Life of a Neuron Debuts at Artechouse

We’ve spent a lot of time in the past 18 months focused on our bodies and mind thanks to COVID-19. We’re all trying to stay healthy physically and mentally and depending on who you ask, staying healthy means a lot of different things. When you’re watching this unfold on the news or discussing it with friends and co-workers, it can feel exhausting. So it was really refreshing to see Life of a Neuron, the new exhibit at Artechouse, creatively illustrate both the science and beauty of what is going on inside our heads. 

As the website describes, the exhibit brings artists and scientists together to explore how the brain shapes the human experience. Through collaborations with the Society for Neuroscience, Life of a Neuron uses stunning visual lights and sound to showcase brain activity from pre-birth through death. There is one main exhibit with sound and lights covering the floor and 4 walls. This immense experience is what makes the exhibit special but it’s important to be aware of your own sensory limits.

To me, this exhibit arrived at Artechouse at exactly the right time. It is humbling to sit in a room with such an artistic interpretation of the science going on in our own bodies illustrated. As I sat and took it all in, I felt the progression of life through the change from color to dark. Sounds of vibrant life to the last moments before death paint a unique picture of the human experience. It illustrates the very literal activity in all our minds and captures the more abstract beauty of what it feels like to be alive. 

Life of a Neuron also has two other rooms that explore the brain more in-depth. One of the smaller rooms features an eye with a camera behind it. As you move around, you can watch how the image of your movement is processed and sends visual signals to the brain. In another room, you can see visual representations of how the brain is clouded as a result of continuous drug use. 

Sitting on the floor in the main room at Artechouse

Artechouse: What You Need To Know

Good For: Artechouse is for anyone who enjoys art. It’s perfect for a date night, friend group outing, or adventure with the kids. There is a bar open from Thursday to Monday starting at 11 am but drinks are contained to the bar area. Mocktails are also available. 

Where: The exhibit is located inside at 1238 Maryland Ave SW – a short walk from L’Enfant Plaza metro station. Street and garage parking is also available. Masks are required. 

Rotating Exhibits: Exhibits rotate at Artechouse about every 2 to 3 months. Past exhibits have included art celebrating the cherry blossoms, Northern Lights, and other science-related topics. 

Time and Cost: Life of a Neuron runs from November 23 and is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. Tickets are $24 for adults, $17 for children, or $75 for a family of 4. The experience lasts about 45 to 90 minutes so it’s worth it to pick an exhibit you think you’ll really enjoy. 

At a Glance

  • Art with a high-tech twist
  • $24/adults, $17/children
  • 1238 Maryland Ave SW
  • L’Enfant Plaza (green, yellow, orange, blue, silver)