Drawing as Seeing: A Multi-Sensory Approach to Art

Drawing as Seeing: A Multi-Sensory Approach to Art

Fulbright Greece supports short-term visits of American scholars and artists to enhance collaborations and exchange ideas in all disciplines through the Fulbright Intercountry Travel Grant.

Making good use of this grant, artist Pamela Lawton traveled to Greece from Siena, Italy, where she was on a Fulbright Scholar grant at the Siena Art Institute. In Athens, she joined forces with Fotis Flevotomos to organize two multisensory workshops within the Seeing with the Senses program at the Benaki Museum for visitors who are blind and partially sighted, art-therapists, art teachers, museum educators and other cultural professionals. One workshop was held at the Benaki Museum and the other at the outdoor pavilion of St. Demetrius Lombardiaris Church at Philopappos Hill.

The two artists invited a diverse group of participants, including people with low or no vision, people who teach or work in the field of special education, art teachers, university professors and students, museum educators, and other cultural professionals, to interact with museum artworks, architecture and nature through drawing. The diversity of the participants' wide-ranging interests within the museum setting sparked lively discussions and richly expressive artworks.

The program combined short walks through a landscape structured by Greek architect and painter Dimitris Pikionis, tactile rubbings, experimentation with drawing-accessible materials, verbal description, and discussion. Educators were introduced to methods that help non-artists with visual impairments approach the creative process and interact more confidently with art and architecture.

Fulbright connects: Pamela Lawton and Fotis Flevotomos first met in 2012 when Fotis was in the United States on a Fulbright grant at the New York Public Library to explore the connections between art and low vision, study museum access practices, and contribute to the library’s services for patrons who have low or no vision. Since meeting, Pamela and Fotis have been regularly sharing ideas around their common interests.

Newsletter 5 Pamela Lawson