Art Institute of Chicago hosts Touch Gallery exhibits for visually impaired visitors

Art museums across the country have found creative ways to accommodate art lovers with disabilities, especially those who are blind and visually impaired.
February 2, 2014 6:47:58 AM PST
Art museums across the country have found creative ways to accommodate art lovers with disabilities, especially those who are blind and visually impaired.

The Art Institute of Chicago has exhibits that goes beyond audio guides.

Due to preservation of artwork, touching is mostly off-limits, but there's an area of the museum that encourages it.

Lucas Livingsten, assistant director of senior programs, says the Touch Gallery has been available for a number of years. Four years ago, they moved it to a newer and brighter wing

" It's much more prominent location with natural daylight on the works of art," Lucas said.

The sculptures were selected for specific reasons.

"Because they represent work from different periods different cultures of civilizations around the world, different material -- marble, bronze granite-- to a variety of textures that visitors are able to touch," said Lucas.

The Institute also has five tac tiles representing some of the world-renown art.

Tac tiles are roughly eight by ten inch plastic tablets [that] replicate, reproduce or interpret works of art-- painting mostly, in the Art Institute's collection," Lucas said. "A new project on the horizon is exploring 3D printing, having physical analog of physical work in the collection for non-sighted visitors, as well as people with dementia, to see if those physical objects add to the gallery experience."

The Art Institute of Chicago has a strong commitment to making programs and services as accessible and adaptable as possible.

"It's an effort to improve accessibility at Chicago's cultural organizations, not only making their place accessible, but also offering specific programming for the community with disabilities," said Lucas.

To inquire about specific accommodations, contact the Art Institute of Chicago prior to your visit.

www.artic.edu


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