What we do /


Artist meet-ups
Contemporary art discussions and critiques
Gallery and museum visits
Collaborative projects and exhibitions
Open MFA Digital Residency
Open MFA is free and open to artists of any discipline. We are a resource for artists to continue their education, whether they already have a University degree, intend to pursue one in the future, or want to pursue an alternative route. We believe that art education should be an ongoing process, and artists are welcome to join at any stage of their formal education process. We operate in harmony with local Universities, Art Schools, and Arts Organizations, sharing resources and fostering growth among Houston artists.

We provide artists with opportunities to explore new ideas, share knowledge and skills, and gain intellectual and social exchanges between other artists and the broader public. Our goal is to make desirable elements of a University based MFA course more accessible to independent artists by creating space for exploration, collaboration and connection.

Current Organizers /

Erica Reed Lee
Hillaree Hamblin
Ryan Hollaway
Amanda Powers

Our Story /

Artists Marion Tu and Amanda Powers met during a 3-month artist residency in Montrose, Houston where they began meeting once a week to discuss their projects. After inviting other artists to join the conversation, the group hosted critiques, conversed about Houston art, and facilitated a Tapping Through the City walk through the streets of Montrose.

Marion Tu, a French-Chinese artist, moved to Houston from London where she was a core member of Alt MFA Alternative Master of Fine Art Course. Amanda Powers had recently returned to Houston from Europe where she studied at a studio-based independent art school. Both artists recognized a need for art community and sought to explore what it could look like in Houston outside of a University setting.

Within a few weeks, Hillaree Hamblin, Ryan Hollaway and John Galindo became integral parts of developing Open MFA. The artists met at various places throughout the city, collaborated on an interdisciplinary project combining sound and visual art, visited local exhibitions, and created the Open MFA Digital Residency.