“I see neuroscience being used interchangeably with psychology sometimes,” said Ariel Huang, 17, a Santa Clara resident. “But to me, neuroscience is more of a biological study, from brain structure to brain function.”
“I’m interested in a lot of different fields of science, and I especially like exploring how those fields interact,” said Maya Sriram, 17. “I like neuroscience in the context of a bigger picture; for example, how neural pathways can be affected or changed by nanotechnology and stem cell manipulation.”
Both Huang and Sriram are involved in Art 4 Neuroscience, a student-run nonprofit organization registered with the California Secretary of State. Sriram co-heads the group with fellow student Bridget Liu, while Huang works in public relations.
Back in July, Art 4 Neuroscience, raised $1,000 at an art sale held at the Los Altos Community Center. Members of this group donated their artwork to help benefit organizations, such as the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-oncology Consortium Foundation.
“100% of our proceeds go to neuroscience organizations in the Bay Area to fund their research,” Huang said. “The art is done by artists from my school, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley. The artistic topics can be broad and don’t have to be about neuroscience. Some of the paintings are in watercolor or acrylics. We also have a lot of photography. We host art sales in the Los Altos Community Center twice a year, in the summer and in the winter.”
“We have both art and photography pieces,” Sriram added. “Most of the people who buy from us seem to like smaller-scale art, rather than big, expensive pieces. The sale is not held at a fancy gallery, or anything, but it’s easy for everyone to find something they like. In terms of photography pieces, we have photos of almost everything, from a pier to birds flying in the air.”
“I’m currently working on a blog where members can talk about different areas of neuroscience,” Huang said of her plans for Art 4 Neuroscience outside of art sales. “In a future blog post, we are planning to look at neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which is the fifth leading cause of death for the elderly.
“Because our organization is an intersection between art and neuroscience, we want to promote the exploration of how art can possibly be used to strengthen memory and serve as a form of therapy for a patient of Alzheimer’s,” Huang continued. “In another blog post, we might look into brain cancer as well. We aim to study the formation of glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor.”
According to Huang, a communications platform hosts the group’s weekly meetings.
“Anybody can join our group,” Huang said. “Members should be older than 13. At meetings, we receive new assignments from our manager. We check in on past assignments and brainstorm new ideas for fundraisers, our blog and new additions to our web site and organization.”
Art 4 Neuroscience’s next art sale will be in late December or early January. Visit the group’s website at neuroartauction.wixsite.com/home/ for event details. There you can find details on how to apply for volunteering in the organization and how to get on the email list.