If you go

What: Art for All opening reception

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: UTC’s Apothecary Gallery, 744 McCallie Ave. Parking is available after 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

Information: Contact Christina Vogel at christina-vogel@utc.edu


Engineering and art — not always the first two subjects that come to mind when thinking about collaborations.

But they sync up nicely when you add disabled children and adults wanting to express themselves through art but needing some assistance.

For the Art for All project, which has its opening on Thursday at Apothecary Gallery, UTC engineering students designed devices to help people with disabilities create their artwork. At the same time, art students helped the artists figure out how to take what was in their heads and bring it into the real world.

Working drawings from art student Pat Tyree’s sketchbook, possible design solutions for a tool to serve a client who makes art using her mouth.

“The art students and engineering students came together to brainstorm possible solutions,” says Dr. Cecelia Wigal, whose Intro to Engineering Design students were part of the project. “The art students also helped the engineering students understand the tools and materials artists use and what are the artistic results of using the tools or materials.”

Some of the artists face physical and mental disabilities; some use wheelchairs; some have limited movement of their arms or head.

For Thursday’s opening, paint, pencils or markers were used to create the artwork. But before the artwork is even begun, UTC students receive information “that quickly communicates the client’s needs,” says Christina Vogel. Students from her Figure Drawing class participated in Art for All.

Art student Ashley Smith designed a simple prototype called a “Mouthstick Tool” for artists who can’t use their hands.

Students also meet on their own with the artists “to more completely understand the problem,” she says.

The engineering students have seven weeks to complete the devices and, in that time, will meet with the disabled artists to test the solutions and make sure they’re headed in the right direction, Wigal says.

This year marks the first time that Wigal and her students have developed a project aimed specifically at creating visual art, she says.

“In the future I hope to add projects that help individuals participate in performing arts,” she adds.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
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