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An Artful Touch

The St. Augustine’s TOUCH Braille Trail gives people of all abilities a unique way to access art and history

A walk around the picturesque Plaza de la Constitución is a feast for the eyes. Gilded architectural treasures, historic monuments, expansive harbor vistas and an exquisite collection of history statuary whet the visual appetites of countless passersby.

Now, close your eyes. Imagine experiencing the beauty of St. Augustine as a blind person. That’s a challenge the St. Augustine Art Association met when the nonprofit arts organization created the TOUCH St. Augustine “Braille Trail,” an installation of bronze Braille markers for the citywide public works of art.

Inspired by the art association’s annual Tactile Art Show–an exhibit of touchable art with Braille signage–TOUCH St. Augustine created a permanent citywide tactile art installation beyond the gallery walls.

The art association spent three years furnishing art works in the plaza with interpretive Braille signage, offering people of all abilities a new way to access art and history. Signs were placed at the statues of Pedro Menendez at the Lightner Museum, Ponce de Leon at Anderson Circle, Father Pedro Camps and the Minorcans at the Cathedral Basilica, Henry Flagler at Flagler College, and the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers in the Plaza de la Constitución. In 2016, two new sculptures were added to the “Braille Trail.”

The “Heavenly Bodies” sculpture at the art association’s Sculpture Garden was created by local artist, Enzo Torcoletti. The contemporary stone and steel sculpture symbolizes the first contact between the Old and New Worlds.

Local artist Richard Weaver created the “Signal from the Shore” sculpture to place opposite of “Heavenly Bodies.” The bronze statue of a Native American boy honors the struggles and sacrifices of the indigenous people.

Read the full article from the St. Augustine Record here. (Sept. 3rd issue, page 7C)

The St. Augustine Art Association is partially funded by grants from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, the St. Johns Cultural Council, the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida‘s Crisp-Ellert Fund, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Benjamin & Jean Troemel Arts Foundation.