Emilie's Story: Getting to the Met

Introduction

A sudden loss of vision threatened to derail Emilie’s art career. Thanks to HKNC’s Community Services Program, she’s working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Story

Girl standing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

Art has always been Emilie’s life. She has been hard of hearing from a young age, but she never let that stop her from pursuing her passion. Emilie became an accomplished artist and was accepted to a highly selective bachelor’s degree program at The Cooper Union. As a college student, she faced new challenges when she lost all her vision suddenly in 2010. After completing her degree in 2014, she was referred to HKNC’s Community Services Program (CSP) for rehabilitation and vocational placement services.

“I was no longer able to work in the same media, and I wanted to find new opportunities in the art world,” she says. The CSP vocational staff supported her with her career exploration, helping her to identify positions that might be a good fit and to apply for them.

Emilie landed an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working as an associate in the Media and Education Departments focusing on projects related to increasing accessibility to museum programs and media for people with disabilities. Her CSP job coach helped identify work site accommodations to meet her needs and worked with the museum personnel to put them in place. Emilie also received audiology services through HKNC, which helped program her hearing aid and FM system for the settings she would encounter at work. “With all the large-group meetings and noisy environments in the museum, the FM system has been invaluable,” she says.

The CSP also helped her get to the Met in the literal sense, providing mobility training to help her to navigate the complex and crowded routes from her East Village apartment to the museum on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She learned how to get around her neighborhood and to travel not only to the museum, but also to a studio in Brooklyn where she works on the weekend.

“The Community Services Program helped me make the transition from being a college student to living more independently in my apartment,” Emilie says. She learned safe cooking and tactual cleaning techniques and benefitted from social casework services, which helped her to investigate her health insurance options now that she will be aging out of coverage under her parents.