Hellman Artist in Residence Program
The unique Hellman Artist in Residence Program was created to foster dialogue between scientists, caregivers, patients, clinicians, artists and the public regarding creativity and the brain.

Each year, an accomplished artist (visual artist, musician, writer or another creative individual) is invited to visit the Memory and Aging Center to learn about neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

We encourage creative exchange between the artist and the researchers, as well as interactions with patients and families who agree to participate. The Artist in Residence also shares their creativity and experience with the larger community through a public performance.

We want three things from the artist program: doctors to have artists’ work touch them, scientists to think about how the arts might change science, and artists to learn about how the arts are generated in and impact the brain.

Bruce L. Miller, MD

Director, UCSF Memory and Aging Center

2022 Louise Aronson, MD, MFA

Louise Aronson, MD, MFA
Louise Aronson, MD, MFA

Louise the doctor is a practicing geriatrician and Professor of Medicine at UCSF. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, she has served as director of the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center, the UCSF Pathways to Discovery program, and currently leads the campus-wide Health Humanities and Social Advocacy Initiative. She has received awards including California Homecare Physician of the Year, the Gold Professorship in Humanism in Medicine, and American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Teacher of the Year. Her scholarly articles have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, Health Affairs, Medical Education, Academic Medicine, Medical Teacher, JGIM, STAT News, Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and JAMA.

Louise the writer is a graduate of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers and the author of articles, essays and stories that explore the intersection of medicine and life. Her first book, A History of the Present Illness, was a finalist for both the Chautauqua Prize and the PEN America debut fiction award. Her second book, the New York Times non-fiction bestseller, Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, and Reimagining Life, was released in June 2019. Her writing has been featured on National Public Radio and in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Narrative Magazine, New England Review, Discover Magazine, and Bellevue Literary Review. She has earned 4 Pushcart nominations and a MacDowell Colony fellowship.

2021 Jonathon Keats

Jonathon Keats
Jonathon Keats
credit: Jen Dessinger

Acclaimed as a “poet of ideas” by The New Yorker and a “multimedia philosopher-prophet” by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher based in the United States and Europe. His conceptually driven transdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society, adapting methods from the sciences and the humanities. He has exhibited and lectured at dozens of institutions worldwide, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to Stanford University to the Triennale di Milano, and from SXSW to CERN to UNESCO. He is the author of six books on subjects ranging from science and technology to art and design – most recently You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future, published by Oxford University Press – and is the author of a weekly online art and design column for Forbes. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, UC Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station, and the LACMA Art + Technology Lab, a Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an Imaginary Fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and a Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art's Center for Art + Environment. He is currently a Polar Lab artist at the Anchorage Museum, a Flux Exchange Artist at Flux Projects, a visiting scholar at San Jose State University’s CADRE Laboratory for New Media, an associated researcher at the University of Arizona’s Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, and an artist-in-residence at both the SETI Institute and UC San Francisco’s Memory and Aging Center. He serves as co-director and principal philosopher for Earth Law Center’s Interspecies Technology Transfer Consortium and is the founding director and curator of the Museum of Future History. A monograph about his art, Thought Experiments, is forthcoming from Hirmer Verlag. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

2020 Emily Silverman

Emily Silverman
Emily Silverman
credit: Paul Gargagliano

Emily Silverman, MD, is an internal medicine physician at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and creator/host of the nationally recognized medical storytelling live show and podcast, The Nocturnists, which has been praised by healthcare leaders including Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, Dr. Rana Awdish and Dr. BJ Miller, who tweeted in 2018, “What a beautiful show. Often it feels like medicine gets too much credit, but @thenocturnists made me feel like it gets too little.”

Emily has published writing in The New York Times, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and The Examined Life Journal at the University of Iowa Carver School of Medicine, and is currently working on a new writing project with the support of a fellowship from The MacDowell Colony. Starting in April 2019, she will be the Hellman Artist-in-Residence at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. She has been interviewed on numerous medical podcasts, covered in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Magazine, and invited to give talks and workshops on storytelling and medicine at UCSF, Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, Columbia University, MindBodyGreen, and The Esalen Institute. She was the keynote speaker at the 1st annual Doctors Who Create Conference at the University of Pennsylvania in 2019 and will speak at DotMD, a festival of medical curiosity, in Galway, Ireland in 2021.

