Djerassi Resident Artists Program




Winter Artists

Alumni Updates

Artists Resources


Session One Bios

April 5 - May 3 

Natalya Burd, San Jose, CA. Visual Artist. Burd was born in Bishkek, Kirghizia, which at the time was a republic of the USSR. After graduation with distinction from the Kirghiz State College of Art and later The Stroganoff Moscow State Academy of Arts and Industry (Monumental Panting and Decorative and Applied Glass), she immigrated to the US in 1996. She made her way to the Pacific Northwest where she earned a BFA from Oregon State University followed by an MFA from the University of Washington in 1999. She has had one and two-person exhibitions at Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, CA; Sarah Spergeon Gallery, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA; Art Object Gallery, San Jose, CA; and Wiseman Gallery, Grant's Pass, OR. Burd has participated in numerous group shows in California, Oregon and Washington. She is represented by Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco. In her current work, she is depicting the relationship between the natural world and human history.

Christy Chow, Hong Kong. Visual Artist. Chow was born and grew up in Hong Kong. She has a background in theatre stage management and cultural studies. In her art projects, she transforms mundane and tacky objects through mismatch of materials, tools and processes to create surprises and new definitions concerning humanity, sustainability, social justice and gender politics. Her practice is interdisciplinary and involves video installations, interactive sculptures, performances and socially engaging art events. Chow holds a BA from The University of Hong Kong, a BFA from RMIT University and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is a recipient of awards including The Best of the Northeast Masters of Fine Arts (2015) and Boston Young Contemporaries (2015). Her work has been exhibited widely in Hong Kong, the United States and Spain.

Rukhe Zaidi, Lahore, Pakistan, Visual Artist. Zaidi received her MFA from Punjab University, and started her career in 1985 as a lecturer at the Fine Arts Department of Punjab University. Working at Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO gave her a new insight into how government departments were working in her country. As a practicing artist, she has been exhibiting her work since she was a student in the 80s, in Pakistan and abroad. She has had a slide show at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and painted a mural in Italy. She has lived in many countries of Europe, Asia and the United States at artists’ residencies and believes that these residencies nurtured her artistic pursuit and presented opportunities for her to introduce a different perspective and an in-depth perception of her heritage to everyone she came in contact with. She is currently working for a school system (more than 180 branches in Pakistan) as the Systems Manager for Art, one of her major responsibilities has been the development of an art curriculum for Classes 1 to 8 and designing and conducting workshops and courses of professional development for hundreds of art teachers all over Pakistan.

Music Composition

Žibuokle Martinaityte, New York, NY. Composer. Described by WQXR as a "textural magician", Martinaityte is a New York-based Lithuanian composer whose works explore the tensions and longings of identity and place. She creates sonic environments where musical gestures emerge and disappear within transparencies and densities of sound layers. It’s music that slides on the very blades of emotions. Her selected compositions include A Thousand Doors To The World commissioned on the occasion of “Vilnius – Culture Capital of Europe 2009” and broadcast by Euroradio – the “virtual concert hall” of 4 million listeners; Horizons premiered in 2013 and in the USA at the 2015 Composers Inc. concert in Berkeley, CA., and received the Lithuanian Composers Union Award as Best Orchestral Performance (2014). She has had commissions with MATA festival (NYC), and won the “Look&Listen” Composers Competition Prize (NYC). She was granted fellowships for creative residencies at the MacDowell Colony for Artists, Aaron Copland House, Millay Colony and the Cité internationale des Arts in Paris. Martinaityte received her BA and MA in Music Composition from The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.


Tori Lawrence, Lawrence, KS. Choreographer. Lawrence is director-choreographer of Tori Lawrence + Co and creates immersive site-specific dances, intermedia performances, and dances for the camera. She currently teaches at the University of Kansas. Her work inspires an imaginative and sustainable way of looking at, thinking about, and using space.  Philadelphia Weekly describes her site-specific work as “poignant,” “stunning,” and “arresting.” Her live performances and films have been presented nationally and internationally, including three site-specific performance commissions by the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and a recent commission for the stage by the Lawrence Arts Center. Other presenters include: Philadelphia Dance Projects, Stockholm Screendance Festival, Screendance Africa, Portland Maine Film Festival, Ireland's Light Moves Festival of Screendance, Legion Arts, and Cyprus International Film Festival, amongst others.  Residencies include: Charlotte Street Foundation, Dance Ireland, Workshop Foundation (Budapest, Hungary), and Ucross Foundation. She received her MFA in Choreography at the University of Iowa, where she was a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship, and a BA from Franklin & Marshall 


