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New art exhibit designed for visually impaired encourages sensory experience in Pinellas County

Some paintings include hidden messages in braille
Posted at 11:27 AM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 16:28:02-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Going to a museum or art gallery has never been looked at as a hands-on event, but there is a new exhibit in Pinellas County that is changing the rules when it comes to the age old saying, “Do Not Touch.”

“All the canvasses have different textures, some of them have a more rough texture, some of them have a more soft texture,” said Claudia Giambersio.

Giambersio has been legally blind since she was 14 years old. She said visiting galleries and museums never appealed to her, until now.

“I have a lot of visual memories, especially when it comes to colors, and the opportunity to touch the masterpiece and build myself a picture of what it looks like is priceless,” said Giambersio.

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The Gallery at Creative Pinellas said they wanted to offer a more inclusive experience for the visually impaired community, so they opened up the exhibit Art SENSEation.

“We’re doing it, we’re doing what we said we wanted to do, we’re walking the walk, we are bringing art to people who may not of had that experience and we are making a difference in their lives,” said Creative Pinellas CEO Barbara St. Clair.

Art SENSEation offers more than 70 works from 20 different artists. Visitors are encouraged to play with, pickup and even push the art around.

“Not just enjoy it with your mind or your eyes, you can actually enjoy it with your hands,” said Giambersio.

Artist Horst Mueller has a whole room of 3D Paintings on display at the gallery. He said he’s just giving people what they’ve always wanted.

“You just want to feel that art,” said Mueller.

In most of his paintings he even includes a hidden message, in braille, that most people with vision overlook and those without vision appreciate.

“I have in numerous paintings just nice words, ‘oh there is happiness written,' as a blind person feels the painting and says, ‘Horst I read something,’ and I say, ‘what did you read,’ and then they tell me,” said Horst.

Art Sensation is free and open to the public at The Gallery at Creative Pinellas, from now until Feb. 16. The address is 12211 Walsingham Rd. Largo, FL 33778.

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