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April 14, 2007

Accessing art through the iPod

From: - Denver,CO,USA - Apr 14, 2007

Contributed by: Damon McLeese on 4/13/2007

At one time or another everyone feels the frustration and alienation of not being
able to understand what is being communicated. Perhaps you are in a country where you do not speak the language, or you find yourself in a dead zone with your cell phone. We all have had these situations.

Now imagine you are a deaf person going to a gallery or a museum. If you have nottaken the time to contact the institution usually several weeks in advance to requestan interpreter or gone to the trouble and expense of contracting an interpreter for yourself you will find yourself in an environment that is not terribly welcoming.

For many years museums and other cultural institutions have provided access to exhibitsthrough audio interpretation, tactile exhibits and other accommodations but have struggled with the cost and challenges of working with the deaf community through live interpretation.

With the recent explosion of the ipod technology. VSA arts of Colorado (VSAC) has a project in mind to make this interaction a bit easier.

VSAC/ Access Gallery is an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with disabilities through the arts. In September and October of 07 we will host a major exhibit by internationally known deaf artist Uzi Buzgalo. Uzi was born deaf and grew up communicating with family and others through drawings and his own created sign language. Artistically expressing the language of deaf people, his style includes prevalent images of hands, and a combination of colors, waves and dots. All of Buzgalo's art conveys his experiences in life, including the joy and pride he feels as a deaf man in a predominantly hearing world. For this Show Uzi has painted a series of famous and influential deaf people from throughout history. Portraits include the founder of Gallaudet University in Washington DC to a pioneer in the development of the internet protocol language. Each portrait has a story and we would like to share the story utilizing technology originally developed for the
hearing community.

We will digitally film an ASL interpreter telling the story of each painting, the
script will be provided by Uzi and VSAC. After the filming we will digitize and
download each segment onto the ipod where a patron who is deaf can come to the gallery at anytime the gallery is open and check out the ipod. Each painting will be listed as a separate chapter and we will also have an interview with Uzi talking about his life and his work. Not to forget our hearing patrons we will also have a voiced interpretation of the show. In addition to the work Uzi will be showing we will also show artwork created by students at the Rocky Mountain School for the Deaf where Uzi will be an artist in residence prior to the show in the gallery.

According to the National Organization for Hearing Research Foundation, 2 millionAmericans are completely deaf. Hearing loss affects approximately 17 in 1,000 children under age 18. The exhibit will be in the gallery September 21, - October 25, 2007 with several receptions being offered. We have timed this exhibit to coincide with International deaf awareness week which is the last full week in September. If selected VSA arts would utilize the $1000 to purchase 2 video ipods and to pay for the filming of the interpreters.

VSA arts of Colorado operates a gallery dedicated to showing the work of artists
with disabilities. We are located at 909 Santa Fe Drive in Denver. Our website is and our phone is 303-777-0797.

© 2007