The UCB Flier

A publication of

Utah Council of the Blind

October 2018


For the latest news updates call the Utah Connection 801-299-0670 or 1‑800-273-4569. (You may also leave a message at the end of the announcement.)

Mail correspondence to: UCB, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415. E-mail us at


The UCB Flier is available in large print, Braille, audio CD, as a data (Microsoft Word and a plain text file) CD, and by e-mail. If you would prefer to receive your newsletter in a different format, please call the Utah Connection or send an e-mail to and let us know.


In This Issue

President's Message.................................................................................. 4

Becoming A Healthier You......................................................................... 6

Calendar of Upcoming Events.................................................................... 7

Big Thanks to Patricia Beaman.................................................................. 7

New Board Members, Awards, and Scholarships....................................... 8

Update on Executive Director Leslie Gertsch............................................. 9

Free to Good Home.................................................................................. 10

Christmas Party........................................................................................ 11

Can braille survive in a smartphone world?.............................................. 12

In the Garden: Enabling Garden offers ideas for accessible gardening.... 19

Researchers Develop Reprogrammable Braille in Hopes of Making Books More Accessible for Blind Readers........................................................... 23

LightHouse's MAD Lab designs tactile comic strips for the Charles M. Schulz Museum........................................................................................ 27

Accessibility at the Charles M. Schulz Museum 32

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum opens a new accessible exhibit........ 33

Philadelphia Museum of Art takes 'hands-on' approach to accommodating visually impaired....................................................................................... 39

General UCB Information......................................................................... 40

Upcoming Board Meetings...................... 42

Christmas Party Reservation Form........................................................... 43


Note to Braille and Audio Readers

Article links are omitted from these versions for ease of reading, but may be found in the newsletter archived on our website at


Articles and announcements included in this publication are presented for your information and interest. They reflect the opinions of the respective authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the UCB.

President's Message

by Tina Terry

Since I love learning about technology which is accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired, I thought I would talk about a couple of iPhone apps that I have tried recently.

The first one, which I have heard a lot of buzz about, is called Envision AI. It is very similar to Seeing AI with a few very big differences. It still allows you to identify scenes, read text, handwriting, identify colors, scan for bar codes and more. It comes with a 14-day trial. I have been trying it and have found that it is quite a lot less user friendly than Seeing AI. It is also a subscription app. You can either pay for several months, or you can pay $250 for a life time subscription. I have found that Seeing AI is still a lot better app. Keep in mind, this is my opinion. I do know that both Envision AI and Seeing AI are constantly updating and so it will be interesting to see what comes out of these apps in the near future.

The second app is Tap Tap See which has been around for quite a while. This app allows you to take a picture of something and get a one-line description of the item. I have found it useful to identify colors more accurately. It will tell me whether I am wearing black or white socks, a white blouse with flowers, and so on. I have also used this app when I was not able to find the bar code on an item. This was a subscription app at one time, but is now free. The newest update also allows you to take a 10 second video and have it identified. I have found this app very helpful and am grateful that they have allowed us to use it for free.

I am willing to pay for an app, but I want to know whether it is user friendly, accurate, and reasonably priced. These are things to think about before you purchase an app for yourself. Some apps are very reasonably priced, but others can be expensive. I encourage people to use the assistive apps that are out there, but look for feedback from others before you purchase if it is expensive.

Becoming A Healthier You

On Saturday, October 20, the Utah Council of the Blind will be hosting a health fair from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at DSVBI, 250 North 1950 West, Salt Lake City. We will be showing some of the accessible medical products such as blood pressure cuffs, prescription readers, and much more. We will also be holding classes and demonstrating balance exercises, health care, and different descriptive workouts.

We will have discussions on products such as smart watches, smart phones, google home and echo, and how they can help monitor daily activity. Other topics will include gene therapy, eye care, disaster preparedness, and nutrition.

There will be drawings, door prizes, and lunch will be provided at a cost of $2.00 per person, payable at the door. Reservations are required no later than October 18th. Call the Utah Connection at 801-299-0670 or 800-273-4569 and leave your information at the end of the message or email

Calendar of Upcoming Events

      Saturday, October 20, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.: Becoming A Healthier You!

      Monday, November 26, reservations and payments for Christmas brunch must be received

      Saturday, December 1, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: annual Christmas party

Big Thanks to Patricia Beaman

Patricia Beaman has decided to leave the UCB Board of Directors so that she can maximize her time in other ways. We have so loved having her on the board and will miss her. But luckily, she is still going to be in charge of our annual boutique. This year, that boutique will be held at DSBVI on Friday, November 30, and again on Saturday, December 1. Watch for more information in the next UCB Flier.

New Board Members, Awards, and Scholarships

At this year's annual business meeting, Donni Mitchell was elected as the new Vice-President, Vicki L. Flake was re-elected as treasurer, and Cordie Weed, Monica Youngdell, and Janis Stanger were made members of the UCB Board of Directors.

Certificates of recognition for service to the blind were given to Donni Mitchell, JD Seely, Dr. Angela Longboat, and Patricia Beaman. Two Linda Kay Braithwaite awards were given—one to Kate Schofield and one to Aunilie Hathaway. The Albert M. Talmage award was given to Mary Hale for her many years of volunteer work for the blind, including her work as a volunteer teacher of braille and other blindness skills, and her years of work at the State Library for the Blind. This year, a new award, the Leslie H. Gertsch Award was given to beloved executive director, Leslie H. Gertsch.

Two scholarships were awarded. A scholarship was given to part-time student, Jim Reed, who is in culinary studies at SLCC; he is currently studying chocolate confection and shares what he learns with his students at DSBVI. A second scholarship was given to full-time student, Trace Mitchell, who is studying business and music at SUU in Cedar City. Trace has already written and produced one musical.

Update on Executive Director Leslie Gertsch

As you may know, our Executive Director, Leslie Gertsch, has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Every two weeks, she spends three days receiving chemotherapy. Fortunately, however, she has come up with some helpful ways to deal with the side effects of the cancer and of the chemo.

Leslie loves you all. Her love of people who are blind or visually impaired has been shown through the years by her commitment to helping as many as she can. Lisa Nelson, Director of the Utah State Library for the Blind, commented that if she had to use two words to describe Leslie, they would be "fierce warrior."

Because Leslie is not feeling well, people are encouraged to direct their questions to the Utah Connection, to president Tina Terry, or to members of the Board of Directors.

Free to Good Home

A UCB member has the Old and New Testaments, read by Alexander Scourby, on records. He also has a complete set of the New Messenger on records. If you would like to have either of these sets for your own use, please leave your name and phone number on the Utah Connection.

Christmas Party

Greetings, fellow UCB members,

Our annual Christmas Party is going to be on Saturday, December 1st from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will be held at DSBVI at 250 N. 1950 W., Salt Lake City. It is going to be a brunch meal of scrambled eggs, ham, hash browns, fruit, and pastries. We will plan on eating about 11:00 a.m., with entertainment scheduled at noon. There will be gifts for the children, a visit from Santa, and treats for all. There will also be a bake sale and a gift boutique for people to do some shopping before the meal and after the entertainment. I am planning on having an activity for the children during the entertainment so that we can all enjoy.

In order to have enough food for all, we need to know if you are coming. We must have your reservations by no later than November 26th. Adult meals are $6.00 each, and children ages 3-11 are $3.00 each. Children younger than 3 can eat for free. Please fill out your registration form (found at the end of The Flier) and get it back to us on time. People who do not reserve a meal WILL NOT BE FED. Hope to see you there for fun, food, and music.

Can braille survive in a smartphone world?

On a recent morning, six visually impaired people gathered in a building on Walnut Street, huddled over their iPhones, waiting for Andrew Godwin's intermediate technology class to begin. The day's lesson? Creating and finding contacts in your cell phone.

At the Associated Services for the Blind (ASB) in Center City, people who are blind and visually impaired can learn the skills they need to survive and thrive in today's digital-first society.

