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Seeing Art Through the Hands
By Roishina C. Henderson

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.

Seeing Art 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.

Seeing Art Through the Hands

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,” Vogt said.

“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.”

Seeing Art Through the Hands

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.”

© 2008 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.


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