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May On Sight – 2nd Edition

   BRIGHT SIGHTS” Closing Reception to take place on May 25

Channel 3

Three glasswork pieces by artist Ron Wendt are displayed, hanging in front of two large glass window panes down the hallway of the Mandelbaum & Albert Vision Gallery, located on the UW Madison campus. A small graphic on the bottom of the photo reads: “New at 6PM. Gallery Shows Art Has No Boundaries.” This is a promotional photo from the news story about the gallery featured on WISC Channel 3 in Madison.

Join us for our closing reception of “BRIGHT SIGHTS - Six Ways of Seeing” on Thursday, May 25 from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery, located on the 9th floor of the Institutes for Medical Research building at UW-Madison.

Co-sponsored by the Council and the McPherson Eye Research Institute at UW-Madison, the BRIGHT SIGHTS exhibition includes works by artists Angelynn Brown, Alison Fortney, Rosemarie Fortney, Albert Schmiege, Dan Sullivan (aka D. S. Sully) and Ron Wendt.

In this exhibit partnership, both organizations align the execution of their missions. The McPherson Eye Research Institute’s research mission to gain critical knowledge about the science and art of vision and apply it to the prevention of blindness and WCBVI’s mission to advocate for and support the dignity, independence and creativity of those who are blind and visually impaired in a manner that is inclusive and demonstrates uncompromising respect.

Our goal is to provide an opportunity for blind or visually impaired artists to showcase and sell their artwork in a community setting that is supportive. All proceeds for pieces sold go directly to the artists.

Should you be unable to attend the closing reception, the gallery is open 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday thru Friday until May 26.

WISC Channel 3 - Madison recently featured artist Albert Schmiege and WCVBI’s CEO/Executive Director Denise Jess in a wonderful news piece promoting the gallery. You can view the story by clicking here.


  Why “My Cane Is…” So Important

My Cane Is

Katherine Watson (left), stands griping her white cane on her right side. She smiles kindly while facing forward. Behind her is a brick wall, a plant to her left and a purple chair to right. Tatiana Henneha (right) smiles broadly with her brown eyes twinkling with delight. Both women’s images are captured in two separate photographs.

Your gift to the White Cane Fund will ensure that each person who looks to the Council for services will receive them. We work one-on-one with individuals to help them adapt to their changing vision and find just the right tools and techniques. Read on about Katherine and Tatiana and their experiences using a white cane…

My Cane is an Obstacle Finder by Katherine Watson

When I got my Seeing Eye dog, some well-meaning friends and family asked if I would ever have to use my white cane again. Since the dog is an obstacle avoider and the cane is an obstacle finder, I knew that one wasn’t better than the other. They are just different tools for travel, like biking versus rollerblading.

I like using my cane in crowded areas, since I can hold it closer to my body, straight up-and-down. It’s also great for finding empty seats on a bus, using echo-location to determine the size of a room, and finding street-light buttons to cross the street at lighted intersections. I also use my cane to locate bus stops and to count driveways when I’m looking for a specific one. Occasionally, there are days when I need to leave my dog at home, so I take my cane instead and go about my day.

I use my cane when training my dog to find objects, such as specific doorways or trash cans. I use the cane to find it first, then teach her, using clicker training and treats, to take me to the trash can or doorway in question. By using my cane to initially find the spot, I’m making sure my dog is locating the correct area.

I find my cane to be an invaluable tool for getting around, whether I’m heading to an amusement park or to visit a friend downtown. I wouldn’t be able to live an independent, full life without my cane.

My Cane is an Identifier as told by Tatiana Henneha

When Tatiana lost her vision, she also lost her independence. “I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed at home being sad. I was scared to go out. I might bump into things,” said 25-year old Tatiana.

One day she ventured out with her grandmother to a local convenience store. She went into the store by herself, and came out in tears. Tatiana has enough vision to maneuver slowly through the aisles and even found the beverage she wanted to buy. But an inconsiderate cashier eroded any confidence she had mustered and left her feeling helpless.

As her grandmother comforted Tatiana, she convinced her it was time to use a white cane to identify herself as someone with vision loss.

“My cane helps me find landmarks on streets and in stores. Flooring is sometimes hard to distinguish from shelves, but my cane helps me tell the difference,” says Tatiana.

With most of her family living on the East Coast, Tatiana didn’t know how she would get to see everyone. Through mobility training, Tatiana learned how to navigate in busy areas and successfully traveled alone to visit them. “They were frightened for me” but traveling alone was a positive experience and one she will do again.

Tatiana has regained her independence thanks to the use of a white cane, mobility training, and the support of her family.

