Mitchell unites campus arts
For students walking around campus, the fine arts buildings can seem undistinguishable. Not many of us realize the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is the heart of all UH art programs.
The Mitchell Center was established in 2003 by Texas businessman and philanthropist George Mitchell as a gift to his wife Cynthia Woods Mitchell, patron of the arts.
The Mitchell family endowed $20 million and worked with UH to create a strong arts program. They proposed an alliance among the schools of art, music, theater and dance, as well as the creative writing program and Blaffer Art Museum.
In 2008, the Mitchell Center launched the Interdisciplinary Arts Minor for students, which includes a study in the historic and contemporary examples of interdisciplinary arts.
In addition, the Mitchell Center offers scholarships on an annual basis to graduate students in art, creative writing and theater. The center also supports an annual curatorial fellowship position at Blaffer.
It serves to produce collaborations of performing, visual and literary arts, offering public events, residencies, and commissions.
Director Karen Farber believes art is for everyone and everyone is an artists.
“These are artists living among us and telling our stories,” Farber said.
“We are particularly committed to presenting artists of color and artists from other parts of the world, to keep UH engaged in a global conversation.”
The Mitchell Center has held many events, including the recent product of three-year resident and performing artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, with his performance work “Red, black and GREEN: a blues.”
Joseph will direct “En Masse” in the Mitchell Center’s showcase with newly commissioned music by Daniel Bernard Roumain April 20.
In collaboration with Troy Bennefield of the UH marching band, “En Masse” will be a large-scale participatory performance held at Discovery Green Park, inviting audiences to follow band members on their path and experience what it’s like to be inside a “deconstructed parade.”
This is the place to start for students who have yet to experience UH’s art scene and have always wanted to, Farber said.
“Art is for everyone. The more experimental the art is often easier to relate to, not harder,” Farber said.
“The Mitchell Center is dedicated to elevating the art of our time, and continuing to show us how to connect with it, as an essential part of becoming ever-more creative and forward-looking in our lives and careers.”