About the Artists

Kimberly Kirklin

Kimberly Kirklin, Director of UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine
Kimberly served as the director of education and outreach at the ASC from 2005 – 2014. Kimberly played a major role in the creation of ArtPlay, the ASC’s arts programs for schools, underserved communities, and seniors in non-hospital settings. In 2013, she led the expansion of the ASC’s reach into the healthcare community. A pilot program she co-created is now UAB’s Institute for Arts in Medicine (AIM), a partnership between the ASC and UAB Medicine. Kimberly has a BM in Musical Theatre from the University of Miami in Florida, an MA in Arts Administration from Goucher College in Towson, MD, an MA in Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida, is a 200-hr registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, and is currently pursuing an MA in Counselor Education from UAB.

Lauren Edwards

Lauren Edwards, UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine Assistant
Lauren recently graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in Theatre Management and a minor in Social Work. In the evenings, she works as a stage manager at many local theatres around Birmingham.

Hon Yuen

Hon K. Yuen, OTR/L, PhD, Senior Scientist
Hon is a Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Occupational Therapy with a joint appointment in the Institute for Arts in Medicine (AIM), UAB. His clinical background is in occupational therapy with doctoral training in Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Methodology. He has been the principal investigator on several NIH and foundation grants studying the effects of therapeutic movement such as theater and exergame to improve physical functioning and quality of life among older adults with chronic conditions.

Kim McKenzie

Kim McKenzie, Visual Arts and Guided Meditation
Kim received her bachelor’s degree in Studio Art at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kim leads classes and workshops that use art making as a vehicle for achieving psychological insight, spiritual growth and creative freedom for people of all artistic ability. Kim firmly believes that the creative process can be deeply healing and restorative, allowing one to connect to their heart where true wisdom lies, and life can be informed by the voice of the soul. Trained as a sculptor, her own work in bronze, iron and ceramic is figurative and focuses on her inner world and spiritual growth. She has been leading workshops in process art since 2001.

Lillis Taylor

Lillis Taylor, Visual Arts and Textile Design
Lillis is an artist working in sewing, textile design, and embroidery. Taylor received a BFA in Industrial Design at the University of Washington, Seattle, and an MA in China Studies after working in the toy industry. Taylor weaves her passion for advocacy into Bib & Tucker Sew-Op, a local group of sewing enthusiasts - co-founded by Taylor - that meets weekly in Woodlawn to work on quilting and sewing projects for the community.

Elizabeth Vander Kamp

Elizabeth Vander Kamp, Storytelling and Movement
Elizabeth has been performing for over 30 years now. She studied acting and movement in Boston and Manhattan. While in Manhattan, Elizabeth began teaching Nia, a body mind spirit fusion movement technique and she wrote and performed two one woman shows. Elizabeth gave scores of performances of The Babe’s Back, a solo piece about the world's greatest athlete, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, in colleges, universities, grade schools, libraries, performing arts centers, and living rooms, along with workshops in performance and movement. She returned home to Alabama in 2003 and began telling stories and teaching movement classes on land and in water. Elizabeth is a member of the Alabama Storytelling Association and the Birmingham Calligraphy Guild. She loves exploring the power and beauty of language through the written and spoken word, and in the body. Elizabeth especially loves sussing out the gifts of stories in community and one-on -one encounters. After all, as Muriel Rukeyser wrote, "The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Elizabeth wholeheartedly agrees with this quote and would add, “We, too, are made of stories.”

Helene Taylor

Helene Taylor, Visual Arts
Helene was a pre-school teacher for 10 years, led a parent-infant group, and taught in many after-school programs; including her own Art in the Park- a community art program in Avondale. Taylor would walk into the Avondale Library acting like the pied piper carrying buckets of paint asking, “Who wants to paint today?” Helene manages her husband; Trés Taylor’s, art career but is most fulfilled when she is teaching art.

Melissa Turnage

Melissa Turnage, Dance and Movement
Melissa has been a dance teaching artist in Georgia, Maryland and Alabama. Since moving back to Alabama nine years ago she has worked extensively in rural and city public schools, integrating dance with core curriculum. Melissa has over 40 years of experience in the dance field; performing, choreographing and teaching. Classically trained in ballet her expertise in creative movement and dance fundamentals has enabled her to teach all ages and abilities. She is currently a teaching artist for the Birmingham Board of Education and is an adjunct professor of dance at Birmingham Southern College.

Salaam Green

Salaam Green, Poetry
Salaam is a Freelance Writer, Poet, Speaker, Coach, and Social Entrepreneur. She was the 2016 Poet Laureate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and she earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Salaam joined the Arts in Medicine team in 2017 and is our Artist in Resident for Creative Writing and Poetry.

Valerie Hanks, Visual Art

Valerie Hanks, Visual Art

Valerie received her Associates of Applied Arts Degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Studio Art from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Art in Art Therapy at St. Mary of the Woods College. In addition to working as a graphic designer and art director for over 20 years, she has been involved in humanitarian work with orphanages in Ukraine as well as hosting groups of orphan children state-side. Her own personal journey of adopting older orphan children internationally has given new insight and desire to explore the healing and therapeutic power of creative expression to reach individuals and families through art therapy.

Haleigh Black, Musician

Haleigh Black, Musician
Haleigh has been exploring the world of music for 24 years as a violinist and vocalist. Singing and playing violin have given her opportunities to study how people across the globe are connected and moved by music. In 2018 and 2019, she spent nine months studying traditional music in Turkey, Greece, and Israel. Today she performs various genres of music, from far and near, to help soothe people and offer them a positive human connection.

Melanie Rodgers, Music