VIA: Touchable art displayed in celebration of the ADA

As a public transportation company, VIA Metropolitan Transit’s business is all about providing the community with an efficient, reliable, and cost-effective service. In July and August 2015, VIA also provided connections to a new world of art appreciation by focusing on a multi-sensory experience unlike any other. Enter “The Color of Blind.”

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, VIA hosted “The Color of Blind” Art Exhibit in the agency’s corporate headquarters this summer. The concept for this exhibit began as an interactive show conceived by local artist and teacher Trina Bacon as an opportunity to share art with visually-impaired individuals and was later expanded to include people with sensory challenges as well. The artwork was designed to provide a more fulfilling experience that differs from the traditional museum visit. “Everyone should be able to fully experience art,” said Bacon, who is also the curator of the exhibit. “Through our transformative efforts, we strive to say, ‘Yes, please touch the art!’”

Approximately 120 people attended the opening of the exhibit, which was free and on display in the lobby of The Grand, a historic train depot building that now houses VIA’s executive offices.

“VIA is proud to celebrate 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act by hosting this special exhibit and partnering with the arts community in a non-traditional way to call attention to the importance of inclusiveness in San Antonio and beyond,” said VIA President/CEO Jeffrey Arndt. “Innovative efforts such as ‘The Color of Blind’ allow our community to be more inclusive.”

VIA has a long tradition of engaging with the arts community and promoting art in public spaces to enhance the quality of life in the Greater San Antonio Region.

Every year, VIA holds the Youth Art Contest for local students, the Poetry on the Move Contest for poets in Central and South Texas, and the Employee Art Contest for people who work at VIA and their immediate family members. VIA also works with the City of San Antonio’s Parks and Recreation Department to host Bravo for ArtAbility, which showcases the talents of senior citizens in the community. In addition, VIA began its own Art in Transit program as a means of including public art in the agency’s future capital projects.

VIA plays a major role in providing connections to the community it serves, including passengers with disabilities. In 2014, VIA provided 44.4 million rides throughout its 13-city service area and more than one million rides on VIAtrans, its paratransit service.

VIA’s mission is to enhance the community’s quality of life by providing regional, customer-oriented public transportation that is dependable, cost-effective, and enticing to more riders.

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