NIAD Art Center

Gallery Director
2007 – 2012

NIAD Art Center is a studio and gallery that “promotes creativity, independence, dignity, and community integration for people with developmental and other disabilities.” It was founded by Elias Katz and Florence Ludins-Katz, who opened a series of groundbreaking art centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Creative Growth and Creativity Explored.

In this role I curated all of the onsite art exhibitions, managed the gallery store, inventory, social media accounts, conducted sales, designed public relations material, interfaced with collectors, galleries, museums, and maintained and updated the organization’s website.

One of the biggest highlights during my tenure was working with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) on an exhibit called Create. It featured four NIAD artists: Willie Harris, Marlon Mullen, Jeremy Burleson, and Attilio Crescenti. The exhibition was beautiful and long overdue.

Leaving NIAD Art Center was very emotional. It’s a wonderful community and I grew fond of the artists. They’re talented, charming, and passionate. The experience had a profound impact on me, and I will never forget my time with them. I’m proud to hang their work on my walls.

Graphic Design

Promotion booklet created to promote the artists and program.

Video Production


If you visit NIAD while the artists are working Jeremy Burleson will likely greet you with a hand-numbing high-five, and when you look up from your throbbing digits, he’ll be gone. What could be considered an awkward moment makes sense the more you get to know him. For Burleson, his obsessions in life and art revolve around his own physicality.

Burleson spends his time at a workspace in the corner of the studio, easily identified by the small mountain of white paper surrounding him which he manipulates into sculpture. With masking tape Burleson crafts highly detailed medical instruments, bandages, and equipment. His favorite items include needles that slide back and forth, stethoscopes, and ventilators. In a 2006 exhibit at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Burleson even recreated a hospital room. In addition to making these instruments, Burleson also enjoys showing others how they function. A healthcare professional, who recently witnessed one of these performances, was surprised at how accurately Burleson knew the procedure to draw blood. It’s unclear to staff where this obsession stems from, but it’s obvious that his inspiration produces a very interesting art form.

While Burleson tends to focus on medically related subject matter he’s also fascinated by balloons, lamps, peppers, and jelly beans. These typically appear in drawings Burleson produces that often contain a narrative adventure, such as trips to the local Safeway or Costco. Peppers in particular hold a strong fascination. Burleson used to pick them with his grandfather and he’s drawn to and repulsed by their fire-breathing power.

Burleson’s artwork will continue to evolve and expand for years to come. Recently, his work was on display in New York City at the Outsider Art: Survey 2008 exhibition.