David Adjmi, Los Angeles, CA. Playwright. Adjmi’s plays include Marie Antoinette, Elective Affinities (with Zoe Caldwell), Stunning, The Evildoers, and others. He recently finished a new play entitled The Stumble about the composer Oscar Levant, and is developing a new piece entitled Stereophonic with Daniel Aukin and Will Butler (Arcade Fire). David's memoir Save Us, Superman! from HarperCollins, and a second play collection from TCG, 1789 / 1978, are forthcoming. His awards and fellowships include American Academy of Rome, Artist in Residence (2015), Bogliasco Fellow (2015), Steppenwolf Theatre production (2015), Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), Whiting Award (2011), and University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop (M.F.A, 2001). He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Leland Cheuk, Brooklyn, NY. Writer. Cheuk is the author of the story collection Letters From Dinosaurs (Thought Catalog Books, 2016) and the novel The Misadventures Of Sulliver Pong (CCLaP Publishing, 2015), which was an Amazon National Bestseller in Asian American Literature. His work has been covered in VICE, The Millions, The Rumpus, Asian American Writers Workshop, among other outlets. Cheuk has been awarded fellowships and artist residencies at The MacDowell Colony, I-Park Foundation, and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. His work has appeared in publications such as Salon, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, [PANK] Magazine, and elsewhere. He is the founder of the indie press 7.13 Books. He lives in Brooklyn. You can follow him on Twitter @lcheuk and at

Esther Lee, Atlanta, GA. Poet. Lee is a poet, essayist, and letterpress fanatic. A Kundiman fellow, she is the author of Spit, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize, and her chapbook, Blank Missives. Her writing, visual art, collaborations, and book arts projects have appeared in Ploughshares, Verse Daily, Hyphen, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University where she served as Editor-in-Chief for Indiana Review. Her honors and awards include the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, Snowcroft Prose Prize, and Utah Writer’s Contest Award for Poetry selected by Brenda Shaughnessy, as well as three Pushcart Prize nominations. She received her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Utah, her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Indiana University, and her BFA in Studio Art from Florida State University.

Emily X.R. Pan, Brooklyn, NY, Writer. Pan is the author of The Astonishing Color of After, coming in spring 2018 from Little, Brown in the US and Orion in the UK. During her MFA in fiction at NYU she was a Goldwater Writing Fellow and the editor-in-chief of Washington Square Review. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine ( and lives in New York City.

Robert Plowman, Halifax, Canada. Playwright. Plowman is a playwright and collaborative theatre artist. His work has been presented across the United States and Canada. Robert’s play Radium City is published in the New Canadian Drama anthology series; and The Missing Link appears in the fall 2014 issue of Southern Theatre. As well, his critical writing has been featured in Theatre Research in Canada and in Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre. His site-specific work includes the guided tour The Common: For As Long As You Have So Far and the audio installation Folkloremobile. Robert’s work has been developed with the support of the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Playwrights Theatre Centre Colony, and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. He is the winner of the 2014 Getchell New Play Award and the 2014 Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Development Award. He holds an MFA in Playwriting as a member of the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University.

Allison Akootchook Warden, Anchorage, AK, Interdisciplinary Artist. Warden is an Iñupiaq interdisciplinary artist and rapper and also the co-leader of an Iñupiaq traditional dance group, the Kisa?vigmiut Traditional Dancers.  She is the recipient of a 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities for her work with Alaskan Native youth throughout Alaska.  In 2016, she debuted her solo installation/performative work at the Anchorage Museum, called “Unipkaagusiksuguvik (the place of the future/ancient)”, where she built an Iñupiaq ceremonial house that existed between the hyper-future and the super-ancient.  The show was supported by a 2015 Rasmuson Individual Artist Fellowship and a 2016 Art Matters grant.  In 2017, Warden is focusing on her rap album collaboration with artist WD4D, who is based out of Seattle.





Djerassi Resident Artists Program
2325 Bear Gulch Road  
Woodside, CA 94062

650 747-1250