The nonprofit also offers classes to teach people with low vision how to read braille. For decades, ASB has been one of the largest producers of braille in the United States, creating versions of everything from books for the Library of Congress, to manuals for Comcast products such as your cable box or wireless internet router.

But the number of braille readers has decreased significantly in the last 50 years.

In 1960, half of all legally blind children in the U.S. were able to read braille, according to a report by the American Foundation for the Blind. Today, fewer than one in ten blind people possesses the skill.

The number of fluent readers has plummeted for a variety of reasons: a shortage of teachers, decreased emphasis on teaching braille to low-vision individuals, and the rise of assistive technology.

"Technology offers the opportunity for those that are blind or visually impaired to live independently," said Godwin, 46.

To demonstrate, Godwin opened an app, Seeing AI, on his iPhone 5S and turned the camera to face himself.

The phone described aloud what it saw: "56-year-old male with dark hair, looking happy."

Godwin laughed. "56?!" he said.

The app isn't perfect, but it is helpful. Users can program it to recognize faces—simply by holding up the camera, they can find out who is in the room without having to ask.

Godwin, who is blind due to a rare inherited eye disease that affects the retinas, began teaching at ASB two years ago. He hosts group classes on cell phone usage as well as one-on-one computer lessons. He tailors the courses to the specific needs of his students, such as a recently blinded author who wishes to continue his career using assistive technology.

Audiobooks and screen readers, programs that convert on-screen text into audible speech, make reading more rapid for individuals such as Godwin, who are used to relying on hearing and can understand speech at a speed that far exceeds a normal speaking pace.

But the new technology is not embraced by all.

For Lavera Diggins, 87, who lost her sight at 18 and says the loss was "like death," reading braille allowed her to find independence. After learning to read braille at ASB, she became a volunteer teacher.

She creates braille labels for her clothing, cans, and cassettes at home to be able to identify the products on her own.

Diggins doesn't expect to pick up the newest technology because of her age, but with braille, "once you have it, you can use it."

Without the ability to read braille, visually impaired people must take in all information by listening. But with the raised-dot braille system felt by the fingertips, they can process data at their own pace.

"It's one thing to receive information passively as you're listening, but when you're bringing it in and interpreting it, it's much more of an active way of engagement," said Tony Stephens, director of advocacy and governmental affairs of the American Council of the Blind.

Stephens was born with low vision and became completely blind at age 15. It took him two years to learn to read braille. In recent years, he's been using braille more. Technology, apart from offering an alternative to braille, also makes access to braille easier.

Refreshable braille displays, tablets that can be programmed with different braille texts, are becoming more affordable and widespread. People who shied away from braille in the past because of inconvenience, a Harry Potter novel in braille would fill an entire bookshelf, can now carry a novel in one hand.

"Technology has made huge achievement in access to information, but at the core there is still the fundamental need for literacy," Stephens said.

Monica Heap, a sighted braille instructor who retired a few months ago, taught hundreds of students over her 34 years at ASB and believes the skill is crucial for visually impaired people.

"Braille is like a paper and a pencil," said Heap, 65, of Lindenwold. "What do you do when all of a sudden you don't have access to the internet?"

Godwin doesn't read braille other than on short labels and notes around his house and, as a result, he "can't spell for beans."

But his son, Andrew, who was born with the same eye disease, is an avid braille reader and would be devastated if braille books were no longer produced. As an aspiring engineer, the 9-year-old finds it important to be able to read design plans and diagrams independently.

"Braille will never go away," Godwin said. "It will forever be relevant, I believe, just for literary purposes."

Still, in Godwin's classes, a future without braille doesn't seem impossible.

On that particular July morning, cell phones spoke quiet commands to their users as they navigated them easily. Godwin sent a text to his wife using Apple's talk-to-text feature, listened as his emails were dictated, and used an app to read aloud a printed document in front of him.

Together, Godwin and his students worked through the technological hang-ups the class encountered since they last saw each other.

"I love learning with you guys," Godwin said. "There's never a class of students that doesn't make my brain work hard.

