American Sign Language (ASL) lacks a defined art lexicon, which leaves deaf professionals involved in the art history field to create it. The lexicon that has been created thus far is limited to deaf museum participants and ASL interpreters in New York City. The goal of this project is to expand exposure to defined art vocabulary in ASL with the intention of integrating them into ASL usage.
Many signs are either inspired by or borrowed from sign languages in Europe; for example, the sign for Pablo Picasso comes from LSE, the sign language used in Spain. Other signs have their origins here in New York City.
Please take a look around the ArtASL.com site. Right now, we’re offering signs for more than 50 art words, but we plan on adding more, such as virtual tours, artwork talks, and resources for Deaf people and ASL users who are interested in exploring art.