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Holladay Journal

Dreamscapes lets students who are deaf, blind access and experience art

May 07, 2019 01:41PM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

Students with the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind experience their first hands-on fully immersive art show. (Photo courtesy USDB)

By Jennifer Gardiner| [email protected]

Students at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind got a chance to experience a hands-on fully immersive art show after an organization brought the exhibit to Salt Lake City in April. 

For most, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to not see or hear the world around us. But one Utah organization decided to help bring the world of art to students who cannot see or hear through their sense of touch instead. 

Students from the Ogden and Salt Lake City campuses of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind who are visually impaired or have deaf-blindness, were given a chance to experience hands-on art. 

"This is such a great opportunity for our students," said Kate Borg of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. "Dreamscapes sponsored this field trip and the students were so excited to experience art that is actually accessible for their unique needs."

Borg said these kids are just like any others, all they need is access.

"The hands-on elements of the exhibit were perfect for our students," said Borg. "They said it was their favorite field trip of the year."

Dreamscapes is a pop-up immersive art experience that uses the students' imaginations to take them through a journey of physical and digital artwork.

It’s a 14,000-square-foot labyrinth that “manifests the nature of the subconscious," which gives each student a way to visualize and explore the outside world in a way they never have. 

The exhibit involved more than 50 Utah artists and builders working with reclaimed materials donated by local partners.

Dreamscapes is Utah's first environmentally sustainable immersive art attraction that provides an "opportunity to dream with your eyes open as you move through the colorful vignettes designed to change the way that you experience art." 

Dreamscapes is a project of the Utah Arts Alliance, a Utah nonprofit with a mission to foster the arts in all forms in order to create an aware, empowered and connected community. For more information on Dreamscapes visit


The art show is specifically designed for students who are visually impaired, have hearing loss or both. 

Based on information from the National Center for Deaf-Blindness (NCDB), there are many individuals who have both hearing and visual difficulties. 

According to the NCDB, “Deaf-blindness is a low incidence disability and within this very small group of children there is great variability. Many children who are deaf-blind have some usable vision and/or hearing. The majority of children who are deaf-blind also have additional physical, medical and/or cognitive problems.”

The center states that children are considered to be deaf-blind when the combination of their hearing and vision loss causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they require significant and unique adaptations in their educational programs.

Utah is the only state which offers a deaf-blind endorsement. Educators help the students to get their education using equipment, technology and resources.

Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) educates students who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind so they can achieve their full academic, social, and career potential.

The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind support approximately 1,800 students across Utah and serve nearly 3,900. 

In the Salt Lake City area, 120 students attend the Jean Massieu School for the Deaf and the C. Mark Openshaw Education Center. Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind elementary students attend a campus in Millcreek.

There are 50 students who attend the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind campus in Ogden. Within the same facility, the deaf and hard of hearing students attend the Kenneth Burdett School for the Deaf and the Blind and visually impaired students attend the School for the Blind. 

For more about the USDB visit their website