Arts on the Mind Festival

March 13-May 15, 2024

Presented with lead sponsorship from The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation

and with additional support from Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for New Music and Constance & Michael Cone

For the Arts on the Mind Festival, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Penn Memory CenterThe Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Film Society, the Free Library, and ARTZ Philadelphia collaborated for events at The Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Film Center, the Woodmere Art Museum, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Kimmel Center. Working with a variety of audiences, this collaboration of artists, humanists, educators, physicians, and neuroscientists created, observed, and discussed art. Together, we discovered the vital role the arts have in developing and maintaining a mind as it ages, and the power of the arts to care for others’ minds with dignity and respect.

The inspiration for Arts on the Mind was the Philadelphia premiere of Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler (Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 pm), a profoundly moving work of music theater that was the project’s culminating event. Exploring themes of love and loss, A Song by Mahler invites audiences to experience what Mr. Neikrug describes as “an intellectually and emotionally provoking evening” that harnesses the power of concert music and theater to create a space for an enduring contemplation of Arts on the Mind’s larger themes.

The Arts on the Mind Festival is a portal to understanding the power of the arts to explore the human mind. How can the arts help us understand and support our minds as we age?

Your mind allows you to experience the world. It’s an essential part of who you are.

Featured Event — A Song by Mahler
Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 pm — Perelman Theater

A love song by Gustav Mahler is at the center of this probing new work of music theater by eminent pianist and composer Marc Neikrug. A Song by Mahler centers on the changing realities of two characters: a concertizing singer who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and her husband, who is also her accompanist. The artists for this project are Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano; Ryan Bradford, baritone; David Shifrin, clarinet; and the FLUX Quartet.

This work of music theater is “an attempt to address the specific emotional evolution of this couple, touching on their love and their particular relationship to music” Neikrug says. “It is not an attempt at documenting the myriad aspects of the disease.”

Festival Events — March to May 2024

Wed, March 13, 6-8:30 pm [Interactive talk with breakout sessions]: Conversation Lab: Music, Meaning, & Your Brain @ The Franklin Institute
Mon, April 15, 2-4 pm [Interactive ARTZ event]: Expressing Our Minds: A Sampler of Interactive ARTZ Engagements @ Woodmere Art Museum
Sun, April 21, 4-6 pm [Film + Q&A]: Wisdom Gone Wild @ Philadelphia Film Center
Tue, April 30, 7:30-9 pm [Author Q&A + Book Signing]: Travelers to Unimaginable Lands @ The Free Library
Mon, May 13, 6:30-8 pm [Panel discussion on A Song By Mahler]: Music on the Mind @ Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Garden
Wed, May 15, 7:30-9 pm [Music-theater performance]: A Song by Mahler @ Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater

Schedule of Festival Events
Arts on the Mind Panelists & Creatives
Learn & Listen
Conversation with Composer Marc Neikrug & Penn Memory Center Co-Director Jason Karlawish
"A Mind in Splints: What it is like to be a person living with dementia" - Lecture by Penn Memory Center Co-Director Jason Karlawish
A Song by Mahler - Interview with Composer Marc Neikrug
Conversation Lab: Music, Meaning & Your Brain at The Franklin Institute
Learn about TimeSlips - the non-profit, founded by Anne Basting, supporting creative engagement in late life.

Presented by

Arts on the Mind is presented in collaboration with The Franklin Institute, Penn Memory Center, the Film Society of Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Artz Philadelphia.