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‘Please Touch the Art’ exhibit aims to make art more accessible to blind, visually impaired

by | October 26th, 2016 | In the Press

Lisa Johnson and her husband, Jeremy, came from different worlds.

Jeremy is an artist, professor of art education at UNO and the director of the Center for Innovation in Arts Education. He paints and draws comics.

Lisa, director of student support services at Nebraska Methodist College, was born blind.

Last September, they started a project that would bring their worlds together and make art more accessible.

“I couldn’t see the art when we visited museums, and I couldn’t really experience it,” Lisa said. “And I know that visual art is really important to him.”

They helped create an exhibition, “Sensory: Please Touch the Art,” which debuted this month at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The UNO Art Gallery holds a collection of 63 exhibition pieces, including sculptures, pictures, drawings and weavings. The Johnsons also hosted art workshops over the summer that focused on teaching sensory art-making to visually impaired people, and many of the pieces created are included in the show.

“I was expecting something small, to be honest,” said Molly Troxel, a participant in the art workshops. “I didn’t think it was going to be this big or this cool. I think they really outdid themselves with the art descriptions and the Braille. I was expecting something that was not this much because usually people don’t really recognize that stuff. It makes me feel happy because someone gets it.”

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