PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. — Innisfree Hotels’ Luna Fine Art Gallery proudly announces a new exhibit specifically designed for blind and visually impaired people, open now through March 12 at the gallery, located inside the spectacular Hilton Pensacola Beach. “A Way of Seeing” is produced in partnership with Independence for the Blind of West Florida — a project two years in the making — and features artwork designed to be touched, created by an impressive lineup of local artists: Blythe Marshall, Jennifer Fleming, Mary Anne Staples, Nikki Strahota, Joan Overton, Katie Thompson, Maria Hoch, and Patricia O’Neal. Hoch’s piece, titled “Shape Shifters,” is made up of movable parts for all art lovers to create their own design. The artwork will be donated to Independence for the Blind for display in their building after the exhibit at Luna Fine Art Gallery. “I have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease,” Hoch said. “Someone who is visually impaired still has a framework to allow an appreciation for art. In ‘Shape Shifters,’ I utilized the concepts of high contrast, tactile sensory, and interactive participation. I wanted to invite the viewer into how art is made.” Independence for the Blind provides services — at no cost to its clients — that teach people with visual impairment to become and remain independent: cooking, cleaning, hygiene, public transportation, working, shopping, and the list goes on. Several clients in Independence for the Blind’s transition program — teenage students who are preparing for college, trade school, jobs, and independent living — met with the exhibit’s artists before they created their pieces and recently experienced the artworks in the gallery. “As opposed to your typical museum or gallery setting, our clients were able to get up close to the works and even touch most of them,” said Raven Holloway, Executive Director of Independence for the Blind of West Florida. “It allowed them to relate and appreciate the artwork as fully sighted individuals do. Experiences like this, in everyday life, one might not appreciate the intentional effort put forth by these artists, but the visually impaired community here has thoroughly enjoyed it.” The gallery, located at 12 Via De Luna Drive, will rotate in some new pieces throughout the exhibit and a fundraiser will be hosted for Independence for the Blind on March 11. Several pieces of artwork from the exhibit will be donated to Independence for the Blind’s school-age clients after the exhibit. “Our goal in creating Luna Fina Art Gallery within Innisfree’s Hilton Pensacola Beach was to connect communities through the arts,” said Ted Ent, President and CEO of Innisfree Hotels. “This exhibit is a perfect example of showcasing and celebrating the diversity in our community through art.” Visit hiltonpensacolabeach.com/art-gallery for more information. ABOUT INNISFREE HOTELS: For more than three decades, Innisfree Hotels has expertly developed and managed dozens of hotels in partnership with many of the world’s most-recognized hospitality brands. Today, the company owns or manages 24 hotel properties — about 3,500 rooms — and employs approximately 2,000 people. Innisfree is the largest beachfront hotel owner-operator on the Gulf Coast. As a triple-bottom-line company, Innisfree measures success not only in profits but also through its impact on people and the planet. Innisfree, which has about $800 million of assets under management and $175 million in annual hotel revenue, was named one of Hotel Business’ top management companies and top owners & developers in 2019. For more information, visit innisfreehotels.com.
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