[accessibleimage] Touch the Sun, APH, sculpture, resuming art, dance
- From: Lisa Yayla <fnugg@xxxxxxxxx>
- To: accessibleimage@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Art Beyond Sight Educators List <art_beyond_sight_educators@xxxxxxxxxx>, Access to Art Museums <artbeyondsightmuseums@xxxxxxxxxx>, Art Beyond Sight Theory and Research <art_beyond_sight_theory_and_research@xxxxxxxxxx>, art_beyond_sight_learning_tools@xxxxxxxxxx, art_beyond_sight_advocacy@xxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 07 Mar 2006 08:57:31 +0100
Articles and resources
Read Touch the Sun by Noreen Grice read online for free. Very nice to be able
to preview the book.
from ViewInternational http://www.viewinternational.org/
New from APH /SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine - /A Recreational Approach to
and Graphic Art Tape: 1-08878-00 -- $35.00
articles follow links
Monday, March 06, 2006
Blind date with Italian sculpture
Visitors get touchy at show revealing art's unseen side
(ANSA) - Bergamo, March 6 - An innovative new exhibition in this northern
Italian city enables blind and sighted art lovers to enjoy the unseen side of
modern sculpture .
Visitors to 'Un senso per l'arte' (A Sense for Art) can opt to be taken around
the exhibit blindfold, led by blind guides, who help them discover the works on
show via touch.
"We aim to take able-bodied people into the world of the disabled and use personal experience
to sweep aside many stereotypes," explained Giovanni Battista Flaccadori, the president of the
provincial section of the Italian Union of the Blind, which helped organize the exhibit. "It's
not so much a matter of getting sighted people to understand what it means to be blind, it's more
one of helping them appreciate the extraordinary sensorial possibilities certain physical
limitations open up".
At the end of the tour visitors can take off the blindfold and go around
comparing the sensations they got from touching with what the works actually
The exhibition, which runs at the city's Sant'Agostino church until March 26,
also has explanations and descriptions in Braille, so blind visitors can enjoy
it on their own.
There are 39 works on show by a range of Italian artists.
"We chose different figures and materials too," said Eugenio Benaglia, the exhibition's
curator. "They go from cold bronze to warm wood, from smooth figures to rougher ones; all
united by the same theme - touch." The highlight is a piece by Bergamo sculptor Giacomo Manzu'
(1908-1991), considered one of the most important Italian artists of the 20th-century. Manzu' is
probably most famous for his creation of the doors of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and for the
eight-meter bronze statue of mother and child standing outside the United Nations headquarters in
Although a committed leftist activist, he had an excellent relationship with
Pope John XXIII, who was also from Bergamo.
The Manzu' piece on show here, entitled La Pace (Peace), also depicts a mother
There are works by Elia Ajolfi, Piero Brolis, Alberto Meli, Franco Normanni,
Ferruccio Guidotti, Gianni Grimaldi and Gregorio Cividini too .
The exhibition is open Tuesday to Sunday; blindfold tours must be booked in
Monday, March 06, 2006
Sculpture Exhibit for blind children to open in San Francisco
An exhibit designed to help blind children experience sculpture opens Thursday with a public reception at San Francisco's Zeum museum.
"The Soul in the Hands/El Alma en Las Manos: Touchable Sculpture by Mexican Masters" is a tactile exhibit that seeks to bring blind children closer to the world of visual arts.
The exhibit features works by contemporary Mexican sculptors, including Sebastian, Juan Soriano, Yvonne Domenge, and Vicente Rojo.
The exhibit was organized and produced by several organizations, including the Consulate General of Mexico; the National Council for Culture and Arts - a Mexican state-run agency dedicated to cultural affairs; Zeum - a multimedia arts and technology museum - and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a nonprofit organization.
The opening reception will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday at Zeum, and the exhibit will be on display at Zeum through April 2. Zeum is located at the intersection of Fourth and Howard streets in Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.
More information on the artists participating in the exhibit can be found at:
A LIFE LIVED: Sunnye Neece, 1946-2006
Blindness didn't hinder artist's spirit
By Rob Schneider
Sunnye Neece found life an adventure, whether she was singing, acting,
playing the bassoon or trombone or directing a play.
