Art News

MCA Denver and Others Are Making Art More Accessible

MCA Denver has formed a partnership with EnChroma to make the museum experience accessible for colorblind visitors.
MCA Denver has formed a partnership with EnChroma to make the museum experience accessible for colorblind visitors. Kelly Heneberry / MCA Denver
Over the past decade, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver has established itself as a progressive leader in the city’s art scene, creating interactive, participatory and immersive events, supporting local artists and the DIY community, and bridging disciplines.

Under the leadership of new MCA director Nora Abrams, the museum’s latest bragging point is the incorporation of special glasses that will give colorblind visitors the ability to see the artwork in the museum as it’s intended to be viewed.

This offering comes from a partnership between the museum and EnChroma, the company that makes the glasses.

“Art is a visceral experience, and artists make specific color choices to match the emotion they want the viewer to experience,” explained Andrew Schmeder, CEO and co-founder of EnChroma, in a statement. “EnChroma glasses can help those with color vision deficiency experience what the artist intended, leading to a better understanding and appreciation of colorful works of art.”


People with color vision deficiency have an excessive overlap in red and green cones; a special filter in the glasses takes out the wavelengths of light that activates those cones, and allows people with the condition to see more vibrantly, according to the MCA.

“For me, this is a game-changer in terms of how I experience the art we have on view at MCA Denver,” says Brad Ingles, the museum’s membership and community partnerships manager, who experiences color vision deficiency. “I absolutely think these glasses will change how our visitors interact with our museum.”

This is just one of many moves the Front Range cultural scene has made to be more inclusive of people experiencing disabilities.

On January 19, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Boulder Public Library’s Canyon Theatre, the library will present the Colorado Chamber Players’ “Incessant Hum: Beethoven 2020,” pieces that Ludwig van Beethoven composed in the years after the composer began to lose his hearing. An ASL interpreter will be on sight. (For more information, go boulderlibrary.org.)

Even the DIY space Rhinoceropolis, located in an industrial warehouse along Brighton Boulevard, found funds to build a wheelchair ramp and create an accessible new entry behind the building.

From small underground spaces to massive institutions, Denver’s cultural scene is taking accessibility seriously — a move sure to get more people involved in the city’s immense cultural offerings.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris