Esther Klein Gallery



The Esther Klein Gallery’s (EKG) mission is to positively impact the cultural life of our West Philadelphia neighborhood and the broader community. EKG programming uses the creative arts as a platform to explore the relationships between art, science and technology. The gallery is home to exhibitions, artist talks, panel discussions, performances and special events. Since 1976, art programming at the Science Center has been a strong and vital force in the community.

EKG is free and open to the public. It is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Rittenhouse Foundation and The Provincial Fund.


3600 Market Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 966-6188

gallery [at]


Open Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., or by appointment


December 13, 2018 - January 29, 2019


In current arts and health research and clinical experiences, participants and patients frequently reflect on there being little or no room in their lives for creative self-expression. Portals highlights how art making can be a portal to: learning about ourselves, enhancing physiological and psychological well-being, enabling interpersonal communication, and helping us visually say the ‘unsayable.’ This artistic metaphor of the portal, when practiced with authenticity, has the potential to connect across demographic differences, disparities, and abilities, serving as a refuge and sanctuary for the human condition.

Researchers at the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University have found repeatedly that active artmaking (in addition to receptive viewing of art) can lead to physiological health such as lowered cortisol levels and activation of the brain’s reward pathway, as well as psychological well-being like improved mood, self-efficacyand creative agency. These findings are independent of any perceived artistic skills, implying that self-expression has the potential to support well-being in artists and non-artists alike.


Furthermore, Viktor Frankl asserted the following: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Artists describe their personal art making processes and inner creative spaces as releases resulting in a state of relaxation as well as an innate drive to discover, uncover, and bring into awareness the parts of themselves they have longed to demystify and with which to reconnect. The connections move within and extend beyond the self to others in ways words cannot explain. The innate healing process of pre-image to execution and expression to seeing again has historically been romanticized and known to artists.

About the Artists:
We are a group of artists with multiple professional identities as art therapists, educators, and researchers in healthcare and community settings. In our professional practice at the intersections of art, psychology, health, and research, we facilitate and support the overall well-being of individuals, families, and communities. By actively engaging in art making practices ourselves, we highlight the importance of arts-based heuristic exploration as a valid resource to encourage compassion and effective communication amongst individuals and groups. Through our private and collaborative creative works, we explore and honor these social intersections to hold the unity of opposites, question normative points of view, promote compassion, invite positive emotions, and identify art making as a viable resource for one’s own healing.

Dr. Girija Kaimal, EdD, MA, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University. Her research examines physiological and psychological outcomes of creative visual self-expression. Girija currently leads three federally funded studies examining arts-based approaches to health among cancer caregivers and military service members. She has led longitudinal evaluation research studies examining arts-based approaches to leadership development and teacher incentives and won national awards for her research. Girija is the Chair of the
Research Committee for the American Art Therapy Association, Assessment Fellow for Drexel University, and, is a practicing visual artist. Her art explores the intersection of identity and representation of emotion. More details on her work are available at,

Michele Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Drexel University where she teaches in the Masters in Art Therapy and Counseling Program and serves as the Creative Arts Therapies Clinical Coordinator at Drexel’s Parkway Health and Wellness in Center City Philadelphia. She is a practicing artist and art therapist assisting individuals with life transitions, loss, depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma. Michele’s personal art making includes painting, drawing, and mixed media construction in response to others’ lived experiences of trauma and recovery, dream imagery, and commentary on social injustices. Her scholarship includes studying the intersection of mindfulness and painting, everyday creativity, and compassion. More information regarding Michele’s “painted meditation” practice can be found at and at Painted Meditation on Facebook.

Nancy MacGregor, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS received her BFA in painting and illustration from the University of Arizona. She has spent the past two decades working as an art therapist after attending graduate school at Drexel University, where she served as adjunct professor and clinical supervisor for many years. Currently, Nancy is the director of an adult psychiatric partial care program and maintains a private practice. As a result of a recent personal loss, Nancy has used her painting as a way to process her experiences and work towards personal growth and healing. “I am better off healed than I ever was unbroken” - Beth Moore.

Katrina Carroll-Haskins, MA is an art therapist currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Arts Therapies at Drexel University. She is an adjunct art therapy instructor at Holy Family University with clinical experiences with populations including autism spectrum disorder, older adults, chemical dependency, and adult male sexual offenders. Her research interests include art therapy education and professional development. Katrina engages in art making as a form of personal expression and self-reflection. Her preferred media include oil paint, mixed media processes, and altered book making.

bioart and bacteria

October 18 - November 24, 2018


A solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed British artist, Anna Dumitriu, will open at the Esther Klein Gallery on October 18th. BioArt and Bacteria explores our relationship with the microbial world and the history and future of infectious diseases.



August 16 - September 29, 2018


An exhibition of works that emphasize the importance of the unseen root in generating the harmonious growth and development of a plant as a metaphor for what may happen in society if communities support or neglect those who have been uprooted. Artist and Educator Dolores Bartholomew, her students, and the Gallagher plant biology laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania have collaborated to create an art installation that explores plant design, architecture and communication. 


June 28 - July 28, 2018


Edith is the IRL sequel to a virtual exhibit that took place at a rural Connecticut gallery. Edith featured works by Colin Klockner that were displayed virtually during the 2017 exhibit Edith’s Ghost at the Ghost gallery, also a project of Klockner’s. Edith ruminates on the idea of the memory palace, a mnemonic device first developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, wherein one can use the memory of a specific architectural space to embed information to be memorized. Edith features a series of sculptures and images exploring concepts about space, memory, and narrative.

phantom limb

April 12 - May 26, 2018


Three Brooklyn-based artists use digital art to illustrate technology as an expansion of our bodies in Phantom Limb. Phantom Limb  features work by Danielle Ezzo, Sophie Kahn and Zach Nader. The exhibit draws attention to the evolving post-digital landscape in relation to the self through diverse forms of digital art.


Zach Nader conducts image-based experiments drawn from the possibilities of contemporary image editing software coupled with the fluidity of pictorial representation. Sophie Kahn combines cutting-edge technology, such as 3D laser scanning and 3D printing, with ancient bronze casting techniques to create sculptures and videos that resemble deconstructed monuments or memorials. The interaction of new and old media engages questions of time, history, vision, identity and the body. Danielle Ezzo uses photography to investigate its relationship to both the historical and new digital aesthetic and how it meets the human form, blending the virtual and physical realms.  Her practice involves connecting visceral, optical and conceptual relationships with one another by creating a new way of looking at the figure through a post photographic – or lens. 

[RE]Imagining science

February 8, 2018 - March 24, 2018


Six teams of researchers based at Indiana University Bloomington reimagined science, and the results were on display at the Esther Klein Gallery (EKG). [RE]Imagining Science showcases researchers’ work in the fields of visual and sound arts, design, sciences and social sciences. The exhibit featured large-scale sculptural objects, photographs, installations, video works, interactive environments, microscopy images, and sound works.

networks within and around us

December 18 – January 26, 2018


Networks are everywhere. They describe how entities—people, objects, and organisms—are connected and interact with each other. By studying the patterns of connections between elements in a variety of network systems, a group of young artists and high school students from the PENN Network Visualization Program discovered the governing principles of physical, biological, and social phenomena.


Yixiong Eason Bai, Brittany Bennett, Cody Bluett, Marie Elcin, John Freeman, Tamir Gorham, Nicholas Hanchak, Sara Hodgson, Rebecca Kellner, Katherine Khorassani, David Krevolin, Adam Lastowka, Evelyn McLear, and Noemi Charlotte Thieves. Curated by Sara Hodgson.


Gut Love: you are my future

October 12 - November 25, 2017 


Understanding the microbiome, the millions of bacteria that live in our guts, is one of the newest frontiers in human health. Gut Love: You Are My Future offers an artist’s perspective as it explores the human condition through the lens of the gut microbiome.


