Art exhibit for those with visual impairments opens on UCSD campus with reception on Friday, Oct. 21

In addition to offering classes and workshops, the Crafts Center’s Grove Gallery on UCSD campus features ongoing exhibits in contemporary crafts and ethnic art. This month, the Crafts Center will present the “Art U Can Touch” exhibit from Oct. 18 to Nov. 18, with a public opening from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 where visitors they can see and touch the art and meet some of the artists.

The show is intended to help people with visual-impairments overcome the barrier they experience at most museums by allowing everyone to experience the art by touching. Sighted people will also learn to experience the art without their eyesight.

The idea for the Art U Can Touch exhibit was spurred by an encounter between two students, Helen Kagan and Ahmet Ustunel, who met in a ceramics class at the Crafts Center. “We noticed that blind people are usually not allowed to touch art in museums, so they are prevented from learning about the great masterpieces of every culture,” Kagan said.

Ustunel is visually-impaired and an artis. He first started making sculptures when he was a child and has been taking classes in pottery-making at the Crafts Center for about two years.

“Since art is generally regarded as a visual aesthetic, many artists and museum visitors consider the sense of touch to be secondary,” Ustunel said. “We wanted to emphasize a different aspect of art: tactile beauty.”

The exhibit will feature works from local artists including members of the Crafts Center Faculty, the San Diego Potters Guild, Sculpture Guild and Allied Craftsmen. In addition, works from visually-impaired artists will be on display.

The exhibit will feature a variety of media including sculptures, ceramics, fiber arts, glass, metalworks and jewelry. The art will showcase interesting textures and shapes and none of the pieces will be easily broken or dangerous to touch.

The UCSD Crafts Center provides personal enrichment and creative educational opportunities to students interested in making art that includes jewelry-making, drawing, lampworking, glassblowing, weaving and other crafts.

Upcoming events at the Crafts Center include the winter sale from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1

where shoppers can buy unique jewelry, ceramics, glass work and more, all made by Crafts Center faculty and students.

Fall registration for Crafts Center classes will continue until the week of Dec. 3. For more information, go to: