What responsibility do galleries and museums have to make their spaces accessible?

It's a question that visually-impaired Portland, Oregon artist Carmen Papalia takes very seriously.

"As someone who learns through their non-visual senses, I consider the museum not to be for me, necessarily," said Papalia, speaking with Hallie Cotnam on CBC Ottawa's Ottawa Morning.

Carmen Papalia Blind artist

Carmen Papalia leads a group of artists on his blind walking tour. (CUE Art Foundation)

"But I'm always trying to find my own way in."

Papalia is one of two speakers — along with University of Regina artist and professor David Garneau — taking part in a free talk Tuesday evening at the Ottawa Art Gallery on museums and accessibility.

Papalia lost his sight while in college, and now dedicates much of his work to challenging how museum-goers experience art beyond solely the visual component.

One of his most popular projects involves leading gallery tours in which participants aren't allowed to open their eyes. 

"I actually do enjoy connecting with people in the museum more than I do, sometimes, connecting with the art," said Papalia.

"I'm trying to claim my own access to the museum, because it's largely inaccessible to me."

Listen to Papalia's Ottawa Morning interview below.