Article Link:

In the Garden: Enabling Garden offers ideas for accessible gardening

I've just returned from this year's garden writers conference that took place in Chicago. I was so impressed with the city's many green spaces, colorful container plantings and beautiful gardens.

One of the most memorable stops was the Chicago Botanic Garden, and I heartily recommend it to all of the garden-lovers out there. While strolling through the many different regions within it, I was most inspired by the Buehler Enabling Garden. Billed as a "teaching garden that encourages gardening for people of all ages and abilities," it offers excellent take-home ideas for those with sensory or physical limitations so they can experience the many delights of a garden.

In one area, the designers focused on textures, fragrances and tactile cues to assist visually impaired gardeners. For example, soft, fuzzy plants such as lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina), celosia spikes, and purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum Rubra) added both interest and texture to garden beds. Aromatic herbs, scented geraniums, heliotrope and chocolate cosmos provided fragrant ways to locate specific plants while pleasing the senses. One ingenious idea involved placing a large-holed metal grid, such as a cattle panel, on the surface of a bed so a gardener can count the squares in order to zero in on a certain plant.

Water features that included fountains, small pools and cascading waterfalls provided pleasing sights, sounds and sensations to increase one's enjoyment of the garden.

There were plenty of useful ideas for gardeners who could use a bit of physical help in pursuing their passion for growing things.

Raised beds are a perfect example of this as they make it easier to reach plants. They can be as tall as is needed, provided the beds are narrow enough for reaching across without having to step, lean or kneel on the soil. Many of the walls of the beds in the enabling garden offered a comfortable place to sit while tending plants.

Tall containers filled with bright, colorful plants were another idea, both for folks who need to garden from a seated position and for those with limited vision. Plantings included intensely colored zinnias and Gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia hirta), caladiums, the gorgeous silvery-purple Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), and many coleus in eye-popping colors.

One creative suggestion was to install a vertical wall garden where plants can be tended and enjoyed while standing or sitting. Elevated "shallow pan" containers also permitted seated gardening with clearance for wheelchairs underneath. I enjoyed seeing the hanging baskets that were each connected to an easy-to-use pulley system. This allows one to lower the baskets for planting, deadheading spent blossoms or pruning foliage and then raise them up to a safe height for head clearance.

The garden was paved with level, smooth bricks both to make walking safe and to provide easy access for individuals who use wheelchairs or walkers. The pathways were also wide enough to maneuver in.

The sign at the entrance to the enabling garden reaffirmed what I've always felt:

"No matter what your age or physical ability, gardening doesn't have to be a challenge. This garden shows you that in a well-planned space, anyone can garden."

I firmly believe that all individuals should have the opportunity to grow a garden and the ideas demonstrated at the Chicago Botanic Garden are a great starting point to make that possible.

Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of "Northwest Gardener's Handbook." Contact her at For a video tour of Anne Moore Knapp's garden, watch the "Everyone Can Grow A Garden" video on

Article Link:

Researchers Develop Reprogrammable Braille in Hopes of Making Books More Accessible for Blind Readers

In recent years, it has become easier for blind and low-sight users to read text from computers and tablets, thanks to advances in accessibility technology that have greatly improved the standards for refreshable Braille displays. But physical braille books have lagged behind. An average book takes up several volumes of thick braille paper, which are a pain to carry around. For example, the braille translation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix spans 14 volumes and takes up a whopping 1,000 pages of braille paper, compared with the standard printed version, which is a single 766-page volume. The heft of most braille books makes it challenging for students to take literature and textbooks home, and experts have warned that the inaccessibility of braille books and the prohibitive cost of refreshable braille displays have contributed to a "braille literacy crisis."

But that could be changing. Researchers at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are developing a novel technique to make braille books more portable and convenient.

They're calling it reprogrammable braille, and it's an elegant concept: Researchers crafted a flexible elastic shell, similar to a slightly curved ruler, upon which they imprinted dots using a stylus—a similar process to how traditional braille pages are printed. The shell retains the imprints of the stylus, but users can "erase" the imprints by stretching the shell, allowing new configurations to be imprinted. In tests, Harvard researchers were able to control the number of dots, their position, and their order anywhere along the shell.

