by Peter Altschul
Friends-In-Art (FIA) is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB). Our advocacy activities include:
- Assisting museums to make their exhibits and facilities more accessible to blind and visually impaired people;
- Advocating that concert programs be available in braille and large print;
- Promoting audio descriptions of “visuals” (actions, costumes, and facial expressions) for movies, musicals, and television shows; and
- Working with designers of popular music-related hardware and software to make their products more user-friendly for musicians who are blind.
In order to enhance opportunities for artists with visual impairments, we:
- Offer an annual $2,000 scholarship for budding artists who attend college or arts-related training schools. Deadline: February 15, 2022. To apply, visit https://acb.org/scholarships.
- Assist music schools to develop strategies to better prepare visually impaired students to benefit from their programs; and
- Create podcasts featuring visually impaired artists. Please check them out at https://artparlor.pinecast.co/.
In conjunction with ACB’s annual conferences and conventions, we:
- Produce an annual variety show known as the Showcase of the Performing Arts, where musicians, writers, and other artists perform for a live audience. This event is also broadcast worldwide through ACB Media, www.acbmedia.org.
- Organize exhibits where painters and photographers with visual impairments can exhibit their work and compete for prizes;
- Offer workshops to sharpen skills of musicians, writers, and other artists; and
- Provide a space where people can sell CDs, books, and other arts-related materials.
Many of us are singers, instrumentalists, writers, painters, photographers, and sculptors, while some of us enjoy being part of the audience. Whether you are an artist or an audience member, join us!