Art for The Blind

One time in art class our assignment was to draw our hands, our faces, and shoes without looking at the paper. It sounded ridiculous, and that’s what it felt like to. Staring into space while my hand tried to at least stay on the page. The end product was obviously ugly and it didn’t even look like the hand I was trying to draw hand.

It made me think about what I would do if I was blind. I couldn’t imagine living in a world full of darkness. Art is the only thing I’m good at and without my sight I would go insane. Of course people overcome these obstacles and end up doing amazing things.

Ever since I got got glasses for the first time when I was nine, I’ve developed an immense fear of going blind. I hate going to the eye doctor because I know my vision just gets worst every time. It toke forever for me to get contacts because I was too scared to get anything near my eyes and I didn’t want to live with the the fear of being more open to getting an infection (this fear only grew by the show Monsters Inside Me and the stories of people going blind or having their eyes being eaten out by some microscopic creature).

One time I seriously thought I had an eye infection and I didn’t want to go to sleep at night with fear that I would wake up blind. I even told my friend, “I’m going blind, I’ve accepted it”. Then I went to get it checked up and it turned out I had nothing. How embarrassing. Here I am freaking out over going blind and my optometrist is probably laughing at me (well, he shouldn’t, he still got payed).

I have never thought of how the blind will never be able to see the amazing artwork created through out the years that can not be explained through words. Now the blind will be able to touch some of the most famous art works through a new exhibit entitled Touching the Prado at The Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Some of the biggest artworks have been turned into 3-D replicas of themselves to allow people to touch the pieces. This is possible due to the technology developed by the printing company Estudios Durero near Bilbao, Spain. The process is started by creating a high resolution photograph of the original painting. Next textures and the the features to be enhanced are selected. Then a print with a special ink is created and chemicals are added to add volume to the surface.

The visitors are accompanied with an audio guides. Regular visitors can also go to the exhibit, they too are accompanied by an audio guide along with a mask for their eyes that will help them better understand what the blind are experiencing.

Many other museums have programs for the blind. Some of these include The National Gallery and The Metropolitan Museum of art in New York who have classes and special tours.

It’s cool to see all the programs the art community is creating to allow everyone to get the same experience of art.


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