Tonawanda News

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August 17, 2012

NT gallery grand opening highlighted by touchable art

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“People who are blind definitely wouldn’t go to an art museum ‘cause how would they experience it,” she added.

Brown said the theme for the show was inspired by a Tonawanda News profile of North Tonawanda artist Sherri Marranca, who was inspired by her almost completely blind daughter Nina to incorporate braille into her paintings.

“I saw Sherri in the News and I just thought it was so cool,” Brown said, adding that she later added sculpture artist Ellen Rogers who answered a call for art.

Marranca said she’s excited to participate in her first gallery showing. She’s had plenty of opportunities to be featured on gallery walls, but found it’s too difficult to keep enough stock on hand for a show since Internet sales are booming. Being offered a chance to be in on the ground floor of Project 308 Gallery’s opening was a different story though, she said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m glad that Natalie contacted visually impaired programs and invited them to the opening,” Marranca said. 

“I did request that she hang (the paintings) low enough that they can touch them cause I wanted them to be approachable.”

Marranca’s textured paintings of braille words, trees and poppies will be accompanied by three animal-inspired sculptures by Rogers.

Rogers is a recent UB art school graduate whose background as a veterinarian has inspired her to create steel and mixed-media structures of animals. Her masters thesis project at the Buffalo Zoo had certain restrictions that made her work perfect for Brown’s tactile show.

“One of the requirements (at the Buffalo Zoo) is that all the artwork had to be childproof. People were going to touch it and try to climb it and I had to make it sturdy enough to stand up to that,” Rogers said. “As I was installing (the show), I saw people touching my sculptures constantly and I really enjoyed them interacting with my work.”

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