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Monday, Feb. 10, 2020

Art in the Dark

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Exploring the world of art without sight

Molding, sculpting, splashing vibrant colors on a canvas to create a work of art. Imagine undertaking these artistic endeavors without using your sense of sight. What might the end result be?

Attendees of can find out! Louisiana Association for the Blind (L.A.B.) has created an immersive experience that will allow participants to explore the world of art without sight. The first of its kind, Art in the Dark, will provide aspiring artists with the chance to create a masterpiece via a tactile and auditory adventure. “After doing our research, L.A.B. is the only agency to produce an art event like this in the U.S. – and it ties directly to our mission,” said Director of Community Development Jessica Hall.

The inaugural event will begin with a cocktail reception with a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres by Flying Heart Brewery in the main gallery at the Bossier Arts Council. Then guests will head over to the annex, where they will don art smocks and blindfolds to create a one-of-a-kind piece using their remaining senses! An L.A.B. Art Program instructor will guide guests through an art project. “The project is top secret!” said Hall. “People assume it is painting. But maybe it is not! It is nothing like other businesses or events … at those venues you use your sight to guide you.”

All the proceeds raised at Art in the Dark will directly benefit L.A.B.’s Art Program by providing necessary art materials and training. “Art has the power to connect us and allows for another avenue with which to explore the world around us. It also has the power to build self-confidence and create longlasting social networks,” said Hall. “That self-confidence and social interaction is essential in the overall rehabilitation of the clients we serve. Art in the Dark will capture some of that feeling, and, we hope, give guests a great understanding and appreciation of the gift of sight.”

Established in 1927, L.A.B. is the only low-vision rehabilitation center in northwest Louisiana. Professional medical and clinical staff, including a low-vision optometrist, an occupational therapist specializing in low vision, certified occupational therapist assistants and other clinicians specializing in lowvision work at the center complete lowvision evaluations and assign treatment plans for clients that include assistive technology and needed sensory aids. The low-vision rehabilitation center has a sensory aids store, where customers can purchase assistive technology and learn to use it.

L.A.B. also places persons of all disabilities with local employers and helps them transition into the work setting. Additional programs available through L.A.B. include Braille classes, orientation and mobility (where instructors help clients learn to navigate by cane), assistive technology, independent living training and a transitional program for children and adolescents, where they are taught how to use adaptive and assistive technologies.

L.A.B. debuted its popular Dining in the Dark event back in 2016. It will return in February 2021 and begin alternating years after that with “Art in the Dark.”

Hall will be on hand to assist the art instructor. “I am most excited to have guests reveal their final piece of art, only to realize what individuals who are low vision or blind overcome,” she said. “There is one more unveiling that is sure to impress our guests – but that, too, is a surprise!” Art in the Dark will be hosted on Friday, Feb. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Bossier Art Council located at 630 Barksdale Blvd. The event will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. Tickets to the event are $50 and may be purchased at LaBlind. com.


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