Future Reflections        Winter 2012

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Paintings To Touch

Horst Mueller and TorrieHorst Mueller lifts Torrie to help her examine his painting.

by Doreen Franklin

From the Editor: Doreen Franklin serves as vice president of the Florida Parents of Blind Children (FPBC).

"I have been all over the world!" my daughter Victorria (Torrie) told the Federationists at the NFB of Florida state convention in May 2011. Torrie hasn't been around the world physically, but she was featured in a news story through the TV/ABC-affiliate that aired before an international audience on March 22-23, 2011. The story highlighted Torrie's exploration of an art exhibit called Even Hands Can See.

Even Hands Can See displays the work of artist Horst Mueller of Germany. All of the pictures are vividly painted in beautiful bright colors and include tactile features that all visitors can enjoy, whether they are sighted or blind. In fact, Mueller insists, "Please DO Touch My Work."

Our family went to the art display at the Steinhausen Gallery in Stuart, Florida, on March 22, 2011. We were joyfully greeted by Horst Mueller himself. Immediately he took Torrie to several of his pictures in a corner and lifted one off the wall for her to examine at eye level. Torrie loved having the chance to touch these beautiful creations and to see the colors at close range, holding the painting on her lap.

Torrie uses her hands to check out a painting.Torrie Franklin examines a painting the artist set on the floor.

Horst Mueller had given each of his paintings a name, but Torrie gave each one a new name of her own to help her remember it more easily. One piece was officially called "Tranquility," but Torrie renamed it "Cinderella." She was thrilled when Horst showed her the Braille note he had put at the bottom of the painting.

Torrie's dad, David, and I believed it was important for Torrie to experience works of art firsthand, even at the age of seven. It was an added bonus to have the artist there, to talk with him and tell him which paintings Torrie liked best.

Torrie and I attended another showing of Horst Mueller's work, this time meeting up with a group of Federationists from the West Palm Beach Chapter who came on the bus. They had lunch in the park and got the chance to explore the art gallery. When we met Horst Mueller at the gallery, he commented on the news story about our earlier visit and told Torrie that she had been "around the world." She was thrilled! Torrie and I met several Federationists that day, and she told them of her worldwide fame. Our visit to the art display was clearly a special experience that Torrie will never forget!

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