“Tactile Gallery” is a museum term that means a room for touching. This is the only gallery in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center where you are invited and encouraged to touch the art. The Mashburn/Marshall Tactile Gallery is always free to enter and explore during normal museum hours.
You are encouraged to experience each object in the gallery with as many of your senses as possible: hands, fingers, eyes. Spend as much time as you like. Getting to know a piece of art is like making a new friend — it takes time.
The Tactile Gallery was established in 1981 by a committee of dedicated volunteers led by Mary Mashburn and Peggy Marshall. From the outset, the focus of the gallery’s collection was museum-quality sculpture in various media. Today, the collection includes more than 100 works, and the Tactile Gallery enjoys a large space just off the museum’s lobby. Its accessible design enables those who are blind, sight-impaired or physically challenged to tour on their own, with both braille and large print labels, and raised counters to accommodate wheelchairs. Since its inception, the Tactile Gallery has been generously supported by the Colorado Springs Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma Sorority through encouragement, gifts of money and art.
When we use our sense of touch, we are able to experience an artist’s work in a new way, by feeling the shape, texture, marks and materials. The Tactile Gallery collection encompasses many mediums and styles, including folk art of the Southwest, abstract pieces in bronze and glass, realistic representations of people and animals, three-dimensional sculptures, relief sculptures, masks and textiles. The pieces in the collection are largely sculptural, since those works stand up best to being touched by many hands.
Most of the artists represented are sighted but two are blind. The collection also spans the globe, with artists hailing from the Pikes Peak region and the West, but also from Alaska, South America, Africa and more. We keep several permanent pieces in the gallery, but other pieces in the collection rotate in and out. If you don’t see one of the works you love during a visit, we hope you will find a new favorite.
Photographs of the Tactile Gallery by Melani Tutt