The researchers first tested the idea of reprogrammable braille using an inverted plastic fruit bowl. However, the approach is not limited to sturdy plastic materials. The researchers' method is "scale-independent," meaning that it has the potential to be implemented on a wide variety of surfaces, ranging in thickness from one-atom graphene to thicker paper.

This is not the first attempt to make braille books more portable. In 2014, a British project called ANAGRAPHS created a working prototype of a braille e-reader. The model functioned by heating paraffin wax, which expanded to produce braille dots. However, ANAGRAPHS ran out of funding, and the project was shut down.

Tony Stephens, the director of advocacy and governmental affairs for the American Council of the Blind, is excited by the potential of reprogrammable braille to improve accessibility. "If it's able to get into the hands of people at an affordable price, I think this definitely will have some positive impacts on encouraging greater use of braille [and] creating greater access to braille material ... that's often difficult to get a hold of," Stephens told Slate. He hopes that this innovation will be a boon to braille literacy. "This is a conversation that really runs through our community," Stephens explained. "Is a person technically literate if they're just listening to something? ... Those are serious concerns that we have because literacy helps in a lot of other areas than just reading and talking: It helps cognition, it helps thinking and critical thinking, and ... trying to work your way through basic sentence structure and syntax."

There's still a lot of work to be done before reprogrammable braille makes it easier for readers to carry Harry Potter books with them. While researchers have shown that reprogramming the shell is possible, they are still figuring out how to develop a mechanism that actually makes the changes to the page. Still, if the researchers can work out the kinks, this platform could transform braille books' accessibility, cutting their length down to a much more manageable size. That would be practically magical.

Article Link:

LightHouse's MAD Lab designs tactile comic strips for the Charles M. Schulz Museum

Charlie Brown and Snoopy are some of the most well-known characters of all time. By the time Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz retired in December 1999, the comic strip had run for 50 years and been syndicated in over 2,600 newspapers worldwide, with book collections translated into more than 25 languages.

Peanuts is universally human in its sarcastic, nostalgic, bittersweet, silly, realist and occasionally fanciful humor. Schulz filtered his own dark irreverence into the trials and tribulations of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and the rest of the characters many of us came to know and love. It is, fundamentally, a story of a dream not quite achieved — and how, even so, another day will come to pass.

It's for its universality and renown that the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa remains dedicated to making Peanuts accessible to all — including the blind and low vision community. Just this month, the LightHouse MAD Lab worked with the Schulz Museum to create a tactile representation of a four-panel Peanuts strip first published on July 31, 1951.

The museum's School and Youth Programs Coordinator Monica Hernandez initiated the collaboration after learning more about museum accessibility while studying at SF State, and to prepare for the museum's second Accessible Tours Day, which will be held on September 23, 2018.

"As I understand it, often people with disabilities are told that they're too expensive, that it's too much trouble or effort to take on a project like this," says Hernandez. "That's not what we're about. We try to do our best with accessibility at the museum."

"The comic strip and Peanuts in general are such an accessible and universal topic," she continues. "People from all over the world love and know and understand Snoopy. Schulz put a little bit of himself into every character, and we all relate to at least one of them — whether it's the innocent and gullible Charlie Brown or Peppermint Patty because she's good at sports."

The strip in question was chosen deliberately in hopes of demonstrating the evolution of the (arguably) most beloved characters — Charlie Brown and Snoopy. An earlier depiction, the strip shows Snoopy running on all four legs (he later evolved to his more recognizable upright, two-legged stance) and a youthful, oblong-headed Charlie (into the 90s, his neck and torso elongated and he adopted a wobbly, anxious mouth).

Charlie Brown challenges Snoopy to a race: "Snoopy, let's have a race!" When Snoopy sets off, Charlie Brown stays put: "Ah, now I can eat this candy in peace!"

