Visual art is thought to be just that, visual. But museums across the country, and particularly in New York, are embracing and encouraging the art experience of VIPs — Visually Impaired Persons. Accessibility programs in museums have gone way beyond building ramps and providing handicap parking to creating programs that use all the senses to “see” the art.
Whether through tactile experiences, guided immersion that helps the visitor “become” the art, or technological innovations, museums are not only providing improved access, they are also broadening minds about what it really means to experience art. As Georgia Krantz of the Guggenheim says, “We all see differently whether we have a visual disability or not.”
So next time you are at a museum, take a minute to close your eyes and consider the art in a different way. Have a friend describe the art in terms the of feelings, sounds, temperatures, and textures they associate with it. Or try to embody the art through movement or posture. See if you don’t get a better understanding of the piece than you had before. That’s really seeing through someone else’s eyes!
Rebecca McGinnis of the Metropolitan Museum of Art points out, “How do you learn about how other people see?…You learn that by looking at art.”
See the full article by Lauren Feiner at Observer.com.