Newest Beach museum exhibit a treat for the senses

By The Mercury

The newest exhibition at Kansas State University’s Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art will show how art appeals to more than the eyes.

“Igniting the Senses: Selections from the Permanent Collection” explores the science of multimodal sensory perception — the experience of one sense igniting another. The exhibition opens Friday and runs through Oct. 5.

“Igniting the Senses” uses the power of visual art to evoke other physical senses in the viewer. The works in this exhibition include ones that may spark a single sensory reaction and some that meld sense of space, time, light, sound, taste and touch - with the brain serving as orchestra director. For example, a viewer may sense the sound of the ocean crashing in a seascape or smell the smoke in a photograph of a prairie grass fire.

Offering coded labels and a sensory station with corresponding items, the exhibition will provide a true multisensory experience. Visitors can “taste” a still life, “smell” the flowers, or “touch” an object in a painting. Additional scientific material on the five senses will be available at the exhibition’s Exploration Station and a guide to art will be on permanent display that also ignites the senses.

“These examinations of the senses are contributing to the ability of museums to offer universal accessibility, experiences that are available to all visitors,” said Kathrine Walker Schlageck, senior educator at the Beach Museum, adding that Art Beyond Sight, a national organization promoting art experiences for the visually impaired, is a leader in this effort.

Summer ARTSmart programming at the Beach Museum will focus on the exhibition, which is also is in conjunction with the Manhattan Public Library summer reading theme “Fizz - Boom - Read.” For a schedule of topics and classes, visit

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