Tactile Recreations of Famous Masterpieces for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Tactile Recreations of Famous Masterpieces for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

By Holly Herring • Apr 12, 2023

Blog Content

Tactile Recreations of Famous Masterpieces for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

WICHITA, Kan. (April 12, 2023) — A new exhibit titled, Masterpiece Relief for the Blind, featuring internationally recognized sculptor, Tomas Bustos, will open at the Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center on Friday, May 5th in downtown Wichita, Kan. during a free and public opening reception event from 5-9 p.m. Throughout the evening, gallery visitors can meet Bustos, experience his bronze-cast tactile artwork, which are recreations of iconic masterpieces that can be experienced through touch, and participate in art activities inspired by his art. The new exhibit will also highlight ceramic sculptures and pottery made in the Envision Dallas art program by adult students who are blind or visually impaired. 

Bustos' bas-relief, cast bronze works are a testament to his passion for recreating iconic masterpieces through a unique and tactile approach – specifically made for people who are blind or visually impaired. This exhibition at the Envision Arts Gallery will showcase his talents as a sighted artist and his reverence for some of the most famous works in art history, taking the viewer on a journey from graphite renderings to clay and plaster reliefs, to the final rendition in bronze. From his reinterpretation of the "Mona Lisa" to his recreation of "Starry Night," viewers will be transported to the world of classic art, brought to life through the artist's distinctive techniques. 


“I really appreciate the opportunity that the exhibit at the Envision Arts Gallery will bring. We started this journey 11-12 years ago, and sometimes the process has been slow. But this art show will help bring awareness to our mission,” said Bustos. “As an artist, I can create and make anything I want to. But I’m not doing this for myself. I’m doing this for a whole community [of people who are blind or visually impaired] who have never been able to see original works.”

At his first-ever public exhibit at the Envision Arts Gallery, Bustos will showcase his new bronze casted recreation of the “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood. Bustos went to great lengths to get permission to recreate the famous painting by convincing Wood’s sister, owner of and featured in the painting, that not everyone (i.e., people who are blind or visually impaired) has “seen” or experienced the painting. After months of trying to reach someone and then the initial denial, he finally received their permission in writing. 

Bustos served a seven-year apprenticeship with the well-known sculptor and artisan Octavio Medellin whose work is included in many museum collections including the Dallas Museum of Art. Under the guidance of Mr. Medellin, Bustos mastered the art of woodcarving, stone carving, bronze casting, welding, drawing and oil painting. After 25 years working as a master woodcarver for prominent companies such as Orion's Antiques and Manheim's Furniture Co. of Dallas, Bustos founded his own company in 1995. His studio quickly gained a reputation for quality and reliability that has allowed him to produce work in places as far as South Africa, Canada and France. His great passion for the arts and years of experience makes Bustos one of the most well-rounded artists in the region. 

“All of us at Envision are absolutely honored and thrilled that Tomas will be exhibiting his masterpieces at the Envision Arts Gallery beginning May 5,” said Sarah Kephart, Envision Arts Manager. “Bustos and Jacinta have been hosting sculpting classes at Envision Dallas for a couple years now and this is a great opportunity to bridge together our two office locations by showcasing the artwork of those students who are blind or visually impaired in addition to Bustos’ inspirational art pieces.”

The Envision Arts Gallery will host a sculpture workshop for people who are blind or visually impaired with Tomas and Jacinta Bustos on Saturday, May 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. where seating is limited and registration is required. The workshop is free with a suggested donation of $10. Workshops attendees will learn how to create small scale clay projects that integrate the various techniques used by an individual who is blind or visually impaired to create a work of art.

All proceeds from artwork and merchandise purchased from the gallery directly support the artists and help the Envision Arts program. Learn more about the Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center by visiting envisionartsgallery.com or calling (316) 440-1699. 

About the Envision Arts Gallery and Community Engagement Center: The year-round Envision Arts program has been using expressive arts to help foster creative and personal growth through multi-modal and multi-sensory art for many years within Envision headquarters on Main St. in Wichita, Kansas. Envision, the nation’s premier service provider to and employer of individuals who are blind or visually impaired, opened the permanent art gallery in January 2022. The Gallery has continued the momentum of the program and aims to empower artists and audiences who are blind, visually impaired, and disabled by providing a safe and supportive platform to exhibit and engage to promote a culture of inclusion and accessibility to the arts for all. The Gallery is located in the old Patrick Hotel building in downtown Wichita's Historic Union Station area at 801 East Douglas, Suite 106, managed and owned by Occidental Management. For more information, visit www.envisionartsgallery.com.

About Envision: Envision promotes advocacy and independence for those who are blind or have low vision. Founded in 1933, Envision is one of the largest employers of individuals with vision loss in the nation. Headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, Envision’s mission is to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration and opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education, and research. For more information, visit www.envisionus.com.

Media Contact: Beth Walker, Content Marketing Coordinator
Office: 316-440-1518 | Email: media@envisionus.com