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Council Partnering with McPherson Eye Research Institute to Present “Bright Sights: Six Ways of Seeing”  Opening Reception on January 27

Bright Sights Gallery Image includes the details of the upcoming gallery event, as well as ten thumbnail images of works created by the featured artists.

The Council is honored to present “Bright Sights: Six Ways of Seeing” with the McPherson Eye Research Institute, located at UW Madison. This special art exhibit will be displayed at the Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery, located on the 9th floor of the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research.

The instillation will showcase the works of six artists whose visual impairments inspire and enrich their art. Artists featured include Angelynn Brown, Alison Fortney, Rosemarie Fortney, Albert Schmiege, Dan Sullivan and Ron Wendt. The variety of mediums presented consist of oil on canvas, photography, prints, woodworking and glass. All works will be available for purchase through contact with the artist directly.

The exhibit will start on January 23 and will conclude on May 26. An opening reception will take place on Friday, January 27 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and will feature gallery talks from the artists and refreshments.

The Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research is located at 1111 Highland Avenue in Madison on the UW campus. Parking is available in campus lots 82 or 60, as well as in ramps 75 and 76.

For more information or questions, please contact Gail Stirr with the McPherson Eye Research Institute at 608-265-4023 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Celebrate your Sweetheart with Dining in the Dark this February

Vignette

Chef Mark of Vignette Dining Club describes the second course to blindfolded attendees at the September 2016 event.

Vignette Dining Club is very excited to once again join the Council for this fun and engaging two-day dining event just in time for Valentine’s Day.

During “Dining in the Dark,” sighted participants will have the rare opportunity to rethink the significance of vision while dining as guests are blindfolded through the entire meal. Two dates are available for participation:

Saturday, February 11       7-10 p.m.
Sunday, February 12         1-4 p.m.

$50 per person (includes gratuity)

Through its generosity, Vignette Dining Club will donate all proceeds from “Dining in the Dark” to the Council.

Please let the Vignette Dining Club know about any food allergies or special dietary restrictions upon making your reservation. Food served at the event is seasonal and fresh and goes through a growing process until the day it is served. Watch for an email the day of the event from Vignette Dining Club with its full menu and details on the secret location. Note: The secret location will be in Dane County.

Seating is limited so sign-up today by contacting Mark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! For more information on the Vignette Dining Club, go to http://vignettedining.com/index.html.

Sign up to Cross-Country Ski with Us on February 18

Skiing

Two cross-country skiers experience the winter outdoors together. The blind skier is identifiable by his bright orange vest that bolding state “BLIND SKIER.” His guide is on his left and together they move down a snowy path that is lined with pine trees.

Photo compliments of Joan Holcombe via Wikimedia

Whether you are a winter sports enthusiast or just looking to try something new, the Council is planning a great outdoor event this February.

Join us for an afternoon of cross-country skiing on Saturday, February 18. The Council’s Recreation Committee has once again teamed with the Wisconsin Hoofers Outdoors Club to plan this event. Last year, the two organizations came together to host a special snowshoeing event in Madison.

Justin Lemke, Council Administrative Assistant, said details are still being formulated, but the committee is hoping to have the event at the UW-Madison Arboretum. Cost will be $10 to provide refreshments during the day.

“Teaming with the Hoofers means there will be a lot of young and enthusiastic volunteers,” Lemke said. 

The Hoofers will provide a course outlined with a suspended rope. Skiers who are visually impaired may use a sighted guide for assistance in navigating the course.

Lemke said the Recreation Committee enjoys activities that take place outdoors and can provide a special experience for participants.

“Our event organizers like to offer variety in everything they do to keep things fresh,” Lemke said, “and cross-country skiing seemed to be a good winter event to offer.”

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Justin at 608-237-8119 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Featured Council Contributor Q & A:

Kevin Damask, Social Media and Publications Writer, to explore new opportunities

Kevin profile

Kevin Damask, Social Media & Publications Writer

This new monthly question and answer feature for On Sight will highlight staff, board members, volunteers and donors that help to make the Council the special place that it is.

This month, we feature Kevin Damask, our outgoing Social Media and Publications Writer. Kevin has been with the Council for the past year and a half and has worked diligently on all of the Council’s publications, marketing materials and social media campaigns.

What was your favorite part of working at the Council?

“I enjoyed working with great people who are dedicated and passionate about providing opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired. It felt good to know that, through my writing and social media work, I was able to spread the Council’s message. Through my features stories, I enjoyed sharing information about individuals who either are involved with the Council or have been touched by the Council in some way. This past year, we shared a series of stories through #MyTransformationalJourney, and it was fun interviewing the subjects, collecting photos, crafting the stories, and sharing it on social media. It was rewarding to see the nice feedback on Facebook.”

What will you miss about the Council?

“I will miss the staff and the interesting projects I’ve worked on. From my first day, everyone here was very friendly, welcoming and supportive. I will also miss talking sports with Assistant Store Manager Tim Davis and Store Manager Brent Perzentka, and I will miss the delicious brunches we had to celebrate special occasions.”

What are your future goals and ambitions?

“My time at the Council allowed me to expand my public relations and social media writing experience. I hope that I can use those skills for a rewarding opportunity to further my career. While I still enjoy working in journalism, in the future, I would like to work in higher education, maybe in a media relations or communications role. I worked as a sports writer for several years and it would be great to do some part-time freelance work covering sports. One of my career goals is to have a book published in the coming years.”

We thank Kevin for his time with us and we wish him the very best in all of his future endeavors!

Sharper Vision Store Product Feature:

Visolux Digital HD - 7" Hand-Held Video Magnifier

January On Sight product feature 2

This advanced video magnifier features an extra-large 7” LCD screen with anti-glare coating, an HD camera, and built-in stand.  The device’s unique Dynamic Line Scrolling feature allows the user to scroll side to side on the screen in higher magnification levels without having to move the device. The Visolux Digital HD’s built-in HDMI and USB ports allow the user the option to transmit images directly to their computer and live stream to a television screen.

Item # PCCTV 9, $595.00