August 17 - September 30, 2017


While art and science are often thought of as two completely separate modes of thought, they are much more closely connected than one might think.  A Mesh Is Also a Snare is a group exhibition presented by the Philadelphia-based artist collective Grizzly Grizzly. The title, A Mesh Is Also a Snare, is derived from an ecological concept that all forms of life are connected in a vast entangling mesh. No construct exists independently from the entanglement, nor does “human” or “nature” exist as a separate hierarchical entity; they are interdependent. The exhibit explores the myriad ways in which technology connects art and science, to illustrate how neither field precedes the other but instead acts upon each other to form new cultural and political ideologies.


June 22, 2017 – July 22, 2017 


Feature Creep, a solo exhibition by Maximillian Lawrence, follows an artist’s journey through creative experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration. The term “feature creep” primarily refers to the ongoing expansion of features in products like computer software, usually making the software more complicated.  Lawrence has adopted this terminology and describes it as the process of life creeping into a piece of work, similar to the experience of recognizing the features of a face in a cloud. By collaborating with a diverse range of musicians, artists, enthusiasts and scientists, Lawrence explores the phenomenon of pareidolic synestheseastic transfigurations, a process in which we are inclined to recognize significant forms in unfamiliar stimuli. 



April 13, 2017 - May 27, 2017


Continuum is a retrospective by sculptor Rebecca Kamen, featuring a collaborative multi-media installation that explores the relationship between inner and outer space. Continuum opened on April 13th and ran through May 27th. Among the pieces in the exhibit were NeuroCantos, a collaboration between Kamen, sound artist Susan Alexjander, and poet Steven J. Fowler. The installation investigates how the brain distinguishes between inner and outer space through its ability to perceive similar patterns of complexity at the micro and macro scale. The piece is made up of cone-shaped structures representing the neuronal networks in the brain with overlapping shapes and rocks that symbolize art’s ability to form bridges of understanding between diverse fields. 

Art at the Science Center: A 40-Year Retrospective

December 19, 2016 - January 26, 2017


After four decades of innovative programming and exhibitions exploring the intersection of art, science and technology, the Esther Klein Gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new exhibit. In celebration of this major milestone as an important institution and a community provider to Philadelphia, Art at the Science Center: A 40-Year Retrospective featured a short documentary film by Marie Alarcon exploring the extensive history of the gallery, with interviews featuring Libby Neuman, and other important people who played a role in shaping the development of EKG over the years.  Libby Neuman was the guest of honor at the exhibit's opening reception. In addition, artwork from the gallery’s permanent collection was on view to the public, featuring work from Buckminster Fuller, Aleksandra Kasuba, James Dupree, and more.


October 20 - November 19, 2016

By Paul Vanouse


The America Project is a live, biological art installation that is centered around a process called “DNA Gel Electrophoresis”, colloquially described as “DNA Fingerprinting”, a process which the artist appropriated to produce recognizable images. Visitors to the installation first encounter what might resemble a human scale fountain or decanter, which is actually a spittoon in which their donated spit is collected. Upon entering the exhibition, viewers will be offered a 1 oz. cup of saline solution and asked to swish for thirty seconds, then deposit into the spittoon. During the installation the artist will be extracting the DNA from hundreds of different spit samples (containing cheek cells) all mixed together. The DNA will not be individuated nor retained. This DNA will be processed to make iconic DNA Fingerprint images of power—such as a crown, warplanes and a flag, which will be visible as video projections of the live electrophoresis gels throughout the exhibition.

Surveillance: An Exhibition of Work on the Observation, Recording, and Storage of Human Activity

August 18 - September 30, 2016

By Daniel Newman and Keith Hartwig


Since electronic surveillance was first used in modern society, it has become a fixture in and around urban settings, altering human behavior and reconfiguring interactions between people.  Surveillance: An Exhibition of Work on the Observation, Recording, and Storage of Human Activity, explored how surveillance has evolved into a common aspect of daily life.  

