gerger
Inman Gallery
Victoria and Marshal Lightman
Ms. Nancy McGregor and Mr. Neal Manne
Penelope and Lester Marks
Mr. Marc Melcher
Ms. Clare T. Casademont and Mr. Michael M. Metz
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Nyquist
Mr. Eric J. Pulaski
Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Robinson
Marc Schindler
Leigh and Reggie Smith
Alana R. Spiwak and Sam L. Stolburn
Bridget and Patrick Wade
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Wessel

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