Houston Folklife program

Houston Arts Alliance has launched a Folklife and Traditional Arts program that will research and document Houston’s diverse cultural communities, and organize public programming. The program will also provide technical assistance to local traditional artists and cultural organizations in the city. They’ve even got a professional folklorist, Pat Jasper, to develop and oversee the program.

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  1. Traditional disciplines all over the university landscape (not just the Art dept.) have become more porous. The complex set of skills required to negotiate an MFA program (critical writing, debate, research, craftsmanship) can be applied in innumerable ways. Contemporary work often aspires to “go beyond” the traditional white cube gallery space – it makes sense that new career paths will emerge from these explorations.

  2. I agree with Chris and Tom in their thoughts about the topic. I also see the increasing numbers of aesthetically trained people as a boon– an underrated resource from which we could all benefit from in discovering new ways of applying those skills, particularly in the area of making art relevant to every day life again.

    The comment that I wish to share is that the issue of class always seems missing from this discourse about the MFA. As crass as it may be, each degree we buy or otherwise earn takes us one more rung up the class ladder, and this is no less true in the art field. Having that degree has the potential to open certain doors that might not be open otherwise, or which may require more work to get open.

    My teacher Joseph Grigely gave us “Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers” as required reading in his MFA seminar… a lesson that encompasses far more than which fork to use first, and one that remains fresh with me, over a decade later.

  3. Of course artists find work in other areas. Making the most of your surroundings, finishing projects on time, working with limited resources, limited materials, limited money, to please a fickle audience–in other words, art school teaches you to think: how to survive, start a business from nothing, see opportunity where others don’t, reinvent yourself, see the big picture, adapt to change, etc.

    PS: Increase your session length, I was logged out while writing this.

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