Djerassi Resident Artists Program




Winter Artists

Alumni Updates

Artists Resources


Session Four Bios

August 2 – August 30

Michelle Acuff, Walla Walla, WA. Visual Artist. Acuff hails originally from the Midwest, but now contentedly calls Walla Walla, Washington home where she is an Associate Professor of Art. Acuff’s artistic practice ranges from object making to installation to video and performance, and addresses the eroding boundary between nature and culture, discourses of authorship, and the exciting intersections of science and art. Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at White Box, Portland, OR; Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA; The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Satellite Space, Nebraska City, NE; and Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA; and in group shows at Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL; Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI; New Jersey Arts Incubator, West Orange, NJ; Green, Attleboro Museum of Art, Attleboro, MA; and Museo del Banco Central, Cuenca, Ecuador. She received her BA in Fine Art from Augustana College, her in MA and MFA in Sculpture from the University of Iowa.

Renee Couture, Glide, OR. Visual Artist. Place is fundamental to Couture’s studio work and research. She uses her own rural community as a starting point for her work in examining the perceived tension between social well being and ecological integrity. She has exhibited as a solo artist at Blend Studios, Nashville, TN; Chemeketa Community College, Salem, OR; Eastern Oregon University, LaGrande, OR; Minot State University, Minot, NE; Southern Oregon University’s Center for Visual Arts, Ashland, OR; The Brink Gallery, Missoula, MT; Pearson Lakes Art Center, Okoboji, IA; and The Wood Gallery, Montpelier, VT. Her group exhibitions include: Disjecta, Portland, OR; TSA Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA; Work Gallery, Detroit, MI; Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL; and Target Gallery of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA. She has received two Career Opportunity Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, and two Project Grants from the Douglas County Cultural Coalition. Couture was a featured artist on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat, and has participated in artist residencies at Jentel, Banner, WY; Playa, Summer Lake, OR; Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska City, NE; and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT. She received her BA in Studio Art from Buena Vista University and her MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Jordan Reznick, San Francisco, CA. Visual Artist. Reznick is a photographer, scholar, activist, and educator. Reznick photographs communities of people with whom they are intimate, exploring both the agency and vulnerability of their subjects. Reznick’s Queer Babes portrait series was recently exhibited at Aperture in New York and Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco and featured in Vice Magazine. They teach photography and photo history at San Francisco Art Institute. Reznick received their BFA in Photography from New York University, and their MFA in Photography and MA in Visual & Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. Reznick is currently a PhD Candidate in Visual Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Stephanie Wilde, Boise, ID. Visual Artist. Wilde is a self-taught artist whose career has spanned more than four decades.  Her work is known for its elaborate and exquisite detail.  It is reminiscent of the delicate imagery of the intricate European textile designs of the 14th century, illuminated manuscripts or Persian miniatures. While her subjects are contemporary, Wilde’s aesthetic, ideals and work ethic are descended from artistic traditions, particularly ones which addressed social, spiritual, or philosophical issues. Wilde has the ability to portray biting social commentary while remaining true to a cultivated aestheticism. Her approach is painstakingly methodical, starting with research supported by scientific, historical and literary sources, while relying on symbolism and historical context to inform a complex narrative. Her works incorporate ink, acrylic and gold leaf in a combination of painting and drawing. Wilde’s solo exhibitions include Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho, Long Beach Art Museum, Long Beach, California; Fresno Art Museum, Fresno California; Harris Fine Art Museum, Provo, Utah; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, Utah; Metro Curates, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York and the Outsider Fair, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York. Her work is included in the permanent

collections, of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; New York Public Library, New York; Library of Congress, Washington DC; Newark Library, Newark, New Jersey; Marriot Library, Provo, Utah; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, California; Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California; Scripps College, Claremont, California; Roll International, Los Angeles, California; Louis-Dreyfus Family Foundation, New York, New York  and numerous private collections. Wilde has received three Fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts through the Idaho Arts Commission; State of Idaho Governor’s award for Excellence in the Arts and Idaho Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellow Grant for painting, New York, New York.

Aleta Hayes, Stanford, CA. Choreographer/Writer. Hayes is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, performer and teacher. Before beginning her career in academia, Hayes lived in New York City for fifteen years where she choreographed many pieces including: Hatsheput, presented at the Place Theater, London and St. Marks Church, New York; Tarantantara, presented at Jacob’s Pillow; and La Chanteuse Nubienne (written by playwright Daniel Alexander Jones), performed for Movement Research at Judson Church. As a dancer, Hayes has had “leading roles in major works by other artists such as Jane Comfort and Robert Wilson. In 2004, Hayes returned to Stanford on a Ford Foundation Resident Dialogues Fellowship through the Committee on Black Performing Arts to create The Wedding Project, a “performance piece of multiple genres illustrating the evolution of American social dance through the narrative of African American wedding traditions.” In 2005, Hayes was named a Peninsula Community Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Eastside Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, where she led The ReMix Project—a “montage of music, monologue, and movement examining student aspirations in a low-income, racially-mixed neighborhood.” Most recently, Hayes founded The Chocolate Heads Movement Band in 2009 (a collective of dancers, musicians, visual artists, performance poets and writers), and has collaborated with performer Cooper Moore to create a dance-music installation called “Singing the Rooms—Performance of the Everyday.” She her MFA in Dance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and her BA in Drama, Dance and the Visual Arts from Stanford.

Music Composition

Gorka Alda, Paris, France, Composer/Multimedia Artist. Alda writes contemporary (electro-acoustic and mixed) music for concerts and performances dedicated to specific indoor or outdoor places; and conceives sound installations for museums and public places. He often collaborates with artists from other disciplines such as poetry, painting, sculpture, scientits, video and dance. His compositions create a dialogue between the poetics of space, the materiality of the place and the universe that contains it. In 2002, the Foundation Chillida-Belzunce awarded Gorka Alda the Prize "Encounter Between the Arts" for his piece Con el aire cortado el hierro, a sound installation with electronic music and chamber groups and soloists in dialogue with the outdoor sculptures of the Chillida-Leku museum. He received his diploma in electroacoustic composition from Conservatoire de Pantin with the highest distinction and an award from SACEM (the French Society of Authors).

Richard Danielpour, New York City, NY. Composer. Danielpour has established himself as one of the most gifted and sought-after composers of his generation. His music has attracted an international and illustrious array of champions, and, as a devoted mentor and educator, he has also had a significant impact on the younger generation of composers. His list of commissions include some of the most celebrated artists of our day including Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Dawn Upshaw, Emanuel Ax, Gil Shaham, Frederica von Stade, Thomas Hampson, Gary Graffman, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Guarneri and Emerson String Quartets, the New York City and Pacific Northwest Ballets, and institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio, and Vienna Chamber Orchestras, Orchestre National de France, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and many more. With Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Danielpour created Margaret Garner, his first opera, which premiered in 2005 and had a second production with New York City Opera. He has received the American Academy of Arts & Letters Charles Ives Fellowship, a Guggenheim Award, Bearns Prize from Columbia University, and grants and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Copland House, and the American Academies in Berlin and Rome. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and Curtis Institute. Danielpour taught at the Manhattan School of Music between 1993 and 2017 and begins a tenured full professorship at UCLA in July 2017.


Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, New York, NY. Playwright. Cortiñas is a theater-maker based in New York and Artistic Director of the Obie winning company Fulcrum Theater. His most recent play Recent Alien Abductions was presented at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. He directed the New York production of Bird in the Hand, which received the coveted designation of a New York Times Critics Pick and is published by Dramatic Publishing. His play Blind Mouth Singing, also a New York Times Critics Pick, completed runs at Chicago's Teatro Vista, and the New York based National Asian American Theatre Company, productions The Chicago Tribune praised as having "visionary wit" and that The New York Times called "strange and beautiful". His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; as well as the Helen Merrill Award; the Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship at Princeton University; “playwright of the year” in El Nuevo Herald’s 1999 year-end list; a Writers Community Residency from the YMCA National Writer's Voice; and the Robert Chesley Award. His plays have also been published by Playscripts and TDR/The Drama Review. He has been commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory and Playwrights Horizons. 

Aleshea Harris, Los Angeles, CA. Harris is a playwright, actor and spoken word poet. She is currently working on projects commissioned by American Conservatory Theater and CalArts’ Center for New Performance. Her work as a playwright has been presented many places including: the Costume Shop at American Conservatory Theater, Playfest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, VOXfest at Dartmouth, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and L’École de la Comédie de Saint-Étienne, National Drama Center in France. Harris teaches in the School of Theatre at CalArts, and through CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership (CAP). She received her BA in Theater from the University of Southern Mississippi and her MFA in Writing for Performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Sigrid Nunez, New York, NY. Writer. Nunez has published six novels, including A Feather On The Breath Of God, The Last Of Her Kind, and, most recently, Salvation City. Her newest novel, The Friend, will be published in February, 2018. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Threepenny Review, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, Tin House, The Believer, and Conjunctions. Nunez’s honors and awards include four Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. She has taught most recently at Boston University, Princeton, and Columbia and has been a visiting writer or writer in residence at Baruch, Vassar, and the University of California at Irvine, among others. She has also been on the faculty of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and of several other writers’ conferences across the country. Nunez received her BA in English from Barnard College and her MFA in Fiction from the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

Milta Ortiz, Tucson, AZ. Playwright. Ortiz is a playwright raised in the Bay Area, currently in Tucson by way of Chicago. Recently she served as playwright/director for Solving for X for the Working Classroom in Albuquerque, which premiered February 2017. Her play, Más premiered at Borderlands Theater in September 2015. Later coproduced in the Bay Area at Laney College, March 2016/ Ubuntu Theater Project, May 2016 and produced at Su Teatro in Denver, May 2017. The Borderlands production tours Arizona Universities through the fall of 2017. As an NNPN playwright in residence at Borderlands Theater, she wrote and developed Más, selected to the Latino Theater Commons Carnaval play festival, made the Kilroy List, was nominated for an American Theatre Critics/Steinberg New Play Award and Citationsand a Tucson Mac award for best drama. Other produced plays include 20th Annual A Tucson PastorelaSonoran Shadows (a shadow play), 19th Annual A Tucson Pastorela, Disengaged, 18th Annual A Tucson Pastorela, Fleeing Blue (university production,) and solo play, Scatter My Red Underwear.She received two City of Oakland Cultural Arts grants and a Zellerbach Family Foundation award to write and perform her solo work in the Bay Area. She earned an MFA from Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program and a Creative Writing BA from San Francisco State University.





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

650 747-1250