“How does it feel to be blind?” “How do you tie your shoes?” “Why do you wear sunglasses?” These were just a few of the questions that summer art campers asked our guest artist, John Bramblitt. We were lucky enough to have John join us for a day of three different summer art camps. John is an amazing artist who is incredibly patient with children as he teaches them about his artistic process; John also happens to be blind.
The summer art campers had a rare opportunity to meet a real artist, ask questions about his paintings, and got to ask John anything that they wanted to about being blind. John answered all of the questions good-naturedly and even brought in his paintings to let the kids see and touch the works of art.
After John answered all of the questions from the kids, he played a ‘guess the object’ game with them. Each player was blindfolded and then had to handle something from the mystery box. Objects ranged from a stuffed porcupine to a shell. Most of the children were able to correctly name the object that they studied while blindfolded.
John talked with the campers about a series he is working on about sound; he paints colors and shapes that he sees when he hears music. In the studio, we played different songs and the children painted the sounds that they heard while blindfolded. Some of the kids got so into it that they ended up painting right off of their canvas and onto the table!
We visited the Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea exhibition and listened to the sounds of the ocean. The kids enjoyed describing the works of art to John and then we all talked about colors and our senses. Each student picked a color and shared how that color might taste, sound, feel, look, or smell. John said that to him, red felt happy and smelled like the area of a grocery store where they sell flowers.
We continued to talk about our senses, and back in the studio, the campers got to participate in sightless painting. The kids were blindfolded and got to paint the same way that John paints – by using their sense of touch. John brought in raised line drawings for the children and they each got to choose one to paint using paint that we had premixed different textures like sand, flour, and bird seed.
The campers in each class had a great time and were able to learn more about people with vision impairment. They got to meet an artist and learned about his artistic process. And, with John’s permission, the kids got to meet and pet Echo, John’s guide dog. The summer art camp experience with John was a memory that the campers will never forget!
Posted by: Amanda