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NARR: When beginning an art project with students, teachers are encouraged to offer a variety of materials: beads, feathers, old wood, feathers, even tape can make this experience a fun one.
DROWER: There's sound, it's tactile, and the color will elicit a lot of imagination. A lot of people do have color concept even if they're completely blind
NARR: Letting students choose the materials they want to use is an important part of art making, especially for students who are blind or have low vision.
DROWER: With these kids, so many decisions are made for them. It's so important for them to be able to choose what they want to do. They're able to make choices, and authentic choices, that will help them to best express whatever it is that they want to express.
It's important to have items in separate containers so that they can discern what's what. It gives it a boundary, and so they have a focus point for what they want and they know where to go.
NARR: Students can choose to make art that relates to their museum experience, a life experience, or one that comes from their imagination. Talking or writing about their art works is another way to spark creativity. Freedom of expression is the most import element in this exercise, and one that helps foster self-esteem, especially for those who have been blind since birth.
DROWER: It is a vehicle in which one sees oneself reflected back. It builds a sense of self that is evidence of who they are. That is so important in anybody's development. And often with people with vision impairments, it's difficult to get that feedback.
NARR : Art making need not be complicated. Raised line drawing boards are a good way to begin.
FOX: A raised line drawing board is constructed of a clip board with a rubber surface, covered by a plastic sheet. When writing on the sheet with a pen, the friction of the rubber against the plastic creates a raised surface. This way the artist can feel what they have drawn.
NARR: Children who make art for the first time often show a great deal of interest in this form of self expression. And if encouraged can learn to draw at a very early age.
KENNEDY: This is a drawing by a blind girl, aged 8. How come she draws so well? Well, from the age of 2 or 3, she was encouraged to draw by her mother.
NARR: Teachers are encouraged to display the students' art, but it is important to first ask permission.
DROWER: A lot of what comes out in here may be very personal, as it is with any artist. And if don't get their permission then I wouldn't be respecting them as people.
NARR: The most important aspect of any art making class is very simple: anything goes.