Seaside exhibition helps the blind to 'see'

Australia's
Sculpture by the Sea exhibition is partnering with Accessible Arts, the peak arts and disability organization in New South Wales, to provide a series of Tactile Tours for art lovers with impaired vision.

Sculpture by the Sea is an annual exhibition that takes sculptures out of the gallery and onto the beach. Hundreds of thousands of art lovers are attracted to the free cultural event where visitors can take a walk along the beach and contemplate over 100 contemporary artworks juxtaposed with Australia's natural surroundings.

In 2010 the "In Touch" tours will also be offered to people with intellectual disabilities and art lovers with a low level of English.

"These guided tours through the exhibition site of Mark's Park will encourage people to interact and engage with a series of stimulating artworks that are safe to touch and located in easily accessible areas," say organizers who piloted the Sculpture by the Sea audio tours for people with vision impairment in 2009.  

The tours encourage participants to engage with the artworks which will line Australia's iconic coastal landscape as part of the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.

Many art organizations have started to implement sensory and or audio-described tours to make artworks more accessible for vision-impaired or disabled visitors.

Australia's Art Gallery of NSW offers free guided sensory tours of selected sculptures and objects in their permanent collection (which must be organized in advance) as do New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

To help vision-impaired art students learn about fragile paintings they cannot physically touch, an organization by the name of Art Education for the Blind, Inc. has developed "tactile diagrams" that help people 'see' through touch.

Sculpture by the Sea's tactile tours coincide with Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month, an event that is held around the world in October to "address the problem of making pictorial literacy and access to the world of art a reality for all blind people."

The Sculpture by the Sea Tactile Tours are free to the public but must be booked in advance by calling +61 (0)2 8399 0233 or emailing education@sculpturebythesea.com.

Sculpture by the Sea Tactile Tours:

Audio Described - When:
Wednesday, November 3, 5:30pm-7pm
Saturday, November 6, 10:30am-12pm

Easy English - When:

Saturday, November 6, 1pm-2:30pm
Wednesday, November 10, 5:30pm-7pm

Sculpture by the Sea takes place from October 28 to November 14 along Sydney's Bondi Beach.

http://www.sculpturebythesea.com/
http://www.aarts.net.au
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/education/k-6/excursions/access-programs/blind-vision-impaired/
http://www.artbeyondsight.org/
http://www.artbeyondsight.org/change/aw-index.shtml

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