About Art Beyond Sight

About Art Beyond Sight

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"ABS NEWS & VIEWS"
NEWSLETTER
Art Beyond Sight (ABS)

ABS in Action!

Art Beyond Sight Publications

Elisabeth Axel
Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel
ABS Founder and Executive Director
"I founded Art Beyond Sight in 1987, when my grandmother, a gifted artist and lifelong art lover began to lose her sight. As we continued to visit museums together, we were dismayed by their lack of accommodations and services for blind, visually impaired, and disabled people. I was appalled that this could happen in New York City, with all our wonderful museums, cultural riches, and openness to diversity, and I knew I had to do something to change this situation!

"As a museum educator, I also knew that we could find ways to bring art to blind people, and that learning about, appreciating, and creating art would improve and enrich the lives of blind people as it does for sighted people."

 

Art Beyond Sight, Inc. (ABS)

ABS’s mission is to make art, art history, and visual culture accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. Our goal is to provide and promote the tangible benefits of art education, museum visits, and art making for children and adults with sight loss – to give those who cannot see equal access to the world’s visual culture and the opportunity to experience the life-enhancing power of art.

First AEB class
Our fundamental belief is that people who are blind or visually impaired must have access to the world’s visual culture if they are to participate fully in their communities and in the world at large, that it improves the quality of their lives, and helps them gain skills crucial to their education and employment opportunities.

Headquartered in New York City, ABS carries out its work as the leader and facilitator of an international, multi-disciplinary collaborative of sighted and blind museum professionals, artists, educators, scientists, scholars, rehabilitation professionals, and blind and visually impaired advisors throughout the world.

Activities of ABS

Francesca Rosenberg and MOMA blind visitor
1. ABS creates accessible art and art education programs that many museums provide for their blind and visually impaired visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blind woman and guide on touch tour
2. ABS provides the educational materials and guidance to help the museums establish and maintain these programs.

ABS partners with museums in New York, across the nation, and around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, Whitney Museum of American Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Guggenheim, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Miami Art Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum in England, and Musée du Louvré in France.

 

Awareness week poster

3. ABS coordinates the activities of the Art Beyond Sight Collaborative and its annual Awareness Month. Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month is an annual series of special exhibits, demonstrations, and conferences at museums, schools, libraries and other educational and cultural institutions, along with online discussion groups and a unique interdisciplinary telephone seminar. The goals of Awareness Month are to raise awareness and to bring together professionals, educators, researchers, the media, sighted and blind artists, and art lovers from around the world.

 

 

Kennedy and Armagan at table

4. ABS advances knowledge in the issues of blindness, art, sensory perception, and the capabilities of blind people by bringing together professionals working in many different disciplines including museum education, psychology, brain research, and software development.

 

 

 

 

Armagan making a drawing
5. ABS encourages people who are blind and visually impaired to create art, and helps them promote their work. In 2004 ABS organized a New York City exhibition of the work of Esref Armagan, a congenitally blind artist from Turkey.

painting of flowerspainting of fish

ABS also introduced Mr. Armagan to the NYC museum community at a symposium organized at the American Folk Art Museum.

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ABS in Action!

Check out the wide range of recent ABS activities!

DressDressing for Success.

2007. Occupational and Art Therapy with school-age children in Brooklyn public schools. A model project.

 

 

 

 

Pearl RosenFOLK ART MUSEUM SYMPOSIUM

June, 2004. Pearl Rosen, National Center for Disability Services, at ABS's Symposium "Re-Visioning Art, Art History, Aesthetics and Creativity" at the American Folk Art Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

Press conference groupAWARENESS MONTH PRESS CONFERENCE

October 11, 2004. Associate Director kicks off the Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month Press Conference, with representatives of the NYC museum and arts community and the National Federation of the Blind.

 

 

Group at Armagan ReceptionESREF ARMAGAN RECEPTION

June, 2004. At the ABS-sponsored exhibition and reception for blind artist Esref Armagan, from left, Kicki Nordstrom, Secretary General of the World Blind Union, Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records, Esref Armagan, ABS Director Elisabeth Axel.

 

 

Apollo GroupABS/APOLLO THEATER EVENT

November, 2004. From left, ABS Director Elisabeth Axel, Jimmy Carter of The Blind Boys of Alabama, and guests Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hill.

 

 

 

conference posterABS AT ITALIAN CONFERENCE

October, 2004. Associate Director represented ABS in Ancona, Italy, at Museo Omero's "Art Within Reach," an international conference on museum accessibility for blind people.

 

 

 

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Art Beyond Sight Publications

Art History Through Touch and Sound: A Multisensory Guide for the Blind and Visually Impaired (multimedia package)

Art Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment (book published by ABS and AFB Press)

Art Beyond Sight. A Demonstration of Practical Techniques for Teaching Art to People with Visual Impairments (video produced by MOMA and ABS)

 

covers of Art History through Touch and Sound Volumes Art History Through Touch and Sound: A Multisensory Guide for the Blind and Visually Impaired
(multimedia package)
A groundbreaking multi-volume art history series for people who are blind or visually impaired that is the result of nine years of research, development, and testing by Art Beyond Sight. The series spans the history of art, from prehistoric through contemporary, guiding the reader through a journey that has long been denied to blind and visually impaired audiences.

Hands touching tactile drawingEach volume contains a bound book of tactile diagrams and a companion audio narrative. The diagrams use a lexicon of seven standardized patterns, enabling the reader to acquire a tactile vocabulary. The narrative guides the reader through the diagrams, providing art historical information and richly detailed descriptions of major monuments in the history of art. The success of this two-part system depends on these complimentary components. Professional art historians collaborated with Art Beyond Sight's development team to create audio narratives that convey the historical richness and formal range of some 30,000 years of visual art.

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cover of Art Beyond Sight bookArt Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment
(book published by ABS and AFB Press)
A 500-page book that addresses all aspects of developing museum and community art education programs for individuals with visual impairments.
With the companion video described below, this book serves as a training tool for museum educators, school teachers, or anyone working directly with adults or children with vision loss.

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cover of Art Beyond Sight videoArt Beyond Sight. A Demonstration of Practical Techniques for Teaching Art to People with Visual Impairments
(video produced by the Museum of Modern Art and Art Beyond Sight, narrated by Meredith Viera)

Meredith Viera with bookA one-hour video documentary demonstrating how to make art accessible to children and adults with sight loss; this is followed by eight short bonus instructional features with detailed information on different learning tools, including verbal description, touch tours, tactile diagrams, and art making.

With the companion book, Art Beyond Sight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment, this video serves as a training tool for anyone working directly with adults or children with sight loss.

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Painting by Peter Paul Rubens; detail of woman carrying a basket on her head and holding the hand of a child. Half the image is a tactile drawing, half the original painting.Rubens painting section 2Rubens painting section 3
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