Arts on the Mind

March 13-May 15, 2024

The inspiration for Arts on the Mind is Marc Neikrug’s A Song by Mahler (Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 pm), a profoundly moving work of music theater that is 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.

Join the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Penn Memory CenterFranklin Institute, Free Library of Philadelphia, Film Society of Philadelphia, and ARTZ Philadelphia for events at the Franklin Institute, the Film Society of Philadelphia, the Woodmere Art Museum, the Free Library, and the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. Working with you and a variety of audiences, this collaboration of artists, humanists, educators, physicians, and neuroscientists will create, observe, and discuss art. Together, we’ll discover 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 mind allows us to experience the world. It’s an essential part of who we are.

Arts on the Mind 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?


Arts on the Mind is supported in part by Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman and Constance and Michael Cone.

Sign up here for updates on programming and opportunities to explore thought-provoking interviews and reflections.


Featured Event — A Song by Mahler

Wed, May 15, 7:30-9:30 pm @ Kimmel Center’s 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.”


Additional Festival Events — March to May 2024

Wed, March 13, 6-8 pm [Interactive talk with breakout sessions]: Conversation Lab: Arts on the Mind @ the Franklin Institute
Mon, April 15, 2-5 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
Thu, Apr 25, 7:30-8:30 pm [Q&A/Book Signing] Travelers to Unimaginable Lands @ Free Library of Philadelphia
Mon, May 13, 6:30-8:30 pm [Panel discussion on A Song By Mahler]: Music on the Mind @ Kimmel Center’s Hamilton Garden

Festival Events
Learn & Listen
"A Mind in Splints: What it is like to be a person living with dementia" - Lecture by Penn Memory Center Co-Director Jason Karlawish, MD
A Song by Mahler - Interview with Composer Marc Neikrug
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, Artz Philadelphia, and the Film Society of Philadelphia.