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Promotional image that reads "Celebrating the Arts at Friedman Place"

Celebrating the Arts at Friedman Place was a resounding success last year! Thank you to all of the artists who contributed their artwork for display and to everyone who came out to celebrate opening night with us.

The third annual Celebrating the Arts at Friedman Place exhibition will be displayed at Friedman Place for two weeks, with the opening occurring Wednesday evening at 5:30 on October 23, 2019.

Three mixed-media pieces by Friedman Place residents. The works, cited clockwise, are "Untitled," "We Are Strong Together," and "We Face Today"

Three mixed-media pieces by Friedman Place residents. The works, cited clockwise, are “Untitled,” “We Are Strong Together,” and “We Face Today”

The artwork exhibited in Celebrating the Arts at Friedman Place is related to vision, blindness, or disability. Several of our residents submitted artwork—projects were made in our therapeutic weaving program and crafts put on by our activities department. Some of our residents work on art in their rooms, in their preferred medium, from painting to clay sculpting. Pictured are three mixed-media pieces that a group of residents collaborated on. Many of the woven pieces displayed will be for sale along with many other pieces at our upcoming weaving sale in November!

A woven tapestry, part of the collaboration between Julia Miller and residents, "Blind Weavers Explore Sound"

A woven tapestry, part of the collaboration between Julia Miller and residents, “Blind Weavers Explore Sound”

Several artists in the community submitted art for exhibition. Artist Julia Miller, a professional sound artist and musician, and a group of weavers who are blind and disabled collaborated on “Blind Weavers Explore Sound.” Ms. Miller curated the display. Together, they created several pieces of woven fiber art resulting from their unique exploration of sound and blindness.

"Proud Happy Friends," a collage submitted by the students in room 201 at Amundsen High School

“Proud Happy Friends,” a collage submitted by the students in room 201 at Amundsen High School

Sound frequently helps people who are blind navigate spaces with increased awareness of other people and the surroundings, similar to how people with sight use their vision. Sound helps people with blindness understand physical space in a three-dimensional world. The Guest Artist, Julia Miller, was involved as a partner with the blind-weavers in the development both of the woven art piece(s) and the presentation, which describes both their process in creating the work and what they want to communicate about sound and blindness. 

Fiber art included in "Blind Weavers Explore Sound," by Julia A. Miller and Friedman Place residents. Curated by Julia A. Miller

Fiber art included in “Blind Weavers Explore Sound,” by Julia A. Miller and Friedman Place residents. Curated by Julia A. Miller

The specific design of the project is an outgrowth of the work of the group—blind weavers and guest. The work incorporates sounds through materials used and recorded narrative that is triggered by touch using circuitry, sensors or other types of triggers woven into the piece.

For the recordings, the sound of the weaver weaving (many of our weavers have a very distinct weaving rhythm) were used as well as the weavers being asked prompt questions:

  • What was the best thing you heard today?
  • What was the strangest thing you heard today?
  • Sing/hum us your favorite song.
  • What does happiness sound like?
  • Recite your treadling pattern while you weave (many weavers already do!)
  • Tell us your stories, especially how you became blind and how sounds serve an important role in your daily life
A QR code that contains an audio file describing a selection of artwork featured in the exhibition

Audio descriptions are available by pointing your smartphone’s camera at QR code above. When prompted, tap “open in drive” and you will then hear a description of each piece of art.

This year’s exhibition will debut a new accessibility feature: audio descriptions! Generous volunteers spent time writing and reading concise, objective descriptions of all artwork in the exhibition to help guide listeners through each piece. Try it out! Open your camera phone and hover over the code; a drop-down notification will appear with a link to click and listen to brief descriptions of some of the pieces at the exhibit.

Friedman Place is grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts and to the Illinois Arts Council for their support of the arts at Friedman Place.

National Endowment for the Arts logo
Illinois Arts Council Agency logo

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