Future Reflections                                                                                       Convention, 2002

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Art Programs for the Blind: What’s Available?
What’s Accessible?

A Panel Presentation at the 2002 Parents Seminar

Art Panel - four people standing
Art Program panelists (from left to right) Christine Faltz,
Louise Brasher, Dr. Sy Hoffman, and Ann Cunningham.

A very important part of the parents’ seminar agenda on Wednesday, July 3, 2002, was a panel about non-visual access to art, art programs, and museums. Although time was limited for the morning panel presentation, substantial time was allotted for art-related workshops in the afternoon. Special thanks go to Art Education for the Blind (AEB) for coordinating the panel and afternoon workshops, and to Christine Faltz for moderating the programs. NOPBC was especially honored to have Louis Bratcher and Sy Hoffman from the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) at the seminar. They participated on the morning panel and conducted workshops in the afternoon. In 1990, Sy Hoffman founded one of the earliest—perhaps the first, certainly the longest lasting—accessible program for the blind in an art museum. Today, the BMA offers three different docent-guided accessible tours to blind or visually impaired visitors. The tours include opportunities to tactually examine (wearing special plastic gloves) sculptures and other art artifacts on display at the museum. In addition to these tactile opportunities, the program uses music and verbal descriptions by trained docents and volunteers to create a rich and meaningful art experience for blind patrons. Also joining the panel and assisting with the workshops was Anne Cunningham, an artist from Denver who designs and teaches art classes for blind students at the NFB Colorado Center for the Blind.

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