Chicago Art Becomes Accessible to All

For those of us who are able move around independently and without difficulty, it is easy to take for granted how we can experience art around Chicago, from the various museums to street art.

Some people who are not able to get around as easily could miss out on all the city has to offer if it weren’t for some museums around the city that have a mission to bring art to all who appreciate it!

The Art Institute of Chicago, for example, has several programs to help bring art to everyone.  Although some of the programs were designed with those who have disabilities in mind, everyone can take advantage of them to experience art in a new way.  Here are some of their most innovative programs to date:

Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery. In the new modern wing, visitors can use their sense of touch to become closer to art.  Designed for visually impaired visitors, but open to everyone, the gallery includes four sculptures of the human head.  Each head comes from a different time period and location so that visitors can compare and contrast everything from medium to style.  The sculptures have been sealed with a protective wax to prevent destruction from the hands that peruse every detail of the sculptures.  It is an innovative and unique way to bring art to those who cannot see.

TacTile Kits. Another way for visually impaired visitors to experience the pieces at the Art Institute is with their TacTile Kits.  Handheld tiles are a tangible representation of several paintings housed there.  Visitors can feel the shapes that make up Renoir’s Two Sisters or Mitsuoki’s Flowering Cherry with Poem Slips.  Each tile also includes a description of the pieces, both in large font print and Braille.  And now that 3D printing is becoming more accessible, the Art Institute wants to begin creating 3D printed pieces in addition to the tiles they already have.

But the Art Institute isn’t the only museum with cutting-edge ways to make art more accessible.  For example, the Guggenheim has a mobile app that has closed captioning capabilities and tours with verbal descriptions.  They are also planning an indoor navigational system to help those with vision problems.  The app would interpret LED signals in the museum, making it possible to pinpoint the visitor’s location and guide them to whatever exhibit they wish to see.

With just under 20% of the population having some level of disability, the innovations and accommodations will only improve.  Hopefully these programs can bring the wonder of art to more people than ever.

The Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany is pleased to be surrounding by so many amazing artists in the Chicago area. We encourage everyone to take the time to take in all of the incredible art scattered throughout the city.