Shanae Bethea glides her fingers
along the cool marble, fluent curves and deep, rigid lines of
an intriguing sculpture of a human body. To this 14-year-old,
art isn’t just a visual form of expression -- it can be
seen through the hands.
“It’s in the touch and textures,”
Bethea said as she explored the Zimbabwe stone sculpture exhibit
while on an Airport tour with fellow classmates of the Center
for the Visually Impaired. The entire exhibit, lined along the
walls and center aisles in the Transportation Mall on Concourses
T and A, weighs a total of about 10,000 pounds.
Three groups from the Atlanta center consisting
of middle- and high-school students visited the Airport recently.
Many have traveled through Hartsfield-Jackson numerous times
with limited free time, but on this occasion a few hours were
carved out to see how the world’s busiest airport operates.
The tour was arranged by the Airport Volunteers
unit, and students along with chaperones were escorted by Department
of Aviation employees. David Vogt and Katherine Marbury of the
Arts Program talked with the visitors.
“Many times, people may be at the Airport
for delays or have to spend extended time here. So, we want
to give passengers a quality experience while at the Airport,”
“I really enjoyed being at the Airport
today, especially seeing the exhibit,” said Bethea, who
has limited sight in her right eye. “I’ve traveled
around and out of the country, too, but I don’t get a
chance to see art exhibits like these.”
Helping to expose visually impaired students
to more social activities is part of the center’s mission,
said staff member Rebecca Bartels. “We want to give them
opportunities to experience, learn different cultures and art,
and learn how to interact as well as observe travelers. We feel
very fortunate to be here.”