Blind Bronx students exhibit found object art pieces: ‘Look what we can do’
By Catherina Gioino
A group of blind Bronx students proved you don’t need perfect vision to produce eye-catching works of art.
Students at the Lavelle School for the Blind showcased their work after spending the year making art under the guidance of a teacher who’s also sightless.
Ashley Morisseau, a student at Lavelle since 2013, said she never believed being born blind would prevent her from making art.
“Some people think that … people like us, that we can’t do that much, we can’t create art or play music or do anything,” said Morisseau, 20, who’s been attending Lavelle since 2013.
“But guess what? We can.”
A crowd of students and teachers packed into the school’s gym, oohed and ahhed as they browsed the tables lined with whimsical art pieces.
Many of the students, who have differing levels of vision impairment, gushed over the use of everyday objects — colanders, soup cans and seatbelts — combined with plasters and paints to create the works of art.
“A big part of what I teach is problem solving,” said art instructor Jessica Jones, 48, who has been working at the Williamsbridge school for the past 12 years.
“I think that the production and the experience of art is a tool for teaching.”
Jones, who began as an art teacher at Public School 9 in 1997, lost her sight at the age of 32. Although she took some time off to go to rehab, she was determined to continue her passion.
“You have to learn how to adapt in everything because people aren’t going to do it for you,” Jones said
Switching schools and disclosing her limited vision proved difficult in her job search. She finally caught a big break when the Lavelle School signed her for a summer session in 2006.
“I’m teaching these kids that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Unfortunately that’s not really the message that the public in the United States gives to people with disabilities,” she said.
“Look at what we can do, don’t underestimate us.”
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