Arts Education

Multi-coloured pom-poms on a tabletop

Art Education includes the following disciplines: dance, drama, music, and visual arts. Arts education encourages students in understanding art as self-expression, a creative outlet and connecting to identity and experiences of self and community. 

The BC K-12 Arts Education Curriculum aims to foster innovation, creativity, imagination, and a sense of well-being among all learners.

On this page:

Check out the Arts Education Curriculum category in #Outreaching - the blog of the PRCVI Outreach Team.

Arts Education for Students with Visual Impairments

Students with visual impairments can create and respond to works of art in many of the disciplines with adaptations that facilitate access to tactile experiences or auditory descriptions. With increased exposure and experiences, students can develop a sense of individual interests and capabilities. Arts education can be made accessible, meaningful, and appealing for students with visual impairments by either substituting one modality for sensory access for another (e.g., touching a painting with raised textured areas) or by enhancing input through the artist's original modality (e.g., the student watches dancers move using low vision devices; Willings, nd).

Examples of Adaptations for Arts Education

  • Dance – Students may need to learn dance moves or sequences through verbal description and having the opportunity to be near the dance instructor. If needed, the student may need the opportunity to place their hands on the dance instructor to understand the movement and motion. 
  • Drama – Provide opportunities for students to explore the props, costumes, and set of a theatrical production.
  • Music – Students may need large print music notation or a digital app on a tablet with foot pedal to advance the sheet music while playing an instrument.
  • Visual Arts – Provide tactile elements in the exploration and creation of visual artworks. Use bold colours and thick lines to enhance visual access.

Connections to the Expanded Core Curriculum

Knowledge and skill development in the Core and Expanded Core Curricula are mutually reinforcing and together enrich student learning. Below are examples of connections between Art Education and the ECC. 

Link to Orientation and mobility skills pageOrientation and Mobility

  • Students use knowledge of body parts and movements for dramatic expressions in dance or drama.
  • Students orient their bodies in space for performance on stage and in relation to other performers.
  • Creating tactile maps and diagrams using found materials.

link to Sensory efficiency skills pageSensory Efficiency Skills

  • Students use listening skills to identify sounds and voices to describe the mood or feeling the sound conveys in music or dramatic performances.
  • Students use tactile exploration skills to engage with sculptures.
  • Using monocular skills to trace the perimeter of paintings hung in a gallery to locate the object label.

Social Interaction Skills

  • Acquiring general knowledge about world cultures, including the student's own, and greater awareness of contemporary cultural trends.
  • Knowledge and skills to participate in community art-based programming and to troubleshoot accessibility challenges. 
  • Sharing multi-sensory experiences with peers, challenging them to think about meaningful access to art. 

Resources to Support Instruction

PRCVI Library Catalogue

Axel, E. S., & Levent, N. S. (2003). Art beyond sight: a resource guide to art, creativity, and visual impairment. New York: AFB Press. [Professional Resource]
Professional text featuring research and practice perspectives on art education for visually impaired learners. 
Charlson, K. (2009). Drawing with your Perkins brailler. Watertown, MA: Perkins School for the Blind. [Professional Resource]
Guidebook of patterns for creating popular images using a Perkins braillewriter (e.g., snowflake, sun). Many TSVIs use this guidebook for creating seasonal greeting cards with students. 
Lisenko, Y. (1974). Art not by eye : the previously sighted visually impaired adult in fine arts programs. New York, AFB. [Professional Resource]
Classic resource on teaching the arts to older students.
Nordin, J. (2007). Wikki stix classroom resource book. Arizona: Wikki Stix Company [Professional Resource]
Companion resource guide to popular Wikki Stix consumables. 
Showalter, G. C. (2002). Time for art: art projects and lessons for students with visual impairments. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind. [Professional Resource]
Classroom-based inclusive lesson plans that students can share with their peers. 

Web-Based Resources

Asakawa, S., Guerreiro, J., Ahmetovic, D., Kitani, K. M., & Asakawa, C. (2018, October). The present and future of museum accessibility for people with visual impairments. In Proceedings of the 20th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 382-384). Retrieved from
Survey of 19 individuals with visual impairments and their experiences of accessible/inaccessible museum experiences. 
Coates, C. (2019). Best practice in making Museums more accessible to visually impaired visitors. Retrieved from
Steps to make displays of pieces and artifacts more accessible that can also be applied to museums set up at home and at school!
Cunningham, Ann (2017). Touching Imagination: Unlocking the Creativity of Blind Artists. Retrieved from
Transcript from an address made at the 2017 NFB Convention. 
Gower, L. (2020). Now you see me…now I see myself. A sequential guide to teaching portraiture to students who are blind and vision impairedJournal of the South Pacific Educators in Visual Impairment, 12, 99-102. Retrieved from
Feature article on teaching portraiture
Vancouver Art Gallery – Described Tours
The Vancouver Art Gallery hosts a described tour led by art educators that last for an hour. These are offered the first Saturday of each month
Vocal Eye – Shows and Events in Vancouver and Victoria
Live description for performances or art installations. Touch Tours allow participants to spend time on a set to explore costumes and props.
Willings, C. (2014). Creative Art Adaptations. Retrieved from
Webpage with a range of suggestions for adapted art activities


Willings, C. (nd.). Dance Adaptations for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired. Retrieved from

--> Return to the top of the page