Posted on 12/13/2016 at 11:06 AM by Blog Experts
Lindsey Moss is an art teacher in Yorkville, Illinois. Recently, she presented an idea for how to help not just one of her students who is blind, but all her students to feel art to “see” it. Her inspiration came from the “Touch the Art” series of books by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo, in which children can touch, trace, pop, and tug famous works of art. Each well-known piece of art has a textural element added to the pages.
Moss provided choice for her students, allowing them to determine which work of art they wanted to reproduce with another sense, other than sight. She had her students sketch their ideas in their sketchbooks, and then peer conference. She said some of her students—besides adding texture—added a smell, a recorded sound, and even a taste.
Students were asked to limit their artwork to an 8 x 10 sheet of white paper, mounted on an 11 x 17 piece of paper, with a copy of the original artwork mounted above it. Moss shared some of the results: “kids pouring tomato soup onto a Model Magic can to produce a scent for Warhol, students recording screams to make Munch auditory, and a sweet melted chocolate sky to show how they felt about Van Gogh” (Moss, 2016).
To critique the work, Moss had students close their eyes to experience what their peers had done. They also tried to guess with their eyes closed, which original work of art had been reproduced. The completed works of art were hung in the hallways at hand level so everyone could experience the sense of touch.
Carmen Willings (2014) discussed ideas for how to adapt art lessons for students who are blind or visually impaired. She recommended adding scents and textures to playdough and paints and to use a variety of dimensional materials.
Willings (2014) also urged teachers to provide detailed verbal directions about the entire project. This helps to reinforce that all students need guided instruction. Discuss with students the thickness and thinness of the materials being used, discuss if materials or hard or soft, rough or smooth. Discuss shapes of materials, and discuss whether paint jars and glue bottles are empty or full.
She also suggested adding a tactual border around the areas students want to color. Willings (2014) suggested using dimensional glue or paint, a glue gun, wikki sticks, or a sewing pattern wheel poked from the underside to provide the lines.
Verna O’Donnell shared in a video how she has taught art to blind students. You can view the video here: https://vimeo.com/2861400. Michael Kuell (2009) concluded, “Whereas a sighted person looks out, a blind person reaches out. Together through art, they will discover the same things”.
Moss, L. (2016). Touch and feel art history. Retrieved from https://www.theartofed.com/2016/12/13/touch-feel-art-history/?mc_cid=968816b8df&mc_eid=fbdf457d9f
Kuell, C. (2009). Tapping the creativity of blind and visually impaired students. Retrieved from https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/fr/fr28/3/fr280307.htm
Kuell, M. (2009). Art in the dark. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/2861400
Willings, C. (2014). Creative arts adaptations: For students who are blind or visually impaired. Retrieved from http://www.teachingvisuallyimpaired.com/art.html