One of our latest partners in making work with has been the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired also known as CCVI in Kansas City. When they contacted us to talk about doing a mural at CCVI we were pretty taken back and curious about what that would mean. This isn’t the type of request we get every day and how would that work? So we set up a meeting and went in to meet the amazing staff there and learn about what their mission was and how we could be included in that. They started by showing us a video on how they work with the children there to work with the different levels of sight. To be honest, I had never given as much thought or understanding as I really thought I had. Alisa and I tried on different goggles that showed us what some of their children see like and explained some of the colors and things to think about when creating this tactile mural / donor wall they were now asking us to do. When we came home and started talking about what we would do it was really overwhelming. We started with thinking about ideas that fit within our usual type of work. Both Alisa and I do a lot of animals and this is something that kids usually relate to. This started us looking around on the net for animals that are more successful in the dark than in the light or animals that didn’t have the strongest eyesight. We came across two things that really spoke to us. Rhinos were big and strong but their sight wasn’t so great. Of course this meant a lot to me since I love rhinos so much but it was our other idea that really ended up catching flight with the staff there. We also showed them an idea of some owls in a safe tree. The idea of the mural was that there was a larger parent or teacher type owl with several younger one’s leaving the nest at night with confidence. The idea we were trying to tie together was that the owls were like little heros that see better than most of us in the dark. The world might be scary out there but what this school does is so amazing. They prepare these young kids to sore high and wide in a world that is experienced a lot different than most. This was our next challenge was how to relate to something that hard for us to understand but we started with looking at the different goggles we wore and the colors they used in the school. We learned that some colors are easier to see, contrast was important, and we looked at how images changed when they would blur. When creating the owls this is just what we were making an attempt to do and it influenced the style of the work. We spread things like the eyes a distance from each other and the beak so if it blurred then they hopefully wouldn’t become one shape. Using the contrast of primary colors, giving distance to the shapes and Alisa providing the soft and hard textures, it was our goal to hit as many different levels of sight as we could attempt to reach. The photos below are what we came up with and a little of the journey getting there. I can tell you this…. we have been really blessed with great reports of how the mural has been used by the whole center and been lucky enough to witness it in use also. It has brought us to tears a few times because of how worried we were about taking something for granted like what the shape of a star is. I would close my eyes and feel the star but I knew what it was so there was a fear that we were making something that wouldn’t relate. The staff at CCVI is amazing and that is why they are called to be those special people that work there like we feel we are called to make images people can relate to. The staff in action with the kids is what also make this project Exceeding Expectations which is what the title of the wall is. Included on the wall is also a list of donor names of all the people who have helped in giving to the school. We hope you enjoy looking at the work and thank Nicola and all of the loving staff at CCVI for allowing us to be a part of their everyday lives there at the school.