Even when she became legally blind, Mrs. Neece, 59, who died Feb. 17,
impressed people with her talents as a painter. Her attitude was "life
was good and you need to celebrate it," her husband, the Rev. John C.
While attending high school in Zephyrhills, Fla., she had friends who
raced stock cars, but she had a love of the fine arts, too.
She was a skilled musician, playing the bassoon in a symphony orchestra
when she lived in Michigan.
John Neece met her when they lived in Jacksonville, Ill., and were
involved in community theater. "She had a big smile and was full of
life," Neece recalled.
The couple moved to Indianapolis, where John Neece attended Christian
Theological Seminary. While living on the Near Westside, Mrs. Neece
became the owner-operator of Sunnye's Restaurant, 2541 W. Washington
St., in the early 1990s. Ever since she had worked in her father's
restaurant while in high school, she had dreamed of owning a restaurant,
her husband said.
The restaurant was the kind of place where customers relaxed and
discussed everything from Indiana University basketball to NASCAR racing.
She liked putting out food that "was tasty and looked good, and making
people feel at home," John Neece said.
As her eyesight failed, Mrs. Neece went to the Bosma Rehabilitation
Center for the Blind, where she learned Braille and other skills.
She did a painting for the center that symbolized what it meant to her,
said Kay Hervey, a former program manager at Bosma.
The painting, still at the center, features a dark, oppressive-looking
mountain, connected by a bridge to a sunny world. The bridge represented
the Bosma center, Hervey explained.
For the past five years, Mrs. Neece worked as a secretary at the state's
Vocational Rehabilitation Services office at 3607 W. 16th St.
There she was viewed as an invaluable employee, said Martha Jackson, a
supervisor with the agency. "There was nothing blind about her work,"
A note from a co-worker about Mrs. Neece's death summed up how a number
of people felt about her, said Jackson.
"Considering her disability and her work efforts, we should all think
twice when we complain," the worker wrote.
Other survivors include sons Eric and Andrew Armacoast; daughters Ann
Heskett and Natalie McCoy; a brother, Johnny Lanham; and sisters
Nathalie Gibson and Donna Jo Myers. Services were held Feb. 22 at
Central Christian Church.
Anyone and everyone can dance in Eric Kupers' class
MEDITATIVE, instrumental music washes over the dance studio where Kaatje
Simpson sits on her red motorized scooter stretching out both hands,
palms up, toward her partner.
As Simpson traces arcs in the air, her dance partner's hands mirror the
motion. Without making contact, their splayed fingers come so close to
one another that light barely passes through the gap between them.
Another dancer makes a partner of her wheelchair, deftly twirling it in
an elegant pirouette.
Nearby, a male dancer stands behind a woman with a baby cradled in a
sling against her chest. Arms jutting skyward, the young mother gently
sinks to the hardwood floor as her partner wraps his arms around her,
mimicking her pose.
It's two months into the semester, and Simpson is pleased with her
progress in the twice-weekly dance class for students with mixed
abilities, held for the first time this semester at California State
University, East Bay, in Hayward.
Like many of her classmates, Simpson doesn't look like most people's
idea of a dancer.
A first-time modern dancer at 44, she's not slim, muscular or mobile in
a traditional way.
But when the music starts, Simpson, who lives in Alameda, presses the
button on her scooter and weaves her way onto the studiofloor. About
half of her classmates are able-bodied, the rest work with some kind of
Congestive heart failure and osteoarthritis severely limit Simpson's
mobility. One fellow student is blind; another suffers from Asperger's
syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism; and a third has a brain
tumor and dances with a cane.
Others in the group on this afternoon include an able-bodied dance major
with years of experience in West African and hip-hop dance; a theater
and dance major who dances with her 9-month-old daughter; and two guest
dancers, including one who lost a leg following a car accident. Several
people in the class are overweight, although instructor Eric Kupers
prefers the term fat in support of the fat acceptance movement.
"(The course) was suggested to me by another instructor," says Simpson,
who is working toward a degree in liberal studies. "It never occurred to
me that I could dance. So I said, 'I'll give it a try; I'll go to one
That was months ago.
"There's so much I can do," says Simpson, looking up from the scooter
seat from where she waves her arms, twists her torso and drives in curvy
lines during class exercises. "It's been great. I feel more free to
express myself. I've opened up to talking to more people. It might have
to do with the (way) I feel able to express myself dance-wise."
