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Thursday, February 02, 2023

Santa Fe exhibit accommodates visitors with sensory disorders

Santa Fe College will host a contemporary Cuban art exhibit today with sensory-friendly accommodations.

The “Visions of Cuba” exhibition will open to the public today at 2 p.m. in the Fine Arts Hall at Santa Fe’s Northwest Campus.

For the exhibitions, the college is taking advantage of a new concept among art exhibits by offering a way for people with sensory processing disorders to experience the show, said Kathryn Lehman, coordinator of cultural programs at Santa Fe.

The college will open a balcony area and create a space for people to view the art from a distance, away from large crowds.

“Our goal is to provide the arts for all of our citizens,” she said. “This gives a way for people with these disorders to see the art.”

During the exhibition, Raul Villarreal, an artist and art professor at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey, will also give a public lecture, Lehman said. 

The exhibition will be Villarreal’s third time speaking at Santa Fe. 

It is the first time it will offer sensory-friendly access, and he is excited about the inclusivity.

Villarreal said that learning about the use of sensory-friendly accommodations made him glad to be part of the show because he supports the idea to make art shows more accessible.

“One experience a lot of people have when they are not familiar with art shows is they become intimidated,” he said. “I believe trying to create a more welcome environment is a great endeavor.” 

Sam Suprenant, an 18-year-old UF English freshman, never thought about the impact art shows have on people with sensory processing disorders. 

Suprenant thinks it’s a good idea to offer greater accessibility to art events if possible.

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“It’s an equal opportunity for everyone to experience the event,” she said. “It should definitely be an option.”

Although Suprenant supports Santa Fe’s accommodations for people with sensory processing disorders, she is curious about how incorporating similar qualities at other art-related events will affect the atmosphere.

“I wouldn’t want to hinder what other art shows already have going on,” she said.

The exhibition will feature about 47 pieces, including both artwork created by contemporary Cuban artists and photos taken during a recent cultural tour of Cuba, Lehman said. 

Most of the pieces are privately owned by individuals who purchased them in Cuba.

[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 7/31/2014 under the headline "Sante Fe exhibit accomodates visitors with sensory disorders"]

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