UH Mitchell Center for the Arts Announces Spring Public, Academic Events

This spring, the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts will host world-renowned performing, visual and literary artists, and sharpen its focus on educating UH students in the history and practice of creative collaboration.

The Mitchell Center's spring 2010 artist-in-residence is Berlin-based, Texas-born artist Amy Patton, who will be in Houston crafting a new film work to debut this fall at Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston. The center also continues its ongoing residency with renowned spoken word artist and choreographer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who will visit Houston on multiple occasions to plan the fall 2010 festival, "Life Is Living: Houston" and create his new performance work, "red, black, and GREEN, a blues." The center's spring academic activities include the debut of the Graphic Novel Workshop led by award-winning UH faculty member Mat Johnson. This spring also marks the return of  local artist Sasha Dela's course, "Art and Activism."

The schedule of spring public events is as follows:

7 p.m., Feb. 2, Artist-in-Residence Amy Patton, Jose Quintero Theatre
Presented in collaboration with Blaffer Gallery, the UH School of Theatre & Dance, and Aurora Picture Show.
Artist-in-residence Amy Patton discusses the development of "Oil," a filmed theater work being created with UH School of Theatre & Dance actors, commissioned by the Mitchell Center with support from Blaffer Gallery. The presentation will also include examples of Patton's previous work and excerpts from influential films. "Oil," which will premiere at Blaffer Gallery in fall 2010, is based on petroleum-influenced lifestyles and economic forecasting that dramatizes our society's experiences with objects and commodities.

7 p.m., Feb. 9, Visiting Artist Scott McCloud, Dudley Recital Hall
Noted comic writer and graphic artist McCloud will discuss storytelling in comics. McCloud created the critically acclaimed series "Zot!" for Eclipse Comics, which was published from 1984 - 1991. He also has written "Superman Adventures," "Justice League Adventures" and "Superman: Strength" for DC Comics. In addition to writing comics, he has authored three non-fiction books devoted to the medium including "Making Comics," "Inventing Comics" and "Understanding Comics." As part of his Houston visit, McCloud will work with creative writing and art students in the Graphic Novel Workshop, taught by professor Mat Johnson.

Artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph will visit Houston for an extended visit as part of his ongoing residency with the Mitchell Center. Co-hosted by Third Ward-based organization Project Row Houses, Bamuthi will develop his new performance work, "red, black, and GREEN, a blues." He also will help organize the November festival "Life is Living: Houston" as part of his national campaign that uses urban street arts to engage communities of color in environmentalism and sustainable living. While in Houston, Bamuthi also will visit the special sociology course "Hip-Hop Culture and the Environment with Marc Bamuthi Joseph."

The Mitchell Center commitment continues to address community engagement and creative problem-solving through academic programs including:

Art and Activism: This Interdisciplinary Art (IART) course allows students to communicate their own political, societal or environmental concerns through creative projects. Students explore works by artist-activists and creative practices that address political, social and cultural themes. Teaching the class for the second year is artist Sasha Dela. This year's visiting artists include Brett Bloom of the Chicago-based collective Temporary Services.

Graphic Novel Workshop: Also offered as an IART course, the workshop is an introduction and exploration of modern graphic storytelling through both critical examination and workshop of original creative work within the form. Creative writing and art students, along with visiting artists, focus on the medium and tools of graphic storytelling, its reoccurring themes and genres, and their relationship with modern storytelling.

The Mitchell Center IART curriculum continues with additional courses in collaborative and interdisciplinary theory and practice.

Additional campus-based collaborations include work with the UH Honors College Center for Creative Work on its annual Dionysia event.  "Electra," which will be performed March 26 - 28, will take place in the in the UH Wortham Theatre with support from the Mitchell Center.

For additional details on these events or updates, visit www.mitchellcenterforarts.org or call 713-743-5548.