Seeking Artists In The TEDMED Community

This week, our Editorial Advisory Board kicks off a series of meetings designed to curate the topics, themes, ideas and stories that will shape the TEDMED 2018 program. As always, we will balance our review of the medical and scientific landscape with strong consideration of performance, visual arts, and narrative. We believe that scientific and artistic exploration ultimately share the same goal, which is to explain and communicate difficult concepts, and to create a deeper and more fuller understanding of ourselves, and the world in which we live. For this reason, art and design are an important part of the TEDMED program– to us, there is no clear division between science and art.

We’ve had some amazing artists who beautifully illustrate this connection between medicine and art from the TEDMED stage. For example, last year, cellist Zoë Keating shared how the emotions involved with her husband’s battle with cancer transformed her music, and how the artistic process has helped her heal and communicate her feelings more completely than she ever could through words. Visual artist Jennifer Chenoweth brought her XYZ Atlas project to TEDMED, and demonstrated how visualizing experiences and emotions can actually help communities become stronger and healthier.

A wide range of artistic talents join us each year, such as pianist Richard Kogan, painter Ted Meyer, fashion designer Kristin Neidlinger, art curator Christine McNabb, documentarian Holly Morris, improv performers Karen Stobbe and Mondy Carter, chef John La Puma, photographer Kitra Cahana, musician Gerardo Contino, and many more. And more broadly, storytelling itself is an artform. Every speaker from all backgrounds carefully craft their talk to share a unique gift with the TEDMED community. Every talk is therefore a piece of art the speaker shares with the audience.

And quite literally, our speakers themselves become pieces of art, because an important part of our event design each year is to work with artists who create portraits of our speakers. From widely acclaimed figures like Hanoch Piven and Victor Juhasz, to a collaborative project created by several RISD art students, to the fantastic work of Gabriel Gutierrez and Lauren Hess who were chosen from our community, we’ve been lucky to work with amazing talent. These artists are invited to TEDMED and become an important part of our Delegation. Find out more about their beautiful work here.

Again this year, we’re excited to begin a search for the artist or artists who will help us bring this year’s speaker portraits to life. As part of our search, we’re officially accepting artist nominations and applications for TEDMED 2018.

Just as every year, our chosen artist or artists will join our community for 3 days in Palm Springs, CA at the La Quinta Resort and Club, November 14-16 for TEDMED 2018 (travel and accommodations covered by TEDMED).  If you are interested, or know someone who might be, read on!

This call is open to amateur and professional artists, and all art mediums will be considered. While not required, the artist would ideally have a close tie to health and medicine. This could take form in the following ways:

  • Experience in the medical community
  • Experience working with patients
  • A personal story connecting the artist to health and medicine

The artist will need to produce roughly 50 portraits over the course of the next few months. Illustrations will be based on reference photos that will be provided. Final portraits will need to be delivered as high res digital files based on our specifications.

The work will take place between March – July 2017.

To apply (or nominate an artist), please send an email to Be sure to include a work sample, a brief bio, any relevant links, and details about the best way to get in touch (email, cell, etc.). If the artist is a good fit, someone from our team will reach out.

Application deadline: Midnight, March 12, 2018.