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Touch and Feel the Glass at MoG

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on Oct. 27, 2008 at 11:24 am |
October 27, 2008 11:24 am

The “Contrasts” show at Museum of Glass. Photo Richard Nicol.

It’s a first for Tacoma: a museum art exhibit of fragile glass that’s actually meant to be touched.

The Museum of Glass has just launched its new “Contrasts Multi-sensory Experience,” a complementary exhibition to “Contrasts – A Glass Primer.” Up for over a year now, “Contrasts” is an informative (if simplistic) explanation of the different styles, techniques and aesthetics of glass art. The multisensory part involves an audio-descriptive tour with easily-navigated buttons, carefully-worded descriptions and gallery directions for the visually-impaired, plus six tactile stations with glass that can be touched as well as seen.

The touchable glass examples, made by MoG’s Hot Shop team, match up with examples in “Contrasts” of glass properties like ‘smooth,’ ‘rough’ and so on. They’re ideal, say MoG officials, not only for the visually-impaired but also for children, and pretty much anyone else who wonders what glass art actually feels like–without endangering expensive works of art like Richard Marquis’ “Marquiscarpa,” below.

Richard Marquis, “Marquiscarpa #99-16.” Image courtesy of the artist.

"When people see or hear about glass art, they intuitively want to touch it," says MoG education director Susan Warner. "Finally, we have a program that will allow them to do just that."

It’s a project that’s been in the making for well over a year, now, in consultation with Joan Rabinowitz from Jack Straw Productions and Jesse Minkert of Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences, and Mark Adrian, Communications and Employer consultant for the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind.

“Contrasts” is up through Oct. 11, 2009.

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