Braille on the Streets:
Clarke Reynolds American Tour
Support this film - (click here)
EAST COAST— The biggest braille dots in the world are artfully dotting East Coast Cities of the United States (visible from the air) this spring,
The art tour is called "Braille on the Streets" created by UK based Braille Artist Clarke Reynolds, known in Europe for multi-sensory Braille Art installations (such as city-wide braille trails).
"Its been a dream of mine to personally bring my Braille Art to the United States," says Clarke. "I'm thrilled, and literally bringing the biggest scaled work I've ever created."
Reynolds has partnered with the blindDANCE Film Festival creating a feature documentary film highlighting the journey, including the public interacting with the world's largest ever braille art.
“Braille can be artful in addition to communicating words, that's one thing I'm grateful we are sharing with the world," says Reynolds (who is scheduled to film his own giant Braille Art from a helicopter above New York City this May, and he is legally blind).
Reynold's road tour is appropriately segmented into four sections and will appear as such in the film: Art, Education, Adventure and EATING.
FIRST about THE ART:
LOVE is cheduled to be the biggest word ever spelled in Braille on the streets anywhere in the world.
Each Braille dot colored red and white in stripes depicting the American Flag from left to right (with some blue with stars included too of coarse), while still spelling the word "love".
Additionally, Reynolds includes silhouettes of iconic local skyline structures tastefully inside each Braille dot.
A Braille letter can include up to six dots, with each of these dots being three feet in diameter (each the size of a sidewalk square).
NOW about the EDUCATION:
"Education is the reason for this film, art absolutely, but education through art," says Ben Fox, the film's director, who is the founder of the blindDANCE Film Festival.
"We hope to raise awareness, 9 of 10 people who are blind still may have some usable vision and appreciate the different colors and sizes of the dots of Clarke's Braille Art," says Fox.
Both Reynolds and Fox agree this tour is part of a bigger mission (shared with others, some to be featured in the film) raising awareness of the strengths, talents and tools present in blindness community.
It is Reynolds work ethic that caught the attention of blindDANCE producers, in addition to his artistic talent and creative technique.
"We have a dream to see an equal employment rate for the blindness community and our sighted peers. Today 75 percent of people who are blind are unemployed," says Fox.
Many fans say Reynolds is doing much more than simply working as he is creating art with his career.
Reynolds has a university degree in classical art, which he began studying before he became legally blind.
"Clarke creates amazing art, relationships, and possibility, showing the world there are no limits for the blind. Braille on the Streets is a celebration of triumph and introspection for both Clarke and me," says Fox
Reynolds says he loves to share strategies learned from his journey with blindness, which aid his art and life.
Recently an elementary school class was named after Reynolds, in the UK, including a section of study of his work.
Amongst his favorite things to do: preparing for speaking engagements and his state sponsored podcast.
Reynolds, in two days, had more than 2,000 people visit and experience his most recent interactive Braille Art installation: "Too See The Stars" described by some as "Sensory Heaven".
Most days Reynolds can be found humbly working from his studio space in an artist Co-Op in Portsmouth United Kingdom.
"The thing I'm most excited for is speaking at centers for the blind and meeting others who are blind in America," Reynolds says. "I hope to share the example of possibly to do work you love for a living, regardless of how your eyes work."
NOW about THE ADVENTURE:
For this tour the experiences along the road (and specially those happening in the sky) are created in collaboration with the Visual Experience Foundation (VEF).
Past adventurers have enjoyed the mist from Niagra Falls from a helicopter with no doors, or the engines sound and gentle sway of the Good Year Blimp floating above the Flordia Coast (all organized by VEF Founder Michael Benson).
VEF has some big surprises in store for Reynolds and his friends along the road.
VEF provides memorable multi-sensory adventures for people newly transitioning to blindness connecting them with others already established in the blindness community.
"The VEF experiences are for the person struggling, holding onto hope during vision loss, I know what that is like," says Benson (although he can still drive at the age of 60, Benson was the youngest baby to ever have Glaucoma surgery).
“blindDANCE and Ben Fox created a touching short film about our main annual event 'Surfing for Vision'. Everyone loved it, so we starting working together to film our adventures for a documentary series,” says Benson.
Reynolds (whose vision loss is progressive) says he is thrilled for the opportunity to join VEF to meet others transitioning to blindness as part of his creative process for his American Tour.
“Michael and I have some important things in common. He started VEF to help smooth the transition process for people new to blindness, which is a personal mission for us both," says Fox.
Thanks to VEF, Fox says, this art tour and movie involve adventurous travel for the blind, while creating art, giving speeches, flying in helicopters, filmmaking and EATING.
NOW about the EATING:
"Every good travel documentary includes great food segments! Clarke will love the eats and stops on the road," says Fox.
Reynolds (described by blindDANCE producers as a saint to work with) made only three requests during the logistics planning for the tour:
1. Eat at "authentic and local" restaurants if possible.
2. Eat with interesting people from the blindness community, to learn how things are done in the USA.
3. Film meals to share with family back home.
“With guests joining Clarke and me for a meal along the road, what if we can raise awareness and educate through entertainment? We gotta eat right?" asks Fox.
