Mfa Houston Core Program Residency

Mfa Houston Core Program Residency

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. 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. Core fellows come together for a yearlong seminar, 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, from September to May, and fellows may apply for a second term. Because the program is intended to foster intensive participation in an active peer group, including biweekly seminar meetings, Core fellows must reside in Houston for the duration of the Core 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. 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.

Application and Submission Process

Annual Application Deadline: April 1
Application filing period begins each year on January 1. All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received no later than midnight on April 1. The Core Program does not retain application materials from previous cycles (including letters of recommendation).

Applications for admission are accepted once per year. Applications and portfolios are reviewed and evaluated by a jury of professional artists, art historians, critics, and curators. Acceptance is based on the quality of the work and demonstration of a commitment to critical dialogue, which is integral to participation within the peer group. Successful applicants begin the program in September. Notification letters are sent on or before June 1. If you apply and don’t receive a notification by June 1, please check your spam folder before requesting information.

Submission Process
All application materials must be submitted online though SlideRoom. To establish an account, go to SlideRoom, create a login ID, and select “Core Program.” If you have used SlideRoom previously, you may use your existing login ID.

You may log in and out as many times as you like during the application process. Please do not submit your application until you have completed all sections and uploaded all portfolio items. In the final step of the application process, you will be prompted to pay the $12 application fee by credit or debit card. You are encouraged to start your application early, and to request letters of recommendation through SlideRoom well in advance of the April 1 deadline.

Application Materials
A. Statement of Intent

  1. Please discuss your work and artistic goals in a personal as well as a critical context. Limit your statement to 600 words.
  2. Why is this the right time for you to participate in the Core Program, and what do you hope to gain from the residency? Limit your answer to 300 words.

B. CV Upload your CV as a PDF file, two page maximum
C. Three Letters of Recommendation See below for details.
D. Work Sample Your work sample should contain work produced in the last three years. Please limit “Description” to 30 words per work sample.

  • Visual artists Submit up to 10 work samples in any combination of images, video clips, and/or audio clips. Images larger than 1280 x 1280 pixels (72 dpi) are automatically resized. For time-based media, we prefer embedded links to Vimeo and Soundcloud. The total combined duration of video and audio must not exceed 8 minutes. Please submit excerpts as appropriate, and include links to the entire work in the corresponding “Description” field. Video should be used as appropriate for time-based work; we discourage including autobiographical video or video documentation of exhibitions that are not time-based.
  • Critical studies Submit 1–5 samples of art-historical or critical writing, each as a separate PDF file. The combined total of the work samples must not exceed 15 pages of text or 8,000 words.

Letters of Recommendation
You will be prompted to provide your recommenders’ names and email addresses in the “Recommender” section of the application. When you click “send request,” SlideRoom generates and sends an email immediately to your recommender with further instructions. Please note that the Core Program does not retain recommendations from previous application cycles.

We strongly suggest you submit requests well in advance of the April 1 deadline. Please note: recommenders’ names and contact information can be edited and resubmitted as necessary. In the event that a recommender does not receive an email with instructions, the applicant should confirm the email address, log in to SlideRoom, and resubmit the reference request. Questions or problems? Contact

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