“The last surgery I had was hopefully supposed to give me a little vision back, but instead, took the rest of it away,” Brockman said. “So, right now, I just have light and dark perception.”
Brockman has always enjoyed visiting museums and different kinds of art galleries, but her current situation has altered her options drastically.
“A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend mentioned going to the Air Force Museum and I was like, well, I don’t think that will be much fun for me,” she said. “So, we got to talking about it and we looked it up. We looked up tactile art museums, and there’s like three around the country and one somewhere like in (Colorado) or something.”
Brockman’s boyfriend, Paul Lyons, said while there might be pop-up tactile and sensory exhibits that come through the region, it’s been near impossible to find a dedicated space for exhibits catered for the low vision community.
In turn, the couple is working to bring about major change. They’ve put out a call for artists in the Dayton region and beyond who are interested in helping with this endeavor. At least in the beginning, Lyons said the hope is to have a gallery in Dayton offering free admission.
They’re calling their initiative, Beyond Vision Art. A Facebook page at @beyondvisionart and a website has been started for the community to follow along, especially artists interested in learning how to join the exhibit.
“We’d like to make this a free event for everyone, so we’ll be seeking grants, donations and sponsors to cover costs, as well as partners and volunteers to make sure everything runs safely and smoothly,” according to Lyons.
The intention is to make this an annual Dayton event, though, someday, Brockman and Lyons are hoping it becomes a permanent gallery with accessible art for the community to enjoy year-round.
Beyond Vision Art’s first event has already started to take shape.
On Friday, April 29 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Landing, located at 804 Monument Ave. in Dayton, the first artist reception and gallery will open. The experience will then run all day Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 1.
Anyone interested in donating or becoming part of the exhibit should visit beyondvisionart.com.
Eventually, Brockman and Lyons envision the idea catching on and spreading across the country.
“What most sighted people don’t know is that mobility and doing things for one’s self isn’t the hardest part about going blind, it’s the boredom,” states the website. “Most entertainment options are geared toward a visual experience. Close your eyes and go to a movie, or watch TV, look at art or even a sunset. It’s not the same. Most museums and art galleries are strictly a hands-off visual experience.”
In addition to broadening entertainment and educational options for those who are visually impaired, Brockman said tactile and sensory exhibits can be beneficial for other groups, too.
“Many children with special needs also see things with their hands,” Brockman said. “So, I wanted to create the same type of fun, safe environment for them. I want kids to be able to pick up pieces of art and touch them and roll them around in their hands without the fear of being told to put it down, that they’re not allowed to touch.”
To learn more, visit beyondvisionart.com.