The “Touching the Art” visual accessibility programme begins its tour of schools in Gipuzkoa in the 2019-2020 academic year
Sponsored by Iberdrola. In association with the Resource Centre for the Educational Inclusion of Visually Impaired Pupils, IBT CRI San Sebastian
Since 2008, Iberdrola and the museum have shared the aim of extending accessibility to a growing number of audiences and of raising awareness of its importance through initiatives that have art as an educational tool. Among the activities and workshops run by the museum's Education Department with this aim in mind, worthy of note on account of its pioneering nature is 'Touching the Art', a programme targeted at the visually impaired, which was started up by the museum in September 2012 and which was then adopted by other museums, such as the Prado and the Thyssen in Madrid, and the Pushkin in Moscow.
The programme is based on a technological development by Estudios Durero (Bilbao) that adds texture and volume to digital images of the artworks in the museum's collection and which is used to transform them into relief reproductions, enabling the pupils to explore them through touch. For educational purposes, this sensory experience is rounded off with an audio guidein Basque, Spanish or Englishdesigned for interpretation of the paintings. They also include commentaryin Basque and Spanishon the artwork and a plate in braille. Last but not least, and in order to raise awareness of the inclusive nature of this initiative, darkened glasses are made available for the public so that anyone can experience the power of touch.
The activity is run by members of the education staff who, using a variety of support materials, encourage visitors to take an interest in the touch programme and promote dialogue.
This year, the six paintings initially selected for the programme are joined by the newcomer Noah's Ark, a Catalan Romanesque work dated in the 13th century that completes the collection. In this way, with this new addition, any schools in Gipuzkoa interested in including this experience in their activities in the 20192020 academic year can discover, via touch, seven artworks from the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao pertaining to a variety of periods and masters in the history of art: Catalan Romanesque works, the Spanish SchoolThe Annunciation by El Greco and Saint Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women by Jos de Ribera, Italian Baroque paintingLot and His Daughters by Orazio Gentileschi, impressionismSeated Woman with a Child in Her Arms by Mary Cassatt, one of the most emblematic female painters of the movement, art from the second half of the 20th centuryLying Figure in Mirror by Francis Baconand one of the most representative works in the museum's collection of Basque artists, Little Village Girl with a Red Carnation by Adolfo Guiard.
After more than five years running the project at the museum, in 2018 and up until May 2019, the exhibitor toured different schools in Bizkaia, extending the programme to 4,459 pupils. Now, the museum is sharing this visual accessibility resource with schools in Gipuzkoa thanks to Iberdrola's sponsorship and to the collaboration of the Resource Centre for the Educational Inclusion of Visually Impaired Pupils, IBT CRI San Sebastian, under the Basque Government Education Department.
Any schools that so wish can request the exhibition, free of charge and for a week, from October 2019 to May 2020 (with preference given to CRI affiliates).
Further information and bookings:
The Department of Education and Cultural Action of the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao
Contact / Tel. 94 439 61 41