Intergalactic Geographic Retrospective

June 16 - July 30, 2016

by Pat Aulisio and Josh Burggraf


What will scientific journals look like 3,000 years from now? Intergalactic Geographic Retrospective offered some answers to those who were willing to suspend reality and take a trip into the future.

Methods of Collection 

February 11 – March 25, 2016

A group exhibition inspired by the practice of collecting zoological samples and animal specimens.


Curated by Angela McQuillan, featuring artwork by Terri Aluise, Bedelgeuse, Beth Beverly, Lauren Davies, Greg Eaton, Darla Jackson, Stephanie Metz, Caitlin T. McCormack, Deborah Simon, Tyler Thrasher, Pierre Trombert and Nathan Vieland.


La Mer: Wildlife Series - From Diatoms to Blue Whales

December 3 - January 22, 2016

Works in clay by Marguerita Hagan


October 7 – November 20, 2015

A group exhibition demonstrating mathematic evidence in art, whether the works are directly inspired by math (geometry, fractals, patterns, etc), or if the mathematical principles emerge naturally and reveal themselves from our human disposition towards order.


Curated by Gaby Heit, featuring artwork by Justin Bean, Regina Ceribelli, William Cromar, Jessica Curtaz, Chris Eben, Robert Fathauer, Karen Freedman, S. Leser, Marco Mahler, Henry Segerman, Gabriele Meyer, Maximilian Morresi, Brittany Phillips, Bruce Pollock, Mike Tanis and Andrew Cameron Zahn

A Matter of Softness 

Juan M. Castro

August 26 – September 23, 2015


A creative exhibition using biomedia that reflects on the existence of artificial life and potential long-term challenges and scenarios that it might bring to society.

The Usable Earth

June 12 – July 24th 2015

An exhibition on ecology and its ideologies. 


Curated by Kristin Neville Taylor with artwork by Nate Ricciuto, Allen Crawford, TJ Hunt, Carolyn Lambert, David Scott Kessler and Leila Nadir + Cary Peppermint


Crystal Beings

A crystal inspired exhibition

February 5 – March 20, 2015


Curated by Angela McQuillan, featuring artwork by Alexis Arnold, Jaime Alvarez, Elyse Graham, Malena Lopez-Maggi, Russell Leng, Jonathan Latiano, Christine Nguyen, Chris Ritson and Paige Smith.

Photos courtesy of Jaime Alvarez 



EKG accepts exhibition proposals on an ongoing basis for solo and group exhibitions.  All of our exhibitions connect to themes of science and/or technology. Exhibitions typically run for six to eight weeks.  The exhibition schedule is determined 14-16 months in advance.  We also accept proposals for special events, workshops and performances which can take place indoors or outdoors. Please send proposals to: gallery [at]

40 Years of Arts Programming


In 1976, then-Science Center President Dr. Randall Whaley envisioned a program that explored and promoted the relationship between art and science.  The first “Art in Science” exhibit was a collaborative project involving the Philadelphia Art Alliance and the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (later known as Philadelphia University and now part of Thomas Jefferson University) .  Three artists were selected for a week-long residency at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. Their work was exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 1977.

Art at the Science Center: A 40-Year Retrospective

(Video produced by Marie Alarcon)


In 1981, R. Buckminster Fuller, a World Fellow in Residence at the Science Center, exhibited at what was then called the University City Science Center Gallery. The show included his early drawings, 4D and dymaxion ideas and his latest invention, the dymaxion bookcase. 


The success of these early exhibitions and the connection to the Science Center paved the way for EKG’s primary focus on exploring the intersection between art, science and technology.  To date, EKG has supported over 3,500 local, national and international artists through solo and group exhibitions. The gallery offers a dynamic program and events calendar that is free and open to the public. 

  Sculpture by Aleksandra Kasuba from the first Art-in-Science Exhibition

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