2019 Alex Kornhuber

Alex Kornhuber
Alex Kornhuber
credit: Elisabeth Fall

Alex Kornhuber received his BFA degree in photography from Ohio University. He worked as a portrait photographer in San Diego, California and became a photo documentary teacher, helping students realize their projects. Alex moved to Europe and collaborated with major newspapers and photo agencies, covering the war in the Balkans, and doing photo essays around Latin America and Africa.

Peru’s contrasting people, rich cultures, landscapes and beauty have long captivated Alex’s attention and imagination. In 2004 he began creating a lyrical visual document that shows intimate, honest portraits of Peruvians and their relation to their environment. As a Peruvian himself, he contemplates his work as a means of breaking barriers amongst his compatriots, as a way of seeing each other face to face. Through this work, the camera becomes his excuse to approach his fellow Peruvians and to empathize with them. His experience as an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute has placed an even greater emphasis on the role of different social determinants of health in influencing the aging trajectories of older Peruvians. “Faces of Peru” is a photo-essay that reflects an honest approximation of the incredible beauty and diversity of Peru.

“I am committed to communicating the impact of dementia through powerful and moving photo and multimedia essays.”

2019 Jake Broder

Jake Broder
Jake Broder

Jake Broder is a writer and actor. He trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and worked there for ten years before coming back to the United States. As an actor, you may have seen him in HBO’s Silicon Valley. Recently, his play Our American Hamlet (about Edwin Booth ) was nominated for Best New Play in Boston for its premiere at the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Jake co-wrote and originated the role of Louis in ‘Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara’, winning three Ovation Awards, LADCC, Garland and LA Weekly awards for Best Actor and Best Production. This play ran at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles as was directed by Oscar Winner, Taylor Hackford. It has since toured Chicago and SoCal. Jake’s play His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley played Off West End as well as Off Broadway at 59e59 Theaters and in LA.

Jake became fascinated by the story of Dr. Anne Adams, a former patient at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center who had primary progressive aphasia – a neurodegenerative disease shared by the composer Maurice Ravel. Her signature piece is Unravelling Bolero, a visual study of Ravel’s iconic composition. Jake plans to create a multi-modal play about Anne Adams, Maurice Ravel, and the mystery of primary progressive aphasia and creativity, both the neuroscience and deep humanity inside the disease and the art.

2018 Josh Kornbluth

Josh Kornbluth has spent over a quarter-century as a theatrical monologist, performing autobiographical tales for diverse audiences around the United States, Poland and India. Now he is applying his passion and skill for storytelling to the subject of dementia with three new projects—a theatrical monologue, a feature film and a series of videos—about the connections between brain science and social justice.

Josh develops his monologues via improvisations in front of audiences, which he then crafts into a full-length, touring, one-man play. These shows are fundamentally comedic, but they often deal with very serious subjects. Josh plans to deliver a series of improvs on the subject of dementia that he will shape into a finished show designed to be performed on stages around the United States and elsewhere. He intends for this piece to educate audiences about the exciting research being done on brain disease and to help remove the stigma that society often attaches to people with dementia and their caregivers.

His show Red Diaper Baby was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and was selected for the annual Best American Plays collection. Other works include The Mathematics of Change, Ben Franklin: Unplugged, Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews? and Sea of Reeds. With his brother Jacob, he has adapted two of his solo pieces into feature films—Haiku Tunnel and Love & Taxes—in which he has starred. His monologues have been collected into books and audiobooks and have been captured in concert films. In recent years, he has taught a course at Stanford University called The Ethics of Storytelling.

2017 Homer and Cristina Ladas

Homer and Cristina Ladas started their tango obsession in 1997 and spend their residency exploring social movement, non-verbal communication and the brain through teaching the dance and culture of tango. With over two decades of social dance experience emphasizing a fusion of tango ideologies, Homer and Cristina have studied with numerous teachers and practiced extensively with each other and many other dance partners. They have traveled to tango cities around the world, including Buenos Aires, and are ardent students of community politics, growth and dynamics everywhere they visit. They attempt to use this knowledge to positively influence the development of each tango community they subsequently visit. As teachers, Homer and Cristina are committed to creating a positive class environment and try to reduce barriers that may inhibit students from really finding their own dance!

2016 Voice of Witness

There is a story inside of everyone. Founded by Dave Eggers and Mimi Lok, Voice of Witness (VOW) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an empathy-based understanding of fellow human beings through narrative. Their mission is to amplify the voices of unheard individuals. The VOW team helped the Memory and Aging Center (MAC) team collect and share the nuanced dementia story from the perspective of patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, family members, friends, and artists. Through this project, called hear/say, we gathered stories to help illustrate the wide range of experiences of people living with dementia. Both volumes of hear/say stories can be downloaded as PDFs (Vol. 1Vol. 2) and are available for sale from Norfolk Press.

