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O’Keeffe Museum offers a unique perspective

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting “Trees in Autumn,” as seen with standard color vision and how it is viewed by people with colorblindness. Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum soon will offer special glasses for colorblind guests. (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/colorblind view by EnChroma)

SANTA FE – What would it be like to view Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, but not be able to distinguish many of her different bold hues? The Georgie O’Keeffe Museum is taking a unique approach to preventing that from happening by partnering with a California glasses company to offer corrective specs for its colorblind visitors.

Starting May 3, the museum will lend out the glasses made by EnChroma, a Berkeley, Calif.-based company whose mission is to help those with red-green color vision deficiencies see hues the way most people do.

The genetic condition impacts about 8 percent of men worldwide and one in 200 women, according to the museum.

According to the EnChroma company’s website, its glasses help those with anomalous trichromacy, which includes most types of colorblindness.

The glasses utilize special lens technology to readjust the affected person’s overlapping color sensitivities, which can make it difficult to distinguish between certain colors like red and green.

The O’Keeffe Museum’s communications director Mara Harris said the glasses will be a permanent addition to the museum’s guest offerings. Three pairs will be available for checkout.

EnChroma’s CEO and co-founder Andrew Schmeder said the company hopes to make O’Keeffe’s paintings more accessible to those with colorblindness.

“Think of a classic O’Keeffe painting, and bold colors come to mind. But for people with color vision deficiency the hues are limited,” said Katrina Stacy, the O’Keeffe Museum’s curator of Education and Interpretation.

“We are thrilled at this opportunity to offer some of our visitors an enhanced, more colorful visual experience. With the EnChroma glasses, we can share O’Keeffe’s hope to convey ‘the wideness and wonder of the world’ with everyone.”

The museum’s news release also noted that O’Keeffe herself suffered from vision loss later in her life. Macular degeneration led her to focus more on sculpture rather than paintings starting in the 1970s.

“This project has a strong tie to that part of her story,” Stacy said.

On May 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., the O’Keeffe Museum will host representatives from EnChroma, who will be set up at a table to answer questions about colorblindness and the glasses.

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