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Laumeier Unveils New Blind Maquettes with Support From Lighthouse for the Blind - Saint Louis
Lighthouse for the Blind’s Stephen Kissel (left), Joe Hull and Sandra Tucker explore the new Blind Maquette of Tony Tasset’s Eye, 2007 at Laumeier Sculpture Park on November 18. Photo by Mike Venso / Laumeier Sculpture Park.

ST. LOUIS, MO.- Laumeier Sculpture Park unveiled six new blind maquettes offering enhanced interpretation for visitors of all abilities. With financial and evaluative assistance provided by the Lighthouse for the Blind – Saint Louis , Laumeier has created a series of six maquettes (cast scale models) including five sculptures and a topographic orientation map of the Park. The recently completed maquettes are the second phase of a new Wayfinding Initiative at Laumeier designed to improve the visitor experience and the interpretation of the Park’s sculptural, historical and natural elements.

Laumeier and the Lighthouse for the Blind worked together to evaluate existing interpretation and collaboratively designed these new interpretive tools that make cultural experiences more inclusive. Each bronze maquette is sited atop a concrete and aluminum base that provides interpretive text panels in both printed English and Braille. The design of the maquette bases, the Braille description and the maquettes themselves all provide a conducive and engaging experience for blind or low-vision visitors.

Laumeier’s blind maquette program began in 1991 with assistance from Citicorp and the National Endowment for the Arts in creating 12 maquettes. Eight of the original 12 remain on display throughout the Park. As the maquette program continues to grow, Laumeier plans to update and replace the old bases and interpretive text, bringing the entire program in compliance with the new wayfinding and interpretive standard established with staff under the direction of LP/w Design Studios, Milwaukee.

“Laumeier is grateful for the assistance of the Lighthouse for the Blind in helping make interpretation of these great works of art more inclusive for visitors of all abilities,” said Marilu Knode , Executive Director at Laumeier Sculpture Park. “This effort is part of an ongoing initiative to improve the visitor experience at Laumeier that will provide greater context and deeper understanding of the Park’s collection.”

“The Lighthouse is very pleased to partner with Laumeier in adding these new maquettes to what already is a top-shelf facility in its desire to be as accessible as possible for people with visual impairments. We believe it is crucial that we as a community recognize the needs of the visually impaired and continue to improve all cultural and entertainment venues to be as accessible as possible to those with disabilities,” said John Thompson, President of the Lighthouse for the Blind – Saint Louis.

“I think these new maquettes and the new tactile map are going to go a long way towards allowing blind and visually impaired visitors to enjoy and to study some truly phenomenal works of art,” said Stephen Kissel, Blind Community Enrichment Associate for the Lighthouse for the Blind – Saint Louis . “The models really defy the misconception that art can only exist as a visual display, and that is the sort of creativity we’re trying to use in order to benefit a larger community of sighted and non-sighted individuals.”

The Lighthouse for the Blind is a privately chartered, 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established in 1933. Through the manufacture and sale of products to various government agencies as well as commercial customers and individuals, Lighthouse is able to further its mission of assisting individuals who are legally blind maintain dignity and independence by making available employment, education and support services. Lighthouse is committed to providing a supportive environment where its employees can count on developing new and productive skills that will assist them in reaching amazing levels of independence.

The new blind maquettes represent five sculptures and a topographic map of the Park:

· Jenny Holzer, ten plaques from The Living Series, 1980-82
· Mary Miss, Pool Complex: Orchard Valley, 1983-85
· Judith Shea, American Heartland Garden , 1992 and Public Goddess, 1992
· Tony Tasset, Eye, 2007
· Ernest Trova, Falling Man, 1969
· Laumeier Sculpture Park Orientation Map, 2010

The bronze maquettes were cast by local artist and educator Thad Duhigg and the interpretive signage was fabricated by Engraphix, Inc. of St. Louis .

Laumeier Sculpture Park | Lighthouse for the Blind | Saint Louis |

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