2015 Keith Moreau

Filmmaker Keith Moreau made his first feature-length film in junior high school and since has pursued numerous artistic endeavors related to music and film. In the late 1980s as a composer, performer and major label record producer, Keith founded Pyramind Studios/San Francisco Audio Network, still one of San Francisco’s top recording studios and audio technology teaching centers. Recently, Keith was the co-producer and Director of Photography of “Butterflies and Bulldozers”—a feature documentary that played nationally, depicting the tumultuous battle over the San Francisco Peninsula’s own San Bruno Mountain, along with reasons to save it from destruction. “Sharing Artists Sharing” is another of Keith’s films currently in production—a feature-length documentary film revealing the fascinating art, motivation and lives of artists in Brisbane, California. His recent work includes “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill–Special Edition DVD” and “Alcatraz Remembrance, Ohlone Presence: Indigenous Renewal,” “Keeper of the Beat,” “Going the Distance,” and a short film celebrating art and the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, “International Orange—The Bridge Re-Imagined.”

2014 Geoff Hoyle

Geoff Hoyle trained with Marcel Marceau’s teacher, Etienne Decroux, in Paris, developing his unique physical bravura comic style, a combination of court jester, vaudeville and English music hall comedian. He made his mark in the Bay Area as the Pickle Family Circus’ beloved clown, Mr. Sniff. Later, he created the critically acclaimed “Feast of Fools,” featuring masked Commedia Dell’Arte characters including the libidinous and elderly Pantalone (Hoyle claims he will no longer need to use a mask for this one), Il Dottore and the prat-falling Arleccino. It is a depiction of Everyman striving for dignity in the face of a multitude of struggles, big and small, that is not unlike Hoyle’s own search for meaning in his hit solo show, “Geezer.” His award-winning shows “The Convict’s Return,” (about taking “Feast of Fools” to Broadway and its mixed reception there) “Geni(us)” and “The First Hundred Years” (an improbable history of comedy) have been seen in San Francisco, Paris, London, Berlin, Taiwan, New York, England and the former Soviet Union. He created the original Zazu in the Broadway cast of “The Lion King” and appeared regularly with Teatro Zinzanni.

2013 Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield, prize-winning poet, translator and essayist, is the author of seven collections of poetry and the editor and co-translator of four books containing the work of poets from the past. Her work appears regularly in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, and other journals and can be found in the 2013 editions of The Best Spiritual Writing, The Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her poetry speaks to the central issues of human existence—desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, the many dimensions of our connection with others and the wider community of creatures and objects with which we share our lives. Her subjects range from the metaphysical and passionate to the political, ecological, and scientific to subtle unfoldings of daily life and experience. Among numerous honors, in 2004 Jane Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor formerly held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy and received the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry.

2012 Heidi Clare

Heidi Clare is widely acknowledged as the best old-time fiddler currently performing. Her style and the material that she chooses to perform keeps alive the hundreds-years-old traditions established by immigrant fiddlers (mostly European) who came to America starting in the seventeenth century and established the fiddle as a major American instrument for folk dancing, Appalachian ballads and hoedowns, and bluegrass breakdowns. She does it all and applies the muscle to her performances that have been indicative of the hard-working pioneer farmers and stockmen and women who carried the traditional sounds of the instrument into modern times. She not only plays the music that drove the raucous dances of those pioneers but dances the steps as well. She has performed all over the U.S. with her own band as well as with the Reeltime Travelers, which also recorded the soundtrack of the movie Cold Mountain. Unlike many of the other “folk-type” fiddlers that play traditionally oriented fiddle tunes, Heidi Clare is formally trained and holds a master’s degree in music.

2010–2011 Deborah Aschheim

Deborah Aschheim makes installations based on invisible networks of perception and thought. Her work since 2005 has explored the subject of memory, leading her to collaborate with musicians and neuroscientists on projects that are an equal mix of science and poetry. Aschheim holds a BA degree in anthropology from Brown University and an MFA degree from the University of Washington. She has received fellowships from the City of Los Angeles, the Pasadena Arts Commission, the Durfee Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has been artist-in-residence in the North Carolina Healthcare system; at Fundacion Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain; at Headlands in Marin, California; at Hallwalls in Buffalo, New York; at the Bemis Center in Omaha, Nebraska; and at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in New Mexico. She lives in Southern California.