The Vancouver Art Gallery is launching described tours for blind and partially sighted visitors.
That makes it the first B.C. museum to offer such services on a regular basis. The in-person tours are in addition to the pre-recorded audio descriptions that the VAG currently offers for certain exhibitions.
Working with VocalEye, a nonprofit society dedicated to providing greater access to arts for the blind and partially sighted, it now has a team of trained gallery educators who use innovative visual description methods to make its exhibitions accessible.
How does a guide help a visually impaired person "see" the works of art? The methods developed by VocalEye categorize descriptions into "levels of experience”, from the educator describing what is observable and apparent, then sharing nonapparent facts and context;, right up to exploring the sensorial experience that utilizes models, textures and tactile drawing techniques. To master the methods, the gallery’s educators underwent took a series of training workshops.
The next described tours of VAG shows are on February 2 (The Metamorphosis), March 2 (A Curator’s View: Ian Thom Selects), and April 6 (the new French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850–1950).
Registration is required as capacity is limited (register by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). VocalEye’s sighted guides are available to meet adults with vision loss at the Burrard Skytrain station to accompany them to and from the gallery.