It's a sweet a simple strip that offers some insight into the very beginnings of the Peanuts' long and storied history and evolution. MAD Lab's 10? X 11? Direct UV prints used the simplicity of Schulz's bold lines to their advantage — one set of the ensuing tactile representations feature one-to-one raised lines and braille descriptions. A second set used various fills, textures and relief heights to differentiate between the overlapping figures of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

MAD Lab's Senior Designer Naomi Rosenberg found the project to be a great exercise in translation: "We're trying to stay as true to the original comic strip as possible, but translate it in a way that makes sense to the touch," she says. "Pairing tactiles with succinct descriptions provided by the museum was a great approach. They really had the right intentions and a good understanding of the needs of blind users. There's something exciting about working with a museum that sees a lot of kids and school groups coming through. The project might have an impact on exposing kids to tactiles early on."

Hernandez was very happy with the project's outcome and looks forward to seeing how the community receives the strip during Accessible Tours Day.

"It was so great working with the MAD Lab on this project and learning from their expertise," says Hernandez. "They were very positive and warm throughout the process and openly offered suggestions. The project will go a long way for increasing the Museum's accessibility and starting further conversations and projects around access."

Accessibility at the Charles M. Schulz Museum

Schulz himself initiated accessible projects including a braille version of "Happiness is a Warm Puppy", which can be viewed at the museum upon request.

MAD Lab's tactile comic strip is also on view by request and will be available for viewing the museum's Accessible Tours Day on Sunday, September 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Special tours will be available for deaf, hard of hearing and low vision visitors led by trained docents with sign-language interpreters throughout the morning.

To reserve your tour time in advance call 707-284-1263 or email Tours are included with regular museum admission and the museum also offers large-print booklets of exhibition text at the front desk for low vision visitors.

Article Link:

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum opens a new accessible exhibit

In a new exhibition of Indian art, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum takes steps towards accessibility for blind and visually impaired patrons.

On September 7, a new exhibition opens at the Asian Art Museum featuring 17 contemporary artists working in the Mithila style, a traditional style of women's domestic decoration originating in the Indian subcontinent.

The exhibition, Painting Is My Everything: Art from India's Mithila Region, includes three tactile renderings produced by the LightHouse's MAD Lab and designed by Hong Kong-based social designer Rico Chan. The tactile renderings are displayed on kiosks throughout the exhibition, accompanied by braille labels and audio descriptions, which can be accessed through the museum's app.

The temporary exhibition features 30 large scale contemporary works on paper from Bihar state, the subcontinent's rural northeast. It is the first major exhibition in more than a decade to explore how this age-old tradition of women's domestic decoration has become a vibrant arts movement with a surprising social impact. It is also the museum's first foray into accessibility in the form of tactile translation, a method that they hope to fine-tune and experiment with in future exhibitions.

"We've been chomping at the bit to integrate more accessible accommodations and it was the exhibition that was coming up when everything fell into place," says Director of Education and Interpretation at the museum, Deborah Clearwaters. "We want to be accessible to people of all abilities, and we know we have much more to do. This project is one experiment in bringing artworks to life for visitors who are blind or have low vision. We have more of an opportunity to try things in some of our changing galleries and these paintings really lend themselves to this approach because they're very graphic and 2d in style."

Mithila style painting is characterized by density of line and texture, strong figurative outlines of brush and ink, fine detailing and elaborate borders, and was originally practiced exclusively by women on the walls of their homes. The art form often depicts rituals or religious imagery, including scenes of weddings, flowers and animals as symbols of fecundity and depictions of Hindu god and goddesses. The style of painting is a catalyst of economic growth and social change in Mithila, and for many women, has translated into financial independence and community respect.

Women artists make up only 3 to 5% of major permanent collections in the U.S. and Europe, and in 590 major exhibitions by nearly 70 institutions in the U.S. from 2007 to 2013, only 27% were devoted to women artists. A further winnowing occurs for female Asian artists — so there's a beautiful synchronicity, then, to making underrepresented work accessible to a group who has minimal access to visual art, even in the most established museums and galleries around the world.

