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Tactile Art Club Helps Those Who Are Blind Experience Art

DENVER (CBS4)– Art is a sensory experience, but too often we think of it as a sight only experience. One club lead by a Colorado high school student is showing the world that you don't need sight to create dynamic works of art.

(credit: CBS)

Rishika Kartik is young, but art has played a big role in her life, "It's been my voice and the way that I understand both myself the world around me."

A couple years ago she started volunteering at Anchor Center for the Blind. She realized the folks there didn't have the opportunities that she has to create.

(credit: Rishika Kartik)

"As I started meeting more blind people I thought about how important art was for me and I wanted to give that experience to other people."

She created the Tactile Art Club. It's a club that teaches art to those who are blind through touch. Rishika had to learn how to teach and create art in a whole different way.

(credit: Rishika Kartik)

"It really allowed me to broaden my perspective as to like how art could be experienced," she says.

They met every Tuesday for three years, then the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for the club to meet in person, but that didn't stop them. They moved the club online.

"I've made a few minor adjustments to the program no big deal," Rishika says with a smile.

They now meet over Zoom and Rishika has had to once again change the way she teaches, "I had to adapt a lot in thinking about how I am using audio to create clear instruction and explain things with my words."

(credit: CBS)

Moving online has actually grown the program. People from all over the world have joined the club like Valarie Alcaraz a blind artist from California who has been attending the past few online meetups.

"This club brings tactile art to a wider audience and I like an organization or a group that endeavors to do that," said Alcaraz.

A lot has changed, but if you ask the artists, both blind and sighted, who attend it's still the same experience they got when they were meeting in person.

"I like being able to like experience like different tools and like how you can make different things and something like that," says Isabelle, a young artist who is blind.

(credit: CBS)

Sighted artist Andrew says joining the club has really helped him grow as an artist, "I'm too serious of an artist sometimes and this has helped me loosen up and enjoy the process and being with other people who just enjoy doing the art."

It seems like a lot for a teenager, but Rishika isn't done growing her program yet. She has actually received the 2020 Arts and Society Grant which means she is going to expand to teach even more people in Colorado in a formal arts curriculum.

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