International Blind Artist Weaves Inclusivity and Literacy Through Braille Art Exhibition | Envision Blog

International Blind Artist Weaves Inclusivity and Literacy Through Braille Art Exhibition

By Beth Walker • Apr 26, 2024
The entire group at the Saturday workshop smiling.

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The opening reception of American Way Words by UK artist Clarke Reynolds at the Envision Arts Gallery kicked off on First Friday in April! With over 150 people in attendance, music by Charlie Wilks, endless games of braille Scrabble, and everyone learning to read Clarke’s braille artwork, the experience was unforgettable! Clarke also hosted a Play Touch Make workshop, a creative arts and literacy workshop that focuses on using color coded Braille, with Envision Arts participants the next day. Everyone had an amazing time creating their own colored braille cubes and playing braille Scrabble!  

Clarke arrived in Wichita at the end of March and during his time here he hosted Play Touch Make workshops with Mark Arts, Heartspring, Envision Arts participants, our Adult Day Support Program consumers and children from our Child Development Center. He participated in dinners with prominent leaders in the Wichita community to speak about his mission and was also able to visit many popular places in Wichita. After attending a Wichita Thunder Hockey game, visiting Gallery Alley downtown, visiting The Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, the Sedgwick County Zoo, doing a glass blowing class with City Arts and visiting many local restaurants, he experienced much of Wichita’s culture. Almost $4,000 in art sales were made on Clarke’s opening night and 90% of these proceeds go back to the Envision Arts Gallery. The other 10% goes back to VICTA, a national charity in the UK that provides support to children and young adults from 0 to 29 who are blind or partially sighted and their families. 

“I would like to say a big thank you to Envision and the Envision Arts Gallery for a wonderful experience,” said Clarke. “Not just for my first international show, which has been amazing, but for all the memories you’ve created for me and the new friends I’ve made. I will miss Wichita so much and hope to be back soon. Wichita is the city that keeps on giving!” 

Sarah Kephart, Senior Manager of Envision Arts, shared her gratitude for Clarke, stating, “Reynolds’ time here addressed the urgent and desperate need to revolutionize braille by encouraging the evolution of its function and accessibility, making it more inclusive and easier to learn through scale and color for people who are sighted and blind or visually impaired through creative expression. His visit impacted the lives of so many people from Envision, community partners, stakeholders and our curious community who used his color-coded braille alphabet decoder to read his witty artworks that poked fun at the British and American versions of words, to those who sat down at the world’s largest life-sized braille Scrabble board to engage in a friendly competition of word play.” 

Having Clarke here in Wichita with us to teach us the importance of braille in art has been nothing short of incredible. American Way Words will continue to be on display at the Envision Arts Gallery until June 28th. Be sure to visit the Envision Arts Gallery at 801 E. Douglas between 10 am - 5 pm and call 316-440-1699 for more details.   

To learn more about Clarke’s exhibition, visit this link. To learn more about Envision Arts Gallery exhibitions for 2024, visit this link