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The ArtLab Studio

Welcome to the ArtLab Studio

In 2017, the ArtLab program emerged from a desire to better understand the intersection between arts and sciences. ArtLab has become an epicenter for design, visual science communication, and science outreach through innovative and engaging exhibits that showcase top biomedical researchers’ latest findings through art. Through fellowships (44-fellows 2017-2019), participants gain experience and create artwork. Interested in outcomes-driven practices, we evaluate our program to better understand the impact of science exhibitions and outreach. We utilize iterative design practices by examining the programmatic approaches and their impacts. We have collected extensive data on both participants and exhibition attendees (over 2500 total) including demographics, self-reported participation in exhibit activities, interest in continued programming, and willing to engage in a STEAM2D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Manufacturing, and Design) community.

The Wond’ry features an ArtLab studio two Makerspaces outfitted with a laser printer and other equipment to explore your creativity. The ArtLab studio is open to all of the Vanderbilt community and will serve as a hub for collaborative design and interdisciplinary activity particularly focused on science communication and outreach.

To support this mission, the ArtLab supports the following:

  • Tools and equipment
  • Training workshops
  • ArtLab Fellowship (undergraduates)
  • Graduate mentors to assist in project development
  • Free use of the space as well as a mix of free and subsidized materials
  • Exhibitions and events

Visit the ArtLab Website

ArtLab Team


ArtLab Director Dr. Kendra Oliver

Megan Kelley

Artist in Residence Megan Kelley

Maddie Rice

ArtLab Mentor Maddie Rice

About the Team

Kendra H. Oliver

Director of ArtLab

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Basic Sciences, School of Medicine

Senior Lecturer, Communication of Science and Technology, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Kendra H. Oliver studies education and science communication practices at the intersection of art and science, particularly visual communication. She wants to understand how visual communication programs, including artist-in-residence programs and artist-scientists’ collaborations, can impact the public social curiosity of science and technology (S&T). This focus includes consideration of both practical (programming approaches, online vs. in-person engagement), and theoretical (artistic versus scientific process, visual communication, informal science education) elements.

More generally, Kendra explores the relationships between public engagement activities and visual science communication. Her research has touched on:

  • Informal science education approaches for adult learners
  • Online versus in-person science educational practices
  • and visual communication of science concepts

Kendra has published in peer-reviewed journal articles, presented at a variety of conferences from multiple disciplines, and curated numerous science exhibitions and workshops. Her work has appeared in a wide range of journals including the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Leonardo, and the International Journal of STEM Ed. She has received funding from the American Heart Association, American Society of Cell Biology, and internal funding from The Wond’ry, and The Curb Center for the Arts, and Policy.




Megan Kelley

ArtLab Artist in Residence

Megan Kelley’s career includes a diverse and thorough approach to the arts. Inviting others into collaboration, curiosity, and cross-pollination, Kelley helps create immersive, interactive spaces for dialogue, design thinking, and connection.

Kelley’s civic and social practice work focuses on sustainability for artists at all levels, through creative placemaking, civic consulting, community development, advocacy, equitable access, and mentorship, with a focus on building and activating creative community workspaces. They are a graduate of The Learning Lab, the Racial Equity in Arts Leadership Institute, and Vanderbilt’s Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture, and a member of the Metro Nashville Antiracism Transformation Team. They serve as the manager of the Innovation Incubator makerspace with the Adventure Science Center, designing innovative STEAM-based curriculum for ages “Pre-K to Grey!” As the ArtLab Community Artist in Residence at Vanderbilt’s The Wondr’y, Kelley helps create spaces of engagement and creative disruption, while mentoring students in the intersections of creativity, technology, and innovation. Driven by themes of communication and borderlands archivism, their work with The Inbound Lands explores the ways in which people of color (especially those of mixed descent) navigate, generate, and hold space for cultural memory, traditional practices, place, and leadership in forward progress.

They have been pleased to connect with corporate spheres in pursuit of meaningful design, including work for clients such as Toyota Prius, NRDC, RedBull, USAID, The Ad Council, and Harvard University, among others. They have been honored to serve in civic and social practice work for Metro Nashville, The City of Hodgenville, the Lexington Art League, ArtWorks, Creative Mornings, Ryman Lofts, The Housing Foundation, and the internationally acclaimed Circuit Benders Ball, among others. They are proud to serve as a community ambassador to Nashville’s vibrant artist culture.

As a studio practice, their portfolio includes venues and collections both locally and throughout the world; internationally, their work has been shown in venues within Cambridge, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Calgary, Seattle, San Francisco, Paris, and Lexington, among others, and resides in various academic, institutional, and private collections. As an arts reporter, Kelley regularly writes for arts journals and news outlets across the American Southeast, and works as a sketchnote artist, live-documenting contemporary dialogues about equity, policy, and community within the arts, tech industries, and social justice fields, and works to amplify marginalized voices.


Maddie Rice

Medical Illustrator and Animator

Master’s Candidate, Biomedical Visualization University of Illinois at Chicago

Maddie is an artist and researcher from the southern U.S., born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and completed her undergraduate career in Mississippi where she received a B.S. in Microbiology. She is currently a master’s candidate in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she specializes in creating 2D and 3D educational graphics for both the public and researchers alike. As an illustrator she collaborates with others to develop visuals for complex life science topics through animation, 3D modeling, molecular visualization, and digital painting. Her work is featured in the Northwestern Public Health Review, Cell Stem Cell, and as the cover of the December 6th issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.