Artist-in-Residence Special Guests

Professor Stephen Macknik

Stephen Macknik

Stephen Macknik is an award-winning neuroscientist and professor at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University. He is a co-author, with frequent collaborator Susana Martinez-Conde, of the international bestseller Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions, and the recently published Champions of Illusion. He has written for publications such as Scientific American, The New York Times, The Sunday Times (London), and How It Works. He has received a number of awards, honoring his scientific work, including The Empire Innovator Award from the State of New York, and his research has been covered by Wired, NPR, PBS's NOVA, and more. With Martinez-Conde, he produces the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. He lives in Brooklyn.

Stephen joined Jeanette in conversation on Instagram Live, Friday, July 10. Watch their chat to learn more about the science of perception, illusion and magic!


Curator Sara Raza

Sara Raza

Sara Raza is an award-winning curator and writer based in New York City where she maintains the curatorial studio practice Punk Orientalism and is a member of the faculty at the School of Visual Arts for the MA Curatorial Practice Program. She is a specialist on global curatorial knowledge, with an academic and professional interest in performance-based practice and architectural art history pertaining to the fluid territories of Central Asia, Caucasus and the Middle East and North Africa. Most recently she was the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa based at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Sara's upcoming book, Punk Orientalism: Central Asia's Contemporary Art, is due in fall 2020. Learn more here!

Sara joined Jeanette in conversation on Instagram Live, Friday, July 17. View their fascinating conversation exploring the intersection of Magic + Art. 

Co-founder Michael Reynolds on the left

Henna Wang and Michael Reynolds

Henna Wang is an art historian and sociologist who is deeply interested in human creativity and connection. Henna’s background is in the arts and international development, and she has worked with organizations from the Met, the Smithsonian, Sotheby’s, Phillips, and the Aspen Institute. For Gesso, she leads on partnerships and design.

Michael Reynolds is an experienced product manager who has worked for venture-backed startups and Fortune 100 clients. For Gesso, he leads on product, content and operations. 

Together with Demtrio Filocama, Henna and Michael are founders of Gesso. Named after the priming layer of paint that must first be applied to a canvas before crafting a masterpiece, Gesso makes audio-first, geo-responsive digital guides that go under the surface of a city. Gesso presents the world’s hidden gems through exclusive original content, a curated selection of podcasts, and official audio tours through the storied cultural institutions and forgotten corners of the world’s most famous cities. Learn more about Gesso.

Henna and Michael joined Jeanette in conversation on Instagram Live, Friday, July 24. View their chat on Magic + Design.

Peg Keiner

Peg Keiner

Peg Keiner is Director of Innovation at GEMS World Academy Chicago, a Google Earth Education Expert, and a Global Goals Ambassador for the United Nations Association Chicago Chapter. She is a current National Geographic Fellow. Her passion is creating space for people to solve the problems that matter to them. She empowers communities by helping them to collect data to drive positive action, and connecting students and teachers to experts and tools that allow them to make a positive impact on their communities. In April 2018, she hosted the first GEMS Global Design Challenge, where students across the Chicago metropolitan area designed solutions to five of the 17 United Nations Global Goals. As a Google Earth Education Expert, she creates curriculum to increase geospatial thinking through storytelling. 

Peg joined Jeanette in conversation on Instagram Live, Friday, July 31. View their chat to discover the magic of nature.

Photo by Becky Thale