Accessible Art

Happy October! October means another fun month of Art Beyond Sight programs at the DMA! This month many of our programs focus on exploring works of art using senses other than vision. Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month is celebrating 10 years of partnerships among over 250 cultural institutions all over the world. Art Beyond Sight Month is sponsored by Art Education for the Blind and focuses on the idea that everyone must have access to the world’s visual arts in order to fully participate in his or her community. At the DMA, we hope to not only make our programs welcoming to visitors with disabilities, but to raise awareness of making art accessible to people with vision impairment.

Families sketching in the galleries with artist John Bramblitt.

It will be tough to top the fun Art Beyond Sight programming that we had last year, but we will certainly try! In 2011, we focused many aspects of our programming on the sense of taste. For Meaningful Moments and our homeschool program, we welcomed artist John Bramblitt for our programs and program participants learned about how John paints without vision before describing works of art to him in the galleries. In the studio, John talked about how being blind affects his sense of taste and shared some of his ‘taste’ paintings with us. We invited participants to use their sense of touch to explore objects in a tactile box and then sketch the object based on feeling. Next, participants closed their eyes and ate a Jelly Belly jelly bean without knowing the flavor while focusing on the color they imagined they were tasting.

John talking about his process of painting.

Tasty art!

In our Arturo’s Art and Me program, our youngest visitors used their sense of touch to explore objects in tactile boxes before making a drawing that they turned into colorful prints. We invited jewelry artist Leslie Ligon to lead a family workshop and learned all about Braille. Families used Braillers to write their names and turned the Braille text into a pin or hair clip.

Tactile boxes in the studio

Ethan and Leslie Ligon teaching families all about Braille.

This year, John Bramblitt will join us for First Tuesday to meet visitors, sketch with families, and share his artwork. During First Tuesday, families can try their hand at sensory sketching, sculpt with scented play dough, listen to musical stories, and go on a ‘Follow Your Nose’ family tour. For Arturo’s Art and Me, homeschool, and Meaningful Moments programs, we will explore art based on smell and participants will have the chance to use scratch and sniff stickers, car air fresheners, and fresh herbs. John will also join us for a fun afternoon of sightless painting in the studio on October 20. For a full schedule of our Art Beyond Sight programming, check out our Access page.

Posted by Amanda

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Filed under Access, DMA Programs, Homeschool

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