I created PATS -Perceiving Art Through Sculpture- a collaboration which takes contemporary art off the wall, makes 3D sculpture and uses technology to put visual ideas into the hands of the blind for them to see. (It goes without saying that none of this would be possible without the generosity of the illustrators who have permitted me to use their work to bring my idea into the third dimension.)
Facts: Visual impairment affects a staggering 3.4 million Americans and an estimated 285 million(1) worldwide. Just a glance at those numbers and I shake my head in much the same way as sighted gallery visitors who view our test exhibits side by side for the first time. They say, "Why hasn't someone done this before?"
Because the right time is right now.
The concept took form in March of '18 and I began creating sculpture at the average rate of perhaps two pieces a month. In lieu of a tentative gallery opening in late 2019 for all the work combined, each month I display the most recent work alongside the illustration that inspired it, at Gallery Plus #109 at 78th St. Studios.
Each month when we chat, gallery visitors are startled by PATS potential and each month I realize just how much help I need to reach that opening night on time.
To date, I've cobbled together a small group who promise to help PATS plot direction and brainstorm through its growth. (You know who you are and I'm thankful.)
Just this month the universe sent us a CWRU Thinkbox grad student who -after visiting my website- volunteered to do PATS 3D scanning and printing, thus freeing me to sculpt and do administrative work. (That's a really huge commitment...Thank you from the bottom of my heart, S.S.)
The best news this week is that S.S. and I have created and scanned the prototype for a PATS mascot, soon to go into production and be available to you for a donation. Every bit of the profit will support further R&D. No-one here gets paid: PATS is run entirely on good will and gifts. Our 501c3 non-profit application is currently in the works.
If you visited in August, you saw a figure from George Kocar's controversial work, Fool's Parade. Coming in September are several sculptures -including a new cat for you kitty lovers- created from the work of everybody's favorite Mexican-American artist, Higo.
Behind the scenes there's much more work waiting in the wings. PATS needs a volunteer to help broaden business connections, legal help to write a simple contract and volunteer office help to troubleshoot, create a Go Fund Me campaign and write grants. We also need a second sculptor, an electronics wonk and someone young and ambitious to take my place.
Are you one of these? If you are willing to step in any capacity listed or not listed, contact me here. Thanks for reading!