Art Activities for the Blind

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Only 5 percent of "legally blind" people use Braille for reading. Many can read large print.
Only 5 percent of "legally blind" people use Braille for reading. Many can read large print. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Art doesn't have to be seen. Beautiful works can sometimes be touched, smelled, heard or even tasted. 2.5 million people in the United States are classified as “legally blind," according to visionsvcb.org, but that doesn't mean they can't create amazing art. Devising art projects for the visually impaired allows these people to express themselves and touch the lives of others.

Sculpture

Create art you can actually touch. Have each person bring in found objects, possibly ones she enjoys feeling, like a smooth rock, fuzzy dice or wind chimes. Have her arrange the objects to create a story or particular image she has in her head. Or break out the modeling clay and let the artists sculpt various creations. Put out an object you want them to recreate or allow them to freely construct.

Photography

It might seem counterintuitive to put a visually impaired person behind a camera, but the California Museum of Photography celebrated visually impaired artists with the show "Sight Unseen," a collection of works by blind photographers, in 2009. Some visually impaired photographers use assistants to help them frame the shot, while others use their other senses to help capture the moment. Even if they themselves cannot see their photos, others can. Have someone describe the finished result.

Writing

Using a Braille typewriter, the visually impaired can create stories, novels, memoirs and poems for other visually impaired people. The typewriter actually turns the words floating around in the writer's head into Braille, which can be read using your fingers. Devise parameters for a particular project. For example, have each person write a Haiku or a sonnet. Or give them an opening line to a short story. Memoirs or personal essay can help them relate their experience of their visual impairment with the world.

Painting

Finger painting allows visually impaired individuals to let their hands create. They can also use brushes. Some outline their work, and then use their finger to follow the outline, guiding the brush where to go. Allow the artist to touch an object or another person's face and try to recreate the subject on the canvas. Thick paints, like oil, will allow the artist to feel the painting after it's dry.

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