A Seed Award winner last year, Touch Art is an ongoing program from Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts that opens art-making to the traditionally undeserved audience of blind or visually-impaired individuals. Featuring tactile art forms like paper-making, ceramics and fiber arts, the program aims to touch those interested in art who can’t take most art classes.
“For a blind person to take a mainstream art class, you have to plan ahead,” said blind artist and Pitt grad, Gabe McMorland during a Touch Art feature in the Post-Gazette. “It’s hard to be spontaneous. There’s not enough time to plan everything. Some things go by the wayside. But I think these classes will give me more of a chance to understand the particular art, a foundation. Then I can take the mainstream class.”
The program also is an opportunity for local artist-educators who are interested in studio-specific accessibility training to learn about how to better accommodate artists with visual impairment. Expanding good teaching practices to other artists and studios around the city is all part of Touch Art’s mission to make art and art creation more accessible to the city’s blind community.
Claire Marcus, director of education for the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, told the Post-Gazette that the organization is proud to be involved in Touch Art. “We’re excited to think outside the box,” she said. “We value being inclusive and want to share the love of the arts with as many people as possible.”
If you’d like to be a part of the mission as well, you can attend Touch Art’s educator accessibility workshop on Thursday, January 16th. The course runs from 2-4pm and will teach attendees how to welcome and assist blind and visually-impaired students into art-making spaces and learning experiences.