During two-hour sessions, Kupers coaxes his dancers into moving their
bodies in new ways. As they explore a newfound liberty to ripple and
wind their limbs or roll their upper bodies in unexpected directions, he
hopes their minds will follow.
"Making room for (people with) disabilities automatically opens
everybody's minds a little bit," says Kupers, a former professional
dancer turned choreographer and teacher. "It's such a nice environment
to be in."
With the blessings of school administrators, Kupers created the course
with an emphasis on improvisational modern dance. As a part-time
unsure whether he'll return to the university next year, but
if not, he hopes to offer it
in another venue.
"We're all in a laboratory together and trying to figure it out," he
says. "I'm learning a lot from this class. I've never taught a blind
student before or a student in a wheelchair."
Kupers is co-director of the Dandelion Dancetheater in San Francisco and
a veteran of the Margaret Jenkins and Della
Davidson dance companies. He points out that the freedom modern dance
gives its followers makes it ideal for his students.
Modern dance places few limits on the artist. No specific dance moves
are required. None is automatically banned.
"That's one of the major things I'm interested in, in this class — the
way limitations become a catalyst for experimentation," Kupers says.
In class, when a blind student can't see his visual cues or a wheelchair
dancer can't perform the same move as her peers, Kupers simply modifies
the dance or makes his verbal instructions more clear.
"The biggest thing is for each person to learn what their individual
body possibilities are," says Kupers, who allows himself to dance at 30
pounds heavier today than he did during his professional dancing days.
"For each person, it's going to be different."
He also encourages able-bodied students to try dancing in a spare
wheelchair he brings to class or to close their eyes during an exercise.
During a partner exercise, Sue Hobbs, 41, of Oakley, danced with her
"(We) had more limited movement, so it made us use our imagination
more," says Hobbs, who wears an oversized red T-shirt, gray sweatpants
and black lace-up dance shoes to class.
For the lesson, students pair up and designate one dancer as the leader
who guides his partner's movements. As the dancers' feet or wheelchairs
make contact with the floor, Kupers encourages them to think of the
trail left in their wake as a painting.
Visualize the leader as a painter, he says, and the partner as a
"How do you want to paint the floor? How do you want to paint your
space?" he asks his students as they begin the improvisational dance.
"Are you doing it as a Jackson Pollock-style painting with paint
splattered all over the floor? Or maybe it's much more minimal, like a
Then, Kupers takes the exercise to a higher level.
He asks everyone to lie down or sit quietly with eyes closed. He prompts
his students to tune into any body sensations they feel such as warmth
or a chill, sore muscles or the way their skin touches the floor. Then
he asks them to focus on any changes happening in their lives.
Whatever emotions arise, he wants them injected into the next dance.
"It's not how should you feel, but how do you feel about whatever is
changing?" says Kupers in his authoritative yet assuring tone. "Rather
than guiding our painting on a compositional level, I want you to paint
according to your feelings."
The method works.
A student glides side-to-side and occasionally crouches to the ground.
Two others stand with their hands pressed together. A third circles
them, before joining the duo to form a loose ring.
As a fourth strolls past, she and one of the dancers gently extend an
arm toward one another, then she silently slips away.
As the dancers connect with core, personal emotions, their movements
become more fluid. They interact more often, more gracefully.
A magical interplay of motion and emotion unfolds on the floor.
A few moments later, the class session ends and Alma Ballesteros, 23, of
Tracy, hurriedly pulls on her shoes to make it in time to her next class.
But first she takes a moment to point out that she went out of her way
to take Kupers' mixed-ability dance class.
"I made it fit in my schedule," she says, looking slender and graceful
in stretchy black pants and a long-sleeved black top.
"There isn't a standard, a certain type of dancer," she says
energetically, the rush of dancing clearly still coursing through her.
"You don't have to be a certain size or shape or have a certain ability.
Just to be able to express yourself is enough."
Sane steps may save your precious central vision
Dr. Sidney Schreiber, a cardiologist from Scarsdale, N.Y., was in his
mid-70s and still working in the lab and caring for patients when he
noticed that he could not see clearly with his right eye.
A visit to his ophthalmologist produced a discouraging diagnosis.
Schreiber had rapidly progressive macular degeneration, and within three
years he was functionally blind.
