Describe Outside with Nicole Sardella 

Describe Outside By Nicole Sardella. Image of Nicole Sardella with microphone verbally describing to a group of individuals who are blind

When Art-Reach collaborates with Nicole Sardella, founder of and long-time accessibility advocate, you’ll find her typically inside a gallery at an exhibition, a sound booth describing a live performance, or in the classroom providing training to other cultural professionals that share a passion for accessibility.

When Nicole explains her work of audio describing she asks to think of her “as a sportscaster but for the arts — an artscaster!” Learn in her own words how she applied her “artcaster” skills to the outdoor exhibition, Voices in the Landscape at Longwood Gardens.

When I got the call from Charlie asking me to audio describe the Voices in the Landscape exhibit at Longwood Gardens, I responded immediately with an enthusiastic “Yes!”  (Probably with a “yay” or two as well.)  We got right to work and set up a meeting with the amazing team at Longwood and incredible storyteller and artist Charlotte Alston Blake to discuss the logistics.  After our discussion, Charlie and I visited Longwood to determine how the audio description would complement Charlotte’s stories which honor and celebrate the strength, resilience and contributions of the African American community through the lens of horticulture.  Through thoughtful conversation and dialogue with the Longwood staff, we identified the points where audio description would occur — and then I got to work.

I began by visiting Longwood several times to explore and more deeply understand the landscape and how it connects with Charlotte’s stories.  That also included taking pictures, videos and recording the audio description as voice memos.  Then, I got into my trusty “recording studio” aka my closet and started recording the descriptions.  Once the recording was done, Charlie and I went back to Longwood and met up with members of the staff to participate in the tour ourselves.  Since then, the tour has gone live and is available both in-person at Longwood and streamable online by clicking here.  I am immensely grateful to be able to make a small contribution to the Voices in the Landscape exhibit to increase accessibility for more people to experience this moving work.

-Nicole Sardella, Audio Describer.

Photo by Ashley Smith of Wide Eyed Studios