The EATING segment is called "Celebrity Lunch and Learn: TOPIC Blindness", and Fox says people are going to love the guest list.
Four purposeful meals are scheduled for filming. Each including talking points, such as blindness etiquette, details of different eye conditions and demonstrations of life-enhancing blind tech scheduled for desert.
It is an important and tender topic for Fox, raising awareness of helpful resources for families.
He say his own life would be different if he had information about available resources for people going blind, before legal his own eventual legal blindness designation.
For 20 years Fox says he felt filmmaking couldn't be possible while going blind, and went to school for print journalism after his emergency eye surgeries for detached retinas in both his eyes (later he learned he also has a progressive retinal condition).
"Imagine if my family could have learned about blindness resources by watching a segment of a show like Braille on the Streets, witha. segment of 'Celebrity Lunch and Learn: Topic Blindness'," says Fox.
It was 14 years between the first eye surgery and the actual designation of legal blindness status. Fox says his family had no idea where to go twenty years ago (beyond the basic brochure from the doctors office).
“For years I didn’t know it was possible to make films while blind. Now Braille on the Streets will be out there for people to find. We are grateful too Clarke and his Amazing Braille Art that make this possible.” says Fox.
The blindDANCE Film Festival motto is, "White Canes*, Cameras, Action! *Guide Dogs Welcome too!
The public is invited to watch Reynolds create art in each city, live. He will be on-site for 6 hours at each site (locations and dates listed below).
Support this film - (click here)
What if... Clarke WRITES YOUR NAME on the boarder of the GIANT Braille ART word: LOVE - then filmed it from the sky and your name is in the special thanks of the feature length documentary movie (and we send you a print).
LOVE: Braille on the Streets
Join us on the ROAD=
ON camera IN person advice to CLARKE from MENTORSLE
Monday April 18 - @Philadelphia PA
- Clarke Reynolds Arrives in USA!
- DAY 1 - Braille ART GOES DOWN.
On the steps Boxing Champ "Rocky" ran
Tuesday April 19 - Philidelphia
- POP up "art show"
-CELEBRITY Lunch and LEARN: Topic BLINDNESS
Wednesday April 20 - ON the ROAD
-Driving to New Jersey
Thurs/Sun April 21-24 New Jersey
UNBLINDED Event with MENTOR Sean Callagy
(who is... World Class author/speaker/Legally Blind)
- Create giant chalk art BRAILLE Art film by drone.
- - Create GIANT BRAILLE Display to be filmed by drone
LEG 1: it all starts in FLORIDA
Sunday April 24 - Miami FL
RED EYE Clarke and Crew fly in from New York
Monday April 25 - Miami FL
-Speaking at Miami Local Venue
-Celebrity Lunch and Learn: TOPIC Blindness
Tuesday April 26 - Miami FL
-Art on the BEACH/Filming from AIR
Wednesday April 27 - Miami FL
WindDAY for filming from helicopter if needed
Mentor DAY w/Andy Zapata
- Presenting Clarke’s gift of Braille Art @Physical Therapy Now
@NIGHT fly to Tallahassee (Florida State Capitol)
Thursday April 28 - Tallahassee FL
GIFT Custom Braille Art to Tallahassee Mayor
Gift Custom Braille Art to the Florida State Capital Building
Friday April 29 - Tallahassee FL
Laying cement for raised Braille Art in the Sidewalk of Artist District of Tallahassee
Saturday April 30 - Tallahassee FL
Workshop led by Clarke at Able Artists Gallery: "Make your own Braille Art w/Clarke"
LEG 2: Hit the Road Clarke, ON to NYC
Sunday May 1 - ON THE ROAD
Drive to Atlanta Georgia
Monday May 2 - Atlanta GA
-Experience Atlanta's Accessible Beltline with FAR
- Celebrity Lunch and Learn: TOPIC Blindness
Tuesday May 3 - ON THE ROAD
Drive to Asheville North Carolina
Wednesday May 4- Asheville NC
Speak at local venue
Thursday May 5 - ON THE ROAD
-Drive to Washington DC
-Celebrity Lunch and Learn: TOPIC Blindness
Friday May 6 - Washington DC
-Explore the accessibility or the blind features @THE National Smithsonian Museum of Art
-Clarke hand delivers a letter to the Capital Building and distributes FREE Braille Art Prints explaining Braille Literacy to pedestrians.
LEG 3 the NORTH EAST
Saturday May 7 - Baltimore MD
Gifting Braille Art to the National Federation for the Blind HQ
Sunday May 8 - ON THE ROAD
Visit Visual Experience Foundation HQ in New Jersey for Surfing or Sailing.
Monday May 9 - IN Manhattan NY
Speaking at local venue
Celebrity Lunch and Learn: TOPIC Blindness
Tuesday May 10 - Manhattan NY
Braille on the Streets of Central Park/FILMING from Helicopter
Wednesday May 11 - Manhattan NY
WindDAY if needed for Helicopter
or Mentor DAY to talk about Clarkes art career with a NTC art expert.
Thursday May 12 - Manhattan NY
Clarke Flies to UK with our thanks!