Activities for the community service aspect of my grant activity included a hands on clay working booth at the “Visions 2002” exhibit on April 17, 2002. This exhibit targeted individuals who are blind or with visual impairments, offering technology, products and services. My participation was utilized as an introduction to clay for people who may otherwise not have access to it, as well as a marketing tool to encourage people to sign up for the upcoming workshops I would be offering. I conducted two of these workshops on May 1 and May 22 at the Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled in Ann Arbor Michigan. 14 people attended each of the two workshops. The workshops explored the traditional visual art form of pottery, through touch. The history and social relevance of pottery was discussed, physical qualities of clay were explored and participants altered damp hand thrown classical forms into finished pieces. An exhibition of participant’s work was held at Yourist Pottery Studio on June 19 – July 11, 2002. An opening reception was held on June 19 and attended by all workshop participants and interested community members. The goal was to make pottery form and formation accessible to citizens with visual impairments and to give each participant an avenue for personal artistic expression.
The response from professionals and citizens in the visually impaired community was very enthusiastic and positive. So much so, that an interest for me to conduct future workshops has been expressed and we are exploring funding opportunities.