Acrylics. Ink. Paper Mache. Clay. Tile. Fabric. Name the medium, and chances are Braille Institute art students have it at their fingertips. To facilitate and create the arts program offered at the Los Angeles Center, two new Creative Arts Instructors, Noah Haytin and Simone Montemurno, have been hired.
“The opportunity to work as a conduit for artistic creativity between people that are varyingly and differently sighted seemed like a unique and rewarding challenge,” Simone said.
Simone hails from New York, coming to California in 2009 to receive her Master of Fine Arts degree at California Institute of the Arts. Simone and Noah have inherited a creative arts legacy and are looking forward to continuing and invigorating the program.
“I want to encourage more students to take pride in their work and offer them ways to exhibit and sell their work both inside and outside of Braille Institute Los Angeles,” Noah said.
Noah lived and worked in Marrakesh, Morocco carrying out a Fulbright grant which placed him in educational centers to teach art. One of the centers he taught at was for college students who were visually impaired.
Upon coming back to the United States, Noah had a show with his own artwork. Braille Institute Volunteer Liz Taylor saw in his art show biography he had worked with students who were visually impaired, and invited him to come to Braille Institute Los Angeles to meet former art instructors Dori Atlantis and Rhonda Volotzky.
“I became a volunteer in their art classes and, after some time, I started my own tactile collage class as a volunteer art instructor, which became a popular class of its own!” he said.
The creative arts instructors plan to further contemporary art and culture within the curriculum, as well as work to integrate the vibrancy of Los Angeles’ current cultural landscape into Braille Institute students’ learning experience. Simone is looking forward to the fall semester so she can facilitate any ambitious projects the students dream up, she said.
“I am excited for the new semester and a class I’ve come up with called “Art Moments” that is a hybrid art-making, lecture, and field trip class,” Simone said.
Noah is planning to work more with other instructors and departments to develop more cross-content projects raising awareness of the students’ talents, he said.
Both creative arts instructors look forward to working with the diverse and uniquely talented people who attend Braille Institute Los Angeles, they said.