Kazuya Sakai, "Integrales II (Edgard Varèse) (1979), presented in normal color (left) and with color blind view conversion by Enchroma (right) (© Kazuya Sakai's estate; courtesy Galeria Vasari, Buenos Aires and DMA)

Around the world, one in 12 men (8%) and one in 200 women experience red-green colorblindness, more formally known as Color Vision Deficiency (CVD). That’s about 4.5% of the world’s population, or around 350 million people. The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is the latest to participate in a new accessibility program that provides CVD alleviation lenses for visitors to borrow for free in an effort to improve their experience of art-viewing.

The technology, which alleviates red-green CVD for about four out of five users with the condition, was developed by EnChroma, an independent company based in Berkeley, California. Usually genetic, red-green CVD is caused by an overlap in the red and green color receptor cones within the eye, causing the hues to become practically indistinguishable. The lenses now provided by the DMA increase the contrast between red and green color signals for users with the cone overlap, enabling them to view the world with a more enriched color field.

Maurice de Vlaminck, “Bougival” (c. 1905), normal view and color blind conversion view by Enchroma (image courtesy DMA)

This is the Dallas Museum of Art’s first step in incorporating CVD inclusivity for a more accessible museum experience. To support EnChroma’s new call for September as International Colorblindness Awareness Month, the DMA provided CVD testing just before launching the lenses rental program. Visitors with red-green deficiencies are able to check out a pair of EnChroma glasses for up to three hours per visit for no additional cost.

“I always dreamed of enlisting in the Air Force, but my color blindness prevented me from becoming a pilot,” a visitor of the DMA said when they tried on a pair of EnChroma glasses at a CVD awareness event during September.

The EnChroma glasses are able to comfortably fit over prescription lenses, and they work just as well for viewing digital art on screens as they would for traditional media.

“The DMA is committed to being a space of wonder and discovery for all. With this partnership, we are thrilled to say that also includes individuals with color vision deficiencies,” Melissa Brito, manager of access programs and resources, told Hyperallergic. “We are so excited to welcome this group of individuals to our museum to experience their own journey with art in vivid color.”

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Rhea Nayyar

Rhea Nayyar (she/her) is a New York-based teaching artist who is passionate about elevating minority perspectives within the academic and editorial spheres of the art world. Rhea received her BFA in Visual...

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