An estimated 10 million Americans have this progressive disease, though
most are not as severely affected as Schreiber, and some are not yet
aware that they have the painless condition. It is the leading cause of
legal blindness in Americans over 55.
The numbers affected will continue to climb as the population ages,
prompting a race to develop more effective treatments and perhaps even
preventives, including measures based on recently identified genetic
A familiar regimen
Meanwhile, there is much that people can do now to ward off this
condition or slow its progress. Interestingly, the same steps that lower
the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and some
cancers can also help protect the eyes.
Though peripheral vision remains intact, macular degeneration robs
people of their central vision, making it hard or impossible to read,
write, drive, watch television, see the time, recognize faces and see
where they are going.
Still, many who are seriously afflicted manage to pursue active lives.
The late actor Don Knotts was 57 when his disorder was diagnosed, but he
continued to work almost until his death Feb. 24 at age 81.
Although most patients are over 55 when found to have what is commonly
called age-related macular degeneration, some develop macular disease as
children or young adults. Marla Runyan was in the fourth grade when she
was struck with the disease, yet she finished college and competed twice
in Olympic running events despite being legally blind.
Schreiber, the cardiologist, was an accomplished artist when macular
degeneration forced him to abandon his hobby and his career. He lapsed
into a serious depression for nearly two years, emerging only after a
visitor from Lighthouse International showed him all he could do with
Encouraged by his wife, Freda, who became his eyes, he gradually resumed
his favorite activities, with modifications. He visits museums (his wife
reads the legends aloud), listens to recorded books, gardens (though he
sometimes pulls up flowers instead of weeds) and has resumed painting.
He has even been able to put his medical training to good use. Now 84,
he is scientific director of the American Macular Degeneration
Foundation, which sponsors research and provides support and
information. It also publishes a newsletter and has produced the helpful
"Hope & Cope" DVD, both available for a $25 contribution. The foundation
can be reached at P.O. Box 515, Northampton, Mass. 01061-0515 or at
(888) 622-8527. Its Web site is www.macular.org <http://www.macular.org>.
The macula is a dense collection of light-sensitive cells in the middle
of the retina along the back of the eye. These cells are used for
"straight-ahead" vision. Most cases of degeneration begin as what is
called the dry form of the disease. Yellow deposits called drusen form
under the retina, increasing in number and size until they destroy
macular cells and blur central vision.
The disorder can progress so slowly that deteriorating vision is not
noticed until it is quite advanced. But as it worsens, more light may be
needed to read and faces may become hard to recognize. Far less often,
degeneration occurs as the wet form, leading to a rapid loss of central
vision when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak blood
and other fluids, raising the macula off the wall of the eye. In about
10 percent of cases, dry macular degeneration develops into the wet form.
Looking for early signs
Schreiber said, "I might have had the dry form for 10 years, for all I
know. It's probably my fault for not seeing an eye doctor every year."
Which raises a critical point. Early signs can be readily detected by a
thorough eye exam. People 50 and older should have such exams yearly, or
twice a year with signs of disease.
Prevention and treatment
The established risk factors offer strong clues to avoiding or delaying
onset of the condition. They include smoking, obesity, high blood
pressure, sedentary living, overexposure to sun and a diet deficient in
green leafy vegetables and fish.
Other risk factors are being a woman, farsighted or Caucasian and having
light eye or skin color, cataracts and a family history of the disorder.
Two factors, oxidation and inflammation, appear to cause macular injury.
Studies sponsored by the National Eye Institute found that daily
consumption of a high-dose formula of antioxidants and zinc could reduce
the risk of early macular degeneration advancing.
Various products sold over the counter contain this formula or one like
it: 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 I.U. of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta
carotene, 80 mg of zinc oxide and 2 mg of copper. Smokers should avoid
products containing beta carotene.
In addition, most experts recommend a supplement of lutein, zeaxanthin
or both, carotenoids found in dark green leafy vegetables. Twinlab makes
a supplement, Ocuguard Plus, that contains lutein.
Visudyne by QLT and Novartis and Macugen by Eyetech Pharmaceuticals and
Pfizer have also been shown to slow deterioration of eyesight in wet
type degeneration. Another drug awaiting approval, Lucentis by
Genentech, may also help.
Next: Living with low vision.
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