The Kentucky Center’s Access Services program ensures that patrons at the Kentucky Center and Brown Theatre have the accommodations they need to enjoy events. Access Services also provides Audio Description and Caption Theater for other arts and cultural organizations in Louisville. However, did you know that Access Services also has a mission component to ensure that adults and students with disabilities experience the arts in their communities.
In March, the Arts Access Education component of Access Services provided an artist residency at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville, Kentucky. Artist & Blacksmith Bob Montgomery brought an actual forge to first demonstrate and then teach his artistry to the students at the Kentucky School for the Deaf. Throughout the four-day residency middle and high school students were introduced to the five principles of art and how they related to metal sculpting. Each student throughout the week was able to forge their own metal hook and as a group they worked on leaves that will be attached to a metal tree they are going to place on the Kentucky School for the Deaf campus.
Alex Meckes, Art Teacher at Kentucky School for the Deaf shared, “This opened students up to the world of art. In the classroom, because of funding and resources, art can be limited to certain mediums. Our students now were able to see that art is much wider than what we can experience in our classroom on a day to day basis. Students were able to see a man whose job was to shoe horses, a laborious task, turn his craft into expression and creativity.”
It was an exciting week for everyone involved but especially, students, where regardless of their abilities were able to work on the forge. Interpreters were provided to facilitate communication between Bob and the students. A sophomore student shared the following regarding the residency, “At the first time I didn’t like it, because it felt awkward! Now I realize I’ve learned so much from Bob this week. We learned different things about blacksmithing. We learned about the process, how to make hooks and leaves, and the temperatures you use for different processes! it was so interesting, and I loved it too! it was so fun and enjoyable doing something together!”
According to Bob, “This type of activity builds confidence, simply because they have never done anything like it before. Everything is hot, sharp and dirty, so what child wouldn’t love that!”
Access Services Arts Access Education program is currently made possible by The Kentucky Center.