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Official website for artist Nicole Rademacher
Nicole Rademacher, Rademacher artist, Los Angeles, Chile, Barcelona, interdisciplinary, research-based, contemporary artist, conceptual artist, adoptee, adoptee voices, social practice artist, public practice artist, art therapy
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Mental Health and Well-Being in the Museum

Mental Health and Well-Being in the Museum was a pilot museotherapy program I spearheaded at LACMA. The goal was to use art as a therapeutic tool, engaging and supporting individuals. Participants from diverse communities gathered. Sixteen people participated; among them were individuals struggling with mental health issues, survivors of trauma, and people seeking a creative outlet for self-expression.

The workshop created a transformative experience. Through the power of art viewing, art-making, and sharing, individuals found their voices, connected with others, and discovered new paths to healing. Unexpected events strengthened the participants’ resilience and commitment, solidifying the workshop as an impactful experience.


Mental Health and Well-Being in the Museum highlighted in LA Weekly.


*This program was co-presented with Westmont Counseling Center.

Topographical Map Walking Tour and Workshop

Topographical Map Walking Tour and Workshop was a part of Illuminate LA, an initiative of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, curated by Anuradha Vikram.

Topographical Map Walking Tour and Workshop was a community-based project rooted in museotherapy, a form of art therapy. During the workshop, I led a walking tour of Topographical Map by artist Joseph Young in downtown Los Angeles. I engaged the ten participants in reflection both on the artwork and internally. Afterward, participants were encouraged to make artwork reflecting their experience paying special attention to the recent impacts of changes to land and water usage as is evoked in the mural. Lastly, I facilitated a discussion of their artwork and journeys as Angelenos. The workshop was a powerful experience. Through art as a therapeutic tool, individuals connected with others and gained insight into their own experiences and those of their fellow participants.

Being Adopted, a project by artist and adoptee Nicole Rademacher

Being Adopted

Being Adopted started with an online questionnaire asking the simple question, “If you could choose any 3 words to describe your experience as an adoptee, which ones would you choose?” of self-identified adult adoptees. 251 people responded from 16 different countries generating 371 distinct words. In order to honor their unique experiences, I created colored index cards with their names (as they identified), countries, and three words. The index cards are uploaded to a searchable database. Being Adopted gives voice to our complex experiences as adoptees. The top ten words were: Lonely, Alone, Confusing, Loved, Lost, Misunderstood, Loss, Grief, Angry, and Complicated.


Over November and December of 2019, I used email and social media to crowdsource words that adoptees use to describe their personal experiences.


total respondents


countries represented


distinct words used


The project is ongoing… Are you an adult adoptee?


What are your three words?

Separate/Together, a project by artist Nicole Rademachder


Separate/Together was a community-based project over the course of two days during the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. I developed a series of art-making prompts for participants to engage by drawing on the sidewalk, creating a block-long mural. The project was made in order to allow for social distancing and personalized “art-packs” were designed for each group or person attending. Separate/Together offered a way for the community to cope with the stressors of the new pandemic and the social unrest that was also happening at the time. People came in family groups, “pandemic bubbles,” or scheduled individual times with friends and maintained social distancing. The project was an experiment in providing community care while adhering to public health guidelines.


Separate/Together as part of Drive-By-Art highlighted in Forbes.


This project took place on Hauser Blvd. between Obama and Coliseum in Baldwin Hills in Los Angeles, California on May 30 and 31.


**This project abided by all local and national safety protocols to keep participants safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine.**

All art-packs were after the artist washed her hands thoroughly and used gloves to pack them. The packs were created at least 12 hours before intended use. A maximum of 10 people were able to participate at any given time interval. Guests were checked in upon arrival. All guests and staff were to wear a protective face covering at all times. Participants were encouraged to refrain from bringing large bags. All participants had to maintain a social distance of 6 feet from facilitators and other visitors not in their group. Hand sanitizer was available in multiple locations. Children had to be supervised by an adult. No one who had a fever, cough, or respiratory illness was allowed to participate. Anyone exhibiting signs of illness was not be allowed to participate.

Origin Stories (installation), 2017, a project by artist and adoptee Nicole Rademacher

Origin Stories

Origin Stories was a multifaceted series of community workshops, including presentations by artist-collaborators, a small concert, an exhibition tour, and an exhibition of artworks created by participants. In this work, I drew from my social-emotional arts education, where participants were invited to create stories via a series of visual prompts after presentations and intimate conversations. Individually they each made at least one “inspiration card,” which served as a visual prompt in subsequent workshops. I stimulated dialogue about how we received our own origin stories and engaged participants in art-based activities to recreate their histories. Origin Stories challenged established narratives, promoted connection, and empowered the participants to envision new stories about themselves.


While at first the workshops were presented only to adopted and fostered people, the workshops were expanded to those marginalized by mainstream society, whether through race, gender identity, immigration status, or sexual orientation.


Collaborators: Bitter Party, Jerri Allyn, Santana Dempsey, Nateene Diu, Chelo Montoya, and Jeanette Yoffe, MA, MFT.


*This project was partially funded by the Veridian Community Engagement Fellowship Award and the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Artistic Community Engagement Grant Los Angeles.
Belonging Panels at Acogedor, a project by artist Nicole Rademacher

Belonging Panels

I launched Acogedor as an alternative project space because I wanted to explore deeper–and outside of myself and my own ideas–notions of “belonging,” as I had been examining them in my art practice visually.


As an adopted person, I have spent a lot of time––at least a small part of every day that I can remember––thinking about and agonizing over, my relationship to belonging: do I belong? do I feel it? what does that feel like? is it real? In my many conversations with other adoptees, I hear these questions reflected back to me. I know in my heart that non-adopted persons also feel this. Through these panels on belonging, I wanted to broaden my concept of belonging as the adoptee experience. I invited others whom I knew could speak to the entangled emotions and complex experiences of belonging and not belonging.


Previous panelists: traci akemi kato-kiriyama, Debbie Allen, LM, CPM, W.F. Umi Hsu, PhD, and Angela Waseskuk.

Safe Water

Safe Water is a reflective research project composed of watercolors, writings, sculpture, and community participatory actions. The work considers the process of water purification—taking naturally existing minerals, gases, and organic matter out, and then adding other elements back in—as a metaphor for identity construction for an adoptee or foster alum.


As I was researching water and sustainability, I came across an article that discussed the concept of purified water as losing its taste of place*. It struck me that filtered water functions in a similar way to those who are removed from their biological family losing direct connection to their natural community.


I continued to research the myriad of ways that water can be filtered. This led me to DIY methods of filtration and inspired the idea of doing the project with other adoptees as a participatory action. A part of my process to work through and develop projects is to write, draw, and do other creative activities such as watercolors. I began to make ink drawings of possible filtering methods and filling in the drawings with watercolors. Because this concept is something close to me, this method has helped me process the symbolism. After doing the drawings and watercolors, I realized that this would be too powerful to do with youth. Next, I will make the filters with other adult adoptees; eventually installing the sculptures with water filtering through them in a gallery-like space.


This project has two components: a self discovery component where I deepen the water filtration metaphor for adoption through sculptures and watercolors; and a collective discovery component that consists of the creation of a DIY bio-filter as a participatory action that explores the symbolism further. Furthermore, it would be important to audio record the conversation with the participants about their identities as I facilitate each one-on-one workshop.


*coined by Dr. Peter Gleick, Co-founder, Pacific Institute