"The Asian Art Museum stands firmly on the side of inclusion, global consciousness, and cultural empathy," says the museum's Artistic Director and CEO, Jay Xu. "Not only are our doors open to all, but we actively pursue ways to make our museum more accessible to more people."

The idea grew out of conversations with disabled members of the Asian Art Museum when asked for suggestions for improving accessibility at an ongoing series of Disability Community Charrettes. Several blind or low vision members suggested tactile renderings and braille labeling to accompany detailed audio description. The museum involved several of these patrons (with varying degrees of vision) into an iterative process that determined the final tactile design and spatial layout of the exhibition.

The tactile kiosks are comprised of slanted counter-height platforms holding the artwork rendered in full color, with the added element of raised tactile lines and textures. The wall behind each kiosk offers a printed sheet with the verbal description of the piece as well as information about the piece in braille on the tactile surface. The accompanying audio description can be accessed via the Asian Art Museum's app or this YouTube playlist. The setup is meant to allow both blind and sighted audiences to interact with the pieces in tandem and, hopefully, start a dialogue.

"This is an opportunity that we've been waiting for a while," says the MAD Lab's Project Manager BJ Epstein. "We're really excited to be able to produce tactile artwork for the Asian Art Museum. You can hear about a piece of art or read about a piece of art, but without vision, it's by getting your hands on it that you can really get a sense of the piece and its layout. We're really excited to be doing this for the museum and for our community."

Painting Is My Everything: Art from India's Mithila Region runs through December 30. The exhibition is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 9 p.m. Learn more about accessibility at the Asian Art Museum before you go.

Article Link:

Philadelphia Museum of Art takes 'hands-on' approach to accommodating visually impaired

By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — "Hands off" is often the policy when enjoying artistic treasures. But a new directive at the Philadelphia Museum of Art allows some visitors to touch the artwork.

The visually impaired can't always see the beauty of Rodin's "The Thinker," but at the museum, you can feel some of the priceless pieces.

"You're really looking at the three-dimensional and sculptural objects, some of the bronze pieces, almost all the pieces at the Rodin Museum can be touched and our Indian Temple Hall," said Damon Reaves, associate curator of education for community engagement and access. "So it's a variety of different objects and a variety of different materials you can touch."

Patrons wear special gloves so skin oils don't damage the items while guides describe each piece.

If you're interested, call for an appointment: (215) 763-8100.

To view this article online, go to

General UCB Information

Donni Mitchell volunteers in the UCB Office at DSBVI, 250 N 1950 W, Salt Lake City, UT, from 12:00 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. If you wish to make a purchase, we recommend you give her a call at 801-520-3766 to be sure she is there when you visit to purchase cab coupons, t-shirts, screwdriver/hammers, 20/20 pens, signature guides, or measuring cups and spoons.

We are always looking for articles, book reviews, or interesting tidbits of information from our readers or other interested persons. The deadline for submitting items for publication is the 1st of the month, e.g. the deadline for the December newsletter is November 1st. You may e-mail any articles you wish to submit to (please indicate “for UCB Flier” in the subject), or send Braille or print to UCB Flier, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415; please allow extra time for processing Braille or print.

If you have questions or concerns for any board member or to be placed on the agenda of a board meeting, e-mail or leave a message on the Utah Connection, and you will receive a timely reply.

Members are invited and encouraged to attend meetings of the Board of Directors. These are typically held the fourth Monday of each month at 4:30 p.m. at DSBVI in Conference Room R (in the north hallway), except as noted.

Upcoming Board Meetings

·       Monday, October 29, 2018

·        Saturday, November 17, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

·       No meeting in December


Christmas Party Reservation Form

Name(s) of person or people in group:

Phone number: _______________________

Names and ages of children age 3-11 so that gifts from Santa can be arranged:

Number of blind and visually impaired who are 12 or older: _____________________

Please send this form and money by November 26th to UCB, PO Box 1415, Bountiful, UT 84011-1415.

For questions or if you need special accommodations, contact Kira Larkin at 801-898-5472.


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Utah Council of the Blind                                                                                                   

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Woods Cross UT 84087-2224