URBANDALE, Iowa- Blind and visually impaired students created an art mural at the Living History Farms in Urbandale on Saturday to celebrate ahead of National White Cane Day on Sunday.
The Iowa Education Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an agency that serves over 700 students throughout the state. Susan Rolinger is the Executive Director of their Expanded Learning Program.
Rolinger said, “There are a lot of things that these kids need to master, know how to do, skills they need to build that are really hard to do when you’re the only blind or low vision child in the school.”
That’s why, according to Rolinger, programs like this are important for these students. It gives them the opportunity to have programs outside of the classroom that provides experience outside of just learning.
“They like the opportunity to be around other kids that are blind or visually impaired, that are the same as them, because being part of community is important. But also not having to ask for access. When we put things on, it’s fully accessible,” said Rolinger.
On Saturday, the agency hosted an event ahead of National White Cane Day on October 15th. They tied a graphite core to the end of a white cane and had students and families walk across the canvas. The marks on the canvas indicated each individuals path and how they used the cane for guidance.
Waterloo artist, Casey Slack, helped organize this event in partnership with the agency. He said that the end result of the canvas matched his techniques in his work, which is called automatic drawing.
Automatic drawing, according to Slack, is the process of creating art out of lines or shapes made intentionally but randomly.
He said, “We might see something within those shapes and that’s exciting within an abstraction. I’m just looking at it [the mural] and I just see wonderful art with the automatic process.”
At its current state, the mural is not accessible to the students who are blind or visually impaired. Therefore, the next step is to have the mural textiled.
Rolinger said that they will textile the piece in bold colors and textures, so that visually impaired and blind students can experience the work they helped create.