Graffiti mural with the words, "togeter, we create!"
Project Type - Artistic Initiatives

Creative Minds

Supporting brain health in vulnerable San Francisco neighborhoods through education, social connection, and creativity
Northern America


Established in 2020, Creative Minds is the San Francisco community arts for brain health initiative. This unique collaboration between the UCSF MAC Community Outreach Program (MAC COP) and Atlantic Fellows at GBHI engages older adults in underserved and underrepresented neighborhoods through photography, art, storytelling, movement, and craft-making. Creative Minds partners with community centers and clinics throughout the city to incorporate brain health education and offer these creative experiences informed by the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of San Francisco Bay Area community members. 

Project Details

In response to an open call for proposals, Creative Minds was established in 2020 through the Dignity Fund at the Department of Aging Services. Atlantic Fellows at GBHI collaborated with Dr. Serggio Lanata, Gloria Aguirre, and the MAC COP to develop creative experiences of art, theatre, and craft-making to engage community members living in some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. 

Overcoming challenges from the COVID-19 Pandemic, Creative Minds pivoted programming to a virtual space in May of 2020, spearheading the delivery of brain health education and creative workshops online and hosting its first arts in health exhibition in December of 2020. New projects are developed each year that leverage this virtual expertise to expand opportunities for SF community members, including photography, movement, and storytelling through art. 

Creative Minds hosts annual arts in health receptions and exhibitions in close collaboration with community partners. The program’s first in-person arts in health exhibition took place in partnership with Mission Neighborhood Center in December of 2021, showcasing art, photography, and crafts created by participants during the height of shelter-in-place orders. In August of 2023, Creative Minds hosted it's largest exhibition to date, Community + Art + the Brain, displaying the creative works of over 100 community members and hosting a series of arts in brain health events over 9 days. 

This program serving the community is generously funded by the City of San Francisco's Department of Disability and Aging Services and philanthropy. It is also supported by the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and GBHI.

San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services Logo



UCSF Memory and Aging Center logo


GBHI logo