Wakefield District Sight Aid charity to run art classes for the first time

The charity that helps residents who are blind or have sight loss across the district has secured a culture grant from Wakefield Council to run Art Before Vision, a series of tactile art classes.

The project by Wakefield District Sight Aid (WDSA) will consist of eight weekly creative workshops between February and March 2023.

Local artist, Ruth Fones, will be leading the project.

Chief executive of Wakefield District Sight Aid, Hayley Grocock.

She has over 15 years worth of experience teaching postgraduate and adult education students, most recently developing artwork based on conversations with blind and partially sighted people in Huddersfield.

Ruth is currently involved in a research project exploring how to create artwork that is more accessible or blind and partially sighted people in Wakefield.

Hayley Grocock, Chief executive of WDSA, said: “We are running some focus groups over the next few weeks and would love you to be there to help us shape these workshops into something that is driven by you to ensure you get the most out of them.

“Techniques we are considering are tactile drawing, 3D and textured painting, clay, collage, stencilling, embossing, paper stitching, print making and quilling but we really do want your feedback.

WDSA service users, Margaret and Beryl.

“Participants will be given the skills and materials to create work to a high standard and that is original to you.

“Whether you have previously been creative, or have never done anything like this before, this course is for you!

“Ruth is truly passionate about empowering anyone to be an artist and is dedicated to finding alternative ways of working to break down accessibility barriers and ensure everyone has the same opportunities to be creative.

“We will also be employing two creative advisors with lived sight loss experience to help develop and facilitate these classes. It really is such an exciting pilot project to be part of.”

The focus groups will be held at Wakefield District Sight Aid on 35 Peterson Road, Wakefield, WF1 4DU on Wednesday, November 30 from 10am to noon and Thursday, December 8 from 10am to noon.

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