As public venues throughout the world are getting creative and making art more accessible to people living with disabilities, Taipei's National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (NSYSMH) announced on Feb. 12 the completion of its first braille profile of an upcoming exhibition, which will provide information about the event and the featured artist, Lin Chang-hu (林章湖).
Explaining NSYSMH's motivation for offering a more inclusive experience for the visually impaired community, Director-General Liang Yung-fei (梁永斐) said it was the joyful and touching moment last year when he witnessed student Shen Yen-lin (沈彥霖) fluently read to the audience from a braille-written certificate recognizing his flutist skills.
The braille profile for the "2020 Hidden Dragon, Do Not Act: Lin Chang-hu Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition" is not only NSYSMH's first event profile in braille format, it is also the nation's first braille profile that is customized for students, Liang noted.
While there is still plenty of room for improvement, the NSYSMH director-general said he believes that with exhibition profiles in braille, sight-impaired visitors will face less barriers in participating in arts and cultural activities and appreciate artworks more easily.
NSYSMH is committed to safeguarding cultural equality and creating an environment that all members of society can rely on to meet their needs. Last year, the venue teamed up with the Ministry of Education to hold an exhibition showcasing works by disabled artists in an effort aligned with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3.
In addition, live sign-language interpretation has been provided at the opening ceremony for each exhibition at NSYSMH's Chungshan National Gallery since 2019.
NSYSMH will not only send 200 copies of the exhibition's braille profile to schools and institutes for the visually impaired, but also reconsider how it can expand efforts to make art more accessible for those living with various disabilities, and help this community better appreciate and explore more art.
Furthermore, NSYSMH is also considering changing the rules when it comes to the familiar "Do Not Touch" instructions by including touchable artworks in future exhibitions.
Featuring elegant calligraphy and serene ink paintings by Lin on figurines, plants, and animals, the exhibition on the famed calligrapher-artist will run from Feb. 13 to March 24 at NSYSMH's Chungshan National Gallery.
In other related news, Taipei's National Theater and Concert Hall has become the first national performance venue to offer gender-friendly services by transforming its gender-specific bathroom into a gender-neutral bathroom on the first floor of the National Concert Hall.
Ann Yi-ruu Liu (劉怡汝), executive and artistic director of the National Theater and Concert Hall (NTCH), said that gender-friendly toilets would also come in handy for visitors with young children, family members with rare diseases, or elderly parents.