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An Artwork’s Journey: The Road to the InSights Art Exhibition!

A cape made of twisted white wool is displayed on a mannequin.

‘Tis the season! The InSights Art Exhibition this October is quickly approaching. InSights Art is an international art contest open to artists of all ages who are blind and low vision American Printing House for the Blind has hosted the annual competition since 1992. This spring, we announced the 45 artists that placed in the 2023 Season. But what does exhibition prep entail?

Photography is one of the first steps during the summer. All artwork on display during the exhibition is photographed, including short video clips that capture 3D artworks like  sculptures. This year, InSights Art selected a total of 90 artworks to display in the exhibit, including all winners. Some of the artworks are featured in the InSights Art Calendar the following year.

Next comes the artwork descriptions, which is one of my favorite preparation activities. I have an entire ritual for this, which includes grabbing a warm cup of coffee and putting on my favorite cozy playlist. I have a checklist for myself when I describe each artwork; I want them to be as detailed as possible for the viewer. The emotion an artwork evokes is one of the most important aspects of the description. Then the rest easily flows in, such as colors, texture, and dimensions.

After descriptions are complete, then comes matting and framing the artworks, constructing braille and large print labels with our Production Team, and hiring professional art installers to create the best exhibit experience. It can take an entire day to install the InSights Art Exhibition, so the installation itself is a very demanding process!

Think of questions such as, “Which artworks would make sense on this wall aesthetically? Is there a theme we are trying to convey throughout the space? Do some artworks need extra lighting to display a certain element of the piece? For ceramics and sculptures, which pedestals would make the most sense to display them?” And even down to the nitty gritty, most vital questions; is this accessible for those who want to experience the exhibit? Are labels easy to access and read, for both print readers and braille readers? Is there anything that obstructs an entryway, or walkway?

Once we ensure that the space is ready for guests, then comes the fun part! Attendees of Annual Meeting can purchase their favorite artworks to take home with them! These are usually priced by the artist, their teacher, or their family. Purchasing artworks is first come, first serve, though, so you must be quick!

This is my second year running the InSights Art Program and Exhibition. The exhibit and ceremony are one of my absolute favorite things to do each year, since I can finally welcome the artists, families, and teachers that I spend all year in anticipation to meet and celebrate!


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