Your gift to the White Cane Fund helps people like Katherine and Tatiana lead full lives! With their white canes in hand, both women are active and involved. Please consider making a donation to the White Cane Fund at Thank you!


  Featured “Outlook From Here” Blog Post:

Dressing Up the Grill with ID Mate

By Janell Groskreutz

onsight grilling

Janell Groskretuz stands in front of her heavy-duty gas grill, smilingly warmly as she poses with a skewer in hand ready to prepare her favorite shish kebab meal. At her feet sits her guide dog Sully.

I love this delicious and colorful summertime grilling treat. I particularly like to make it when I am entertaining a group of people larger than the normal 4-6 I host. If a group larger than that bombards my deck it is fun to have each guest make their own skewer with whatever assortment they have a taste for.

I always incorporate taste and a bit of color (for my sighted guests) on each skewer by alternating the veggies and meat. Using the grill also alleviates using the oven and heating up the kitchen on those hot Wisconsin summer days.

I start with a trip to the pantry, and I flatter myself by thinking everyone in my family has diligently adhered to my organization of the canned goods, but much to my dismay, they have not. I then break out my ID Mate to read the labels so I am sure to open a can of Irish potatoes and not a can of cream style corn. Given the fact that our fridge has practically every salad dressing known to man (and some that are most likely not identifiable anymore), my ID Mate comes in handy when I am searching for the kind of French dressing I intend on using.

Shish kebabs on the grill


Typically used for 6-8 people

*Steak, but any kind of meat works. I have used chicken, elk, moose, venison and shrimp. Cut into ¾ inch cubes

Marinate the meat at least 4 hours in Italian dressing

*2 cans of Irish whole potatoes drained and cut in half

*Mushrooms found fresh in the produce aisle

*16 Cherry tomatoes

*1 Onion-slice into 1-inch square pieces

*Can of chunked, drained pineapple

*3 different colored peppers cleaned and cut into 1-inch squares

*French dressing


To keep things in order when assembling I use bowls for each ingredient. To keep the peppers separated by color I use my Colorino device to identify the colors of each pepper. I put cut peppers into individual bowls and set them in alphabetical order, such as green, red, and yellow.

Start each skewer with a large slice of onion on the bottom of the skewer. It will hold the other pieces in place.

Alternate all other ingredients until 1-inch is left at the top of the skewer. Top off with another large piece of onion.

Pour ½ cup of French dressing in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to generously slather dressing on entire skewer. Occasionally, instead of a pastry brush I will put on a latex glove and spread on dressing using my fingers. This way is easier to feel if everything is covered evenly.

However, this is where my kebab assembling talent ends and I hand my culinary creation to my husband to put on the grill.

I do set the timer on my I-phone to be sure the other goodies are ready when the kebabs are done to perfection.



  Sharper Vision Store Featured Product:

Illuminated Over the Neck Magnifier

Neck Magnifier

Easily perform crafts and fine tasks like sewing with this illuminated magnifier. This unit has a large 4" diameter lens for a big working area and a bright light to be able to see in all lighting conditions. This hands free magnifier is great for sight impaired users who want to sew, knit, and more.

Item # MX420, $35.00


  Upcoming Events

Upcoming events



Veterans Low Vision Support Group

When:       Thursday, May 25

(4th Thursday of each month through November)

Where:      First Unitarian Society of Madison - 900 University Bay Dr

Time        10:00 a.m.

The purpose of the group is to offer a place for visually impaired veterans to meet with each other, find resources available and discuss issues related to vision loss. There is no cost to attend, and refreshments will be provided. The topics of discussion will ultimately be decided by the participants.  Some ideas include coping strategies for dealing with the challenges of vision loss, local resources available, guest speakers and product demonstrations.

To attend, please contact Amy Wurf at 608-237-8107 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Bright Sights: Six Ways of Seeing Gallery - Closing Reception

When:       Thursday, May 25

Where:      Mandelbaum & Albert Family Vision Gallery/McPherson Eye Research Institute - Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research Building at UW-Madison 1111 Highland Avenue, 9th Floor

Time:        4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Observe the artwork of six Wisconsin artists whose visual impairment inspire and enrich their art while enjoying light refreshments.


OrCam My Eye Presentation

When:       Saturday, June 24

Where:      WCBVI Office – 754 Williamson Street, Madison

Time:        12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Presented by Aliza Olenick from OrCam Technologies and Gabe DeLeon from Adaptive Technology Resources. OrCam glasses have a camera that photographs text, converts it to audio, and reads it aloud. Learn more at

To attend, please contact Jean Kalscheur at 608-237-8106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..