How To Celebrate

How To Celebrate ABS's Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month

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Whether you are a museum educator, a teacher of children or adults who are blind or visually impaired, the parent of a child with vision loss, an amateur or professional artist, a librarian, or pretty much anyone else, there is a place for you in Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. If you are affiliated with a cultural organization, you can get it involved. If you are independent of any educational/cultural organizations, you can write, call, and visit cultural organizations in your area to tell them about Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month and urge them to participate. If they are not accessible, urge them to learn how to make their facilities and/or programs accessible to all, and encourage them to participate in Awareness Month’s Telephone Conference Crash Course, which features hourly sessions on access.

Awareness Month provides many ways for an institution to make itself and its public aware of the many opportunities in the arts open to people with vision loss. They can and should have access to the world's visual culture. They should be able, as well, to participate in art making and reap all the benefits associated with it. These include, but are not limited to, a unique form of self-expression, self esteem, enhanced pictorial literacy, and the development of essential pre-reading skills. People who are blind should take their place in the arts and museum communities as participants, contributors, and employees.

Awareness Month is a chance for museums, libraries, schools, and other community institutions - even individuals - to showcase the work they are doing to promote art education for people who are blind and visually impaired, as well as to raise public awareness. Whether or not you are very familiar with people with vision loss who are part of your community, whether you have a well-established program, or are only just beginning, this is for you.

There are Awareness Month programs and events for any budget and schedule. If you have the funding and space available, you can have an open house complete with expert guest speakers and an art show; if not, you can gather your team around a phone to listen to the annual Telephone Conference Crash Course experts and ask questions, or have an in-house working group meeting with your educators and custodians.
Your Awareness Month celebration can be as simple or complex as you like. Following are a few tips, and then many, many suggestions of events you can plan.

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Your institution or agency would like to take part in the Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month, SEE HOW...

Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month @Museums
Whether your museum is regularly accessible to patrons who are blind and visually impaired or not, Awareness Month provides an opportunity for you to throw open your doors, invite the community in, and see just how much you really have to offer. It is also an opportunity to learn that many people with vision loss in your community really want to team up and work with you - now's the time to see how far you can get together!

Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month @Libraries
A library has a special place in the community. It is the repository of the products of historical civilization. In a way, the library is the interpreter between past and present generations; between people and ideas far away and day-to-day life. Part of a library's job is to disseminate knowledge, and to do that, it needs to have the knowledge available, and then be able to successfully communicate it to its patrons.

Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month @Schools
Art making, art appreciation, and pictorial literacy are powerful educational and expressive tools, essential to the education and life of well-rounded, complete individuals, and providing students who are blind and visually impaired with the opportunity to improve specific abilities. These include mobility skills, body awareness, and braille. Schools and classroom teachers play a role in creating lasting change in the education community and in the lives of students.

Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month @Recreational Facilities
Community centers, halls, sports arenas, and all sorts of recreational facilities can contribute to the essential mission of Awareness Month. Check out our suggested list of activities, and maybe come up with some of your own!

Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month @Agencies Representing People who are blind and visually impaired and Their Families

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Eugene Delacroix's painting, Liberty Leading the People, 1830, France
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