Festival to feature booths accessible for the visually impaired and a local blind clockmaker
The 35th Annual Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival, hosted by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, will be celebrating a first this year – the festival will be accessible to the visually impaired. “As far we can tell, this is the first major art festival in the nation that will also cater to the visually impaired,” says John Jacobsen, founder and chair of the festival.
“This is a first for the festival, and we hope that this opportunity for the visually impaired to enjoy art and interact with the creators of that art will be very popular,” says Jacobsen, “We should have more than 150 exhibitors whose work can be enjoyed by the blind and visually impaired.”
For Jacobsen, a desire to involve the visually impaired and enable them to enjoy the event started many years ago. “I had the honor 30 years ago to lend a wood carving of mine to the state for an exhibit that traveled the state for a special show for the visually impaired. It left a lasting impression on me.”
During the festival, every exhibitor whose work can be enjoyed by touch will be encouraged to display a small banner that their work is accessible to the visually impaired.
In addition, the festival proudly presents Jim Morgan, the Blind Clockmaker. Jim was rendered totally blind when he was struck by a car while riding a bicycle on Fort Myers Beach.
Morgan has had to adapt to a sightless world, learning new ways to complete everyday tasks. As part of his recovery, he began designing clocks in his mind and taught himself how to build them all by touch. His wife, Cathy, only helps by telling him which side of a piece of wood has a more beautiful finish. Morgan cuts each piece and assembles all of the parts himself.
“Two things I often say about my clocks: they are all one-of-a-kind because I cannot copy, and the one who built it will never see it,” says Morgan. This will be the first time Morgan has exhibited his work. Morgan’s work can be previewed on his website, www.theblindclockmaker.com.
“Watching him using power tools like a table saw, router, band saw, and a lathe completely by touch is amazing. It will instill you with a spirit of if I can do this, I can aspire to do anything, whatever my challenges might be,” says Rotarian Bill Harris.
The Rotary Club supports the locally visually impaired with the Annual Lighthouse Boating Picnic that benefits Lighthouse of SWFL Inc. When the club heard Morgan’s story about his courage and can-do attitude, he was invited to showcase his talent at the 35th Annual Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival.
The festival will take place on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Cape Coral Parkway in South Cape Coral between Del Prado Boulevard and SE 10th Place, and north to SE 47th Terrace. Admission and parking are free for festival attendees.
Volunteers are needed, and sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information about or to participate in the Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival, please call Jim Perry at (239) 699-7942 or visit CapeCoralFestival.com.
The Rotary Club of Cape Coral is proud to bring the 35 Annual Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival Southwest Florida.