Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

InSights Art 2022

September 08, 2022 American Printing House Episode 60
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
InSights Art 2022
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Change Makers, we're previewing the upcoming InSights Arts competition. We'll learn more about the program and speak to an artist. Then hear about the upcoming Helen Keller Symposium.

Podcast Participants (In Order of Appearance)

  • Jack Fox, Narrator
  • Sara Brown, APH Public Relations Manager
  • Meg Outland, APH Visitors services and InSights Art Coordinator
  • Kylie Sykes, InSights Artist

Additional Links


Jack Fox:

Welcome to Change Makers, a podcast from APH . We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision. Here's your host.

Sara Brown:

Hello, and welcome to Change Makers. I'm APH's Public Relations Manager, Sara Brown . And today we are previewing the upcoming 2022 InSights Art competition, held during APH's Annual Meeting. We'll learn more about the program and speak to an artist. After that, we'll hear about the upcoming Helen caller symposium. Up first, we have visitor services and InSights Art coordinator, Meg Outland. Hello, Meg, and welcome to Change Makers.

Meg Outland:

Hi, thank you for having me.

Sara Brown:

Now, can you talk to us about InSights Art and what it is for those who might not be aware?

Meg Outland:

Yes. So , um, back in the early 1990s, APH started the InSights Art program and competition, which is an international art competition for students and adults who are blind or low vision. So back in the early 90s, there really wasn't a lot of opportunity for artists who are blind or low vision. Um, it just really wasn't. There weren't many good programs. So APH wanted to create a program that would spark inspiration for folks who were blind or low vision , who are artistic and creative types of people. So we've been around ever since then

Sara Brown:

Talk about some of the work you've seen submitted for InSights Art in the past?

Meg Outland:

We received countless of entries each year. Um , we have artworks of all different kinds. Um, think maybe like crochet pieces. We actually received a , um, crochet blanket this year think 2D, artworks, like canvases , um, sketches drawings. And we also receive a lot of sculptures , um, throughout the American printing house for the blind. We have artworks that are hung up throughout the building. We have sculptures in folks offices. A lot of those that are hung up art , older artworks.

Sara Brown:

And I know you're new, pretty new in your position, but can you talk about some of the products that are available for children who are blind or low vision that they could use to create art?

Meg Outland:

So, like I had mentioned earlier , um, InSights Art was created because there weren't enough opportunities for artists who were blind or low vision. Um, so I'm really grateful that we exist , but additionally, that APH also creates products for artists. Um, one of my favorites that we actually featured on , um, our InSights Art Facebook group is the , um, Paint by Number Coloring Book Series. So , um, they have an aquatic one that has an octopus and a clownfish and a dolphin. And then they also have a safari one as well that features other safari critters, but these are paint by number coloring books. And they're also tactile.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to add about InSights Art?

Meg Outland:

So this year is going to be our first year in-person doing an award ceremony since 2019, the past two years, 2020 and '21 have all been digital. And I am really looking forward to meeting artists that I have not been able to meet before. I've been in contact with some people, but I am truly grateful that we are able to do an in person exhibit and ceremony and dinner. I think it's really great that artists from around the country and even around the world can come together and meet one another and share their inspiration and share their artwork because they're extremely talented. So I am very much looking forward to that and I encourage everybody who either is in Louisville at that point in time. It's October 7 , um, come and check out the exhibit . Um, any employees at APH that wanna stop by and see the ceremony and visit the artists . I really encourage that as well. I think it's gonna be a really exciting time.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much, Meg, for joining me today on Change Makers.

Meg Outland:

Thank you.

Sara Brown:

And I have put a link in the show notes to InSights Art. That way you can get more information and learn how you can submit for next year's art competition. Now we're talking to insights, art artist , Kylie Sykes , hello, Kylie, and welcome to Change Makers.

Kylie Sykes:

Hello. Thank you.

Sara Brown:

Now, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Kylie Sykes:

I've been going to the Braille Institute for a number of years, and I am involved in their art department specifically as both a volunteer and a student. And , um, to be honest, if it wasn't for them, I would not be where I am today. So I am very, very thankful for everything that they have provided me.

Sara Brown:

Talk about how you got into art?

Kylie Sykes:

Sure. Um, I got into art because of , um, my love for , uh, creating pretty things. And , um, it was just something that I thought I would be able to do because of my visual issue . Um , I just thought that, Hey, you know, why don't I get into , um, doing lot of rugs? And that's what started my whole art industry basically <laugh> is , um, my mom teaching me to do that when I was very young and , um, I've just, I've stuck with it. And since then, like I said , um, I have delved into a few other things, thanks to the Braille Institute, such as mosaics and , um, poetry. And I'm now a published poet as well.

Sara Brown:

Talk about the process that you take when you're creating a rug?

Kylie Sykes:

Um, well , latch book is pretty simple , um, because I don't get into the real involved ones. <laugh> I stick to , um, the rugs that have guides with them or maps, if you will. Um, although some of them that I have done have not, and they've just been , um, the colors have just been printed on the canvas and I've, I have gotten way nervous with those, but I've done them and , um, I've pushed through and just gone with it. <laugh>

Sara Brown:

How do you create art from start to finish? Can you just talk about that process?

Kylie Sykes:

Um, sure. I basically start with a canvas. Um, they're different sizes, but normally I'll do a 12 inch by 12 inch and , um, I use a special tool called a latch hook and , um, I , um, like I said, I follow a map , um, the map that comes in the kit with everything else and , um, the yarn is already precut, which is nice. And , um, it's almost like , um, tying knots with a tool basically.

Sara Brown:

And is there anything else you'd like to say to an aspiring artist that might be a bit intimidated?

Kylie Sykes:

My advice is if you think you can't do it, try it because you never know, it may be something that you will learn to love.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much , Kylie for joining me today on Change Makers.

Kylie Sykes:

You're very welcome.

Sara Brown:

Now we're gonna take a quick look at a local Louisville event coming up in September. That's Hidden Legacies of Helen Keller, a symposium that's gonna happen on Saturday, September 17 through Sunday, September 18. We have APH's Museum Director here, Micheal Hudson, to talk briefly about what you can expect from the two day event. Hello, Micheal, and welcome to Change Makers.

Micheal Hudson:

Thank you, Sara.

Sara Brown:

So talk about your role in this event and Helen Keller and what the event is?

Micheal Hudson:

Well, my job has been to, I'm kind of like the logistics guy . Um, we decided several years ago that to kind of, as our big announcement , uh, uh, that the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Archive had arrived in Louisville. We wanted to do a history symposium and , um, originally we had scheduled it for , uh, her birthday this summer , um, in June. But if you remember back in , uh, January, as we were pulling everything together and getting our program , uh, situated the COVID was just deadly. And , uh, you know, Kentucky was in the midst of a , a big surge. And so we decided that we just weren't ready to do it in June. And so we , we postponed it until September 17 and 18 , uh, this late, late this summer. And that's really helped us a lot to , to pull, pull all our logistics together, to get all of our speakers. You know, it turns out Sara that planning one of these meetings. I have never done it before to plan a big history symposium. And so we've got 16 presenters coming in from , uh, all over the world. Uh, uh, we're bringing, and I think the farthest away is , uh, Dr. Iain Hutchison is coming in from the University of Glasgow. Um , we have somebody coming in from Canada. We have , uh, Oklahoma and Massachusetts , uh, so all over the country. Uh , and , um, and the , the, the , the idea was that, you know, the AFB Helen Keller Archive was just this amazingly rich resource, and we wanna encourage , uh, researchers. And so we needed to let you know, kind of the , the history field , um, um, blindness advocates , um, disability advocates, disability, historians know that it was, it had moved from its home in New York down here to Kentucky. Um, and that we were set up to, to , to assist researchers to, to work with the collection. So we, we started recruiting a lot of people who are doing all kinds of different topics around the life of this amazing American woman, Helen Keller . Um , and we, we were also looking at, you know, there's this thing in , in the disability community, you know, "nothing about us without us." And so we wanted to make sure that we had all kinds of voices. We had young voices, we had veteran voices , um, you know, young authors, who've just written their first book. Um , we have a couple of those. We have people who are gonna be presenting in ASL. Uh, we have one , uh, presenter , uh, Cristina Hartmann very much looking forward to her presentation, which is gonna be in pro tactile. So pro tactile is it's, uh, something that has largely come right out of the deafblind community, where a interpreter is behind, uh, Cristina , um, signing o nto her back telling her what, what is going on in the room, what she i s seeing. And then , uh, Cristina is communicating to the room using ASL, American Sign Language, and then another interpreter is speaking for her to t he, to the room. So just, just the accessibility, uh, part of this meeting is gonna be really exciting and educational. Um, you know, how people communicate, uh, historically o f course, Helen historically interpreted by doing what's called manual sign language. U m, although she did really work hard trying to teach herself to speak, but unless you, unless you were around her a lot, it was, it was hard to understand what she was saying. So she usually, she had an interpreter as well. U m, but she would, she would, uh, manually speak into, uh, Anne Sullivan or later, Polly Thompson's hand, and then they would speak for her. And then when someone would speak to Helen, they would be finger spelling into, into Helen's hands. Um, and so you know, this kind of development of the way we communicate, um, is, i s, i s just as much a part of the meeting as, um, as the, the Hidden Legacy of H elen Keller. That's the title of the, of the symposium hidden legacies.

Sara Brown:

So it's a two day event talk about what people can expect. You just touched on Helen Keller, talk about the fee and where the symposium will be held?

Micheal Hudson:

Sure. So , um, so we are, co-sponsoring this with the Filson Historical Society here in Louisville, they have a brand new conference center. So right now they're just really well set up to host a meeting like this. And although when we remodel our building, we will be able to host meetings like this right now we needed a partner. So we we're , the meeting is actually over at the Filson Club, or the Filson Historical Society . And , um, it's over two days. So on Saturday, September 17, there's a full range of , uh, of , uh, symposium meeting , uh, conference sessions all day long. Uh, we're gonna have lunch box lunch. And then , uh, the evening keynote , uh, speeches by Dr. Sanjay Gulati, uh , a child psychologist who works with deaf children. Um, who's , who's working on this thing called Language Deprivation. He's studying the way that the brain develops , uh, in young children when , uh, when you have a disability , uh, uh, like Helen had , uh, uh, uh, either deafness or deaf blindness. And then on Sunday , uh, we're gonna start the day out with a tour here at the American Printing House, and you're gonna get a behind the scenes tour of the new AFB Helen Keller Archive space , um, as well as our braille floor and the , and the museum, and for a lot of people that may be the last time you get to see the museum before it closes. Um, and then in the afternoon, we'll be back over at the Filson Club for the , the final session. So it's a day and a half , uh, a packed , just jam packed full of, of sessions on all aspects of Helen's life. Um, and you know, a lot of people think they know who Helen is and was because they've seen the miracle worker once, but you know, that, that, that play ends with her seven years old and she lives, you know, until 1968 travels all over the world and just does amazing things. And so we're gonna explore all that. And so, yeah, there's a , the, the registration fee. So, so the registration is, is free of charge to , uh, APH staff members and board members and members of the Filson Historical Society. And then for the general public it's $75 , uh, for the full day, two days, and then $25 for students who are enrolled, enrolled students $25.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this event?

Micheal Hudson:

Well, I'm just really excited about the diversity of our speakers , um, and the fact that we have, you know, representatives of a lot of different communities , uh, and, you know, Helen is she , she can be sometimes is his ambivalent figure to certain , uh, communities like the deaf community , um, because she was so influenced by Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who's this prominent oralist, oralist thought that, oh , deaf kids should be taught to read lips and should learn to speak. And in the 20th century, the deaf community really fought back against. And , uh, they, they , they fought to recover the right to use ASL , um, and to , uh, to , to control the way that they communicated. So , uh, you know, Helen is kind of an ambivalent figure to them. So it's gonna be very interesting. We're gonna have lots of scholars. Who've worked on this and from the deaf community and from the deafblind community is gonna be really , um, awesome to explore the way that Helen is seen by different communities.

Sara Brown:

All right , Micheal, thank you so much for joining me today on Change Makers.

Micheal Hudson:

Thank you, Sara. We're looking forward to it.

Sara Brown:

It sounds like it's gonna be a great event. And for you out there listening, I've put a link in the show notes so you can sign up in , join in on the symposium. Thank you very much for listening to this episode of Change Makers. I've put links in the Show Notes, so you can learn more about InSights Art, APH's upcoming Annual Meeting, and the Helen Keller symposium. Have a great day, and remember to look for ways you can be a changemaker this week.