Art enriches life—we know this. We venerate the masters who create unforgettable paintings and sculptures, choreographers whose dances lift us up, and great photographers whose images let us in on new ways to see the world and each other. To anyone who’s seriously vision-impaired or blind, though, this is all theoretical and out of reach, and a number of artists are taking it upon themselves to address this unfairness.
George Wurtzel is a blind instructor at Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind in Napa, California, helping to teach the newly blind a range of blindness skills. He’s been a professional woodworker doing architectural millwork, “Which makes me an art-isan more than an art-ist,” he says. Or so he claims. Wurtzel recently converted a barn into the Tactile Arts Center to help people at the camp “expand their artistic horizons” by teaching them how to create artworks by feel.
About five years ago, artist Andrew Myers—who is sighted and lives in Laguna Beach, CA—came to realize that his own work had a tactile aspect he hadn’t appreciated until a chance encounter with a blind man at an art show. Now, with his own eyes wide open to the power of tactile art, he’s created a special surprise for Wurtzel to hang in the Tactile Art gallery, as you’ll see in this video from Cantor Fine Art.
Part of what makes the story of Wurzel’s surprise so sweet is the video’s musical score, which includes a song composed, performed, and recorded by blind students at the Academy of Music for the Blind. Talented blind musicians are nothing new of course, but the song is great, and so is this video of how they produced it.