Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts
LocationUniversity of Houston
DirectorKaren Farber

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is a collaborative force based at the University of Houston. The Mitchell Center regularly invites leading visiting artists and creative thinkers from throughout the world to the UH campus to show their work, develop new projects, lead workshops, and teach courses. The Mitchell Center commissions and produces new works across the visual, performing, and literary arts.

The center was founded in 2003 and forms an alliance among five departments at UH: the School of Art, the Moores School of Music, the School of Theatre and Dance, the Creative Writing Program, and the Blaffer Art Museum.[1]


The Mitchell Center was founded in fall 2003 as a collaborative force uniting the arts programs on the University of Houston campus. The Mitchell Center was founded with a contribution from philanthropist and business man, George P. Mitchell with the desire to impact the creative arts programs at UH in honor of his late wife, Cynthia Woods Mitchell, a strong lover of the arts throughout her life. The Mitchell family and UH worked closely together to create a program that would connect the schools of Art, Music, Theatre and Dance as well as Blaffer Museum and the UH Creative Writing Program. .[1]

An endowment of $20 million was given with $16 million designated for the programs and $4 million to renovate the School of Theatre and Dance facility, creating new studios, a lobby for the Wortham Theatre, and offices for the newly established Mitchell Center. The newly renovated building was renamed the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. In December 2005, Karen Farber was hired as the first full-time director. .[1]

Residences and Special Projects[edit]

Mitchell Center invites artists for inter-disciplinary residencies on a semester basis. The residencies provide an opportunity for new and dynamic collaboration and vary in length and type based on the artist and the project. Projects can be research based, public art, academic, or part of a larger thematic initiative.[2]

Past artists include:
Terry & Jo Harvey Allen
Philip Glass
Liz Lerman
Fritz Haeg
Big Dance Theater
The Art Guys
Ronald K. Brown
Dick Hebdige
Mark Doty
Joan Tower
Center for Land Use Interpretation
Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Jeremy Deller

Education and the Interdisciplinary Art minor (IART)[edit]

In 2008, the Mitchell Center created a new minor called the Interdisciplinary Arts Minor (IART), which is available to UH students from all colleges and majors. IART courses are each sponsored by two or more UH departments and taught by a range of faculty and visiting scholars and practitioners. The minor includes academic study in the historic & contemporary examples of interdisciplinary arts and provides opportunities for students of all majors and academic fields to engage in interdisciplinary projects, utilizing the funding & resources of the Mitchell Center.[3]

Mitchell Center also supports an annual Curatorial Fellowship position at Blaffer Art Museum and offers annual scholarships to graduate students who are interested in cross-disciplinary collaboration and who are studying in the fields of Art, Creative Writing, Music, and Theatre.

The Mitchell Center also hosts a series of lectures and conversations with renowned visitors (artists, writers, choreographers, academics, and musicians) to discuss how collaboration has influenced their artistic development. These conversations are meant to encourage communication about cross-disciplinary works and promote deeper engagement and exploration.

In 2007, the Mitchell Center developed the Faculty Affiliate Network (FAN) to connect the arts with other areas of the UH campus. FAN is meant to create direct communication between visual artists, performers, and writers and colleagues of the UH faculty and staff for collaboration, dialogue, and sharing of expertise.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Mitchell Center – Mission and History".
  2. ^ "Mitchell Center – Residencies and Special Projects".
  3. ^ "Mitchell Center – IART".
  4. ^ "Mitchell Center – FAN".

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°43′29″N 95°20′33″W / 29.72472°N 95.34250°W / 29.72472; -95.34250