Lauren Bush, Wichita, KS - Legally Blind—Retinitis Pigmentosa and Bardet-Biedl Syndrome
Growing up in Wichita, Lauren Bush, has been involved with Envision since a young girl. From clinical services that have taught her Braille and to navigate the public bus system, to support programs like Envision Arts and the Golf Clinic, they have all fostered her independence and have improved her life overall. Bush has always been inspired and fascinated by Anime, so much so, that she began to develop her own characters and stories to go along with them. Inspired by her classmates, Bush decided to make a wall tapestry depicting two of her most common characters from her storybook while integrating Japanese inspired textiles into the overall design. Bush is now a student at Butler Community College and will pursue a path in culinary arts.
Kathleen McGee, Lawrence, KS
I am disabled but love to draw free hand, pen and ink, and oil pastel, birds especially. I love hummingbirds. I have some vision impairment so I use a magnifying glass and bright light to paint my pictures and draw feather details.
Ann Byington, Topeka KS
I suffer from retinopathy of prematurity, a retinal disease that mimics diabetic retinopathy. For all practical purposes, I have been blind since birth, though I have light perception in my right eye, which is somewhat useful on sunny days. I have been a Talking Book reader since 1954 or 1955. I don’t fall asleep without hearing a Talking Book. I learned to knit in my 20s and have made many afghans and baby blankets. Several years ago I found a pattern for knitting jingle bell Christmas ornaments which contained a jingle bell. I wanted to make a garland having the bells knitted into it, but when I strung the bells on yarn to be knitted, it got quite tangled. The current garland is an outgrowth of that design. I can now download knitting books from the NLS BARD website and read them on my Braille Sense note taker.
Sherry Worth, Wichita, KS - Legally Blind—Retinitis Pigmentosa and Cataracts
Sherry, whose passion for leisure arts is what initially inspired her to joining Envision Arts, an art program for individuals of all ages who are blind or visually impaired, would find herself diving deep into quilt making and pushing like the Warhol Inspired quilt of her dog, Cinnamon. Worth is also known for picking up electric saws and sanders to create tactile works of art out of wood and has made numerous life-size, Wichita flags, as a way for those who are visually impaired to feel the flag and to understand the symbolism behind each design element. The Aloft Wichita Northeast hotel has had one on display since it opened in 2017.
Dana Smith, Wichita, KS Total Blind—Peter’s Anomaly
Dana Smith was born blind with an eye condition known as Peter’s Anomaly, and was raised on a reservation in Oklahoma by her grandmother who taught her to believe that her blindness was a gift, not a disability. In 2007, she moved to Kansas after graduating from the Oklahoma School for the Blind and joined the Envision Arts Program in Wichita, Kansas in 2013. “My grandmother fostered my creativity through storytelling and teaching me to learn about arts and crafts as a way to express my active imagination.” Smith is proud to pass down what she learned as a child to her son, Anthony, that she raises with her partner, Ryan, and guide dog, Tessa.
Becca Resner, Emporia, KS
Becca was born in Wichita. She lead a normal life until a car-bike accident at the age of 10 put her in the hospital. She lost most the vision in her left eye, due to nerve damage. Her nerve has healed somewhat and restored partial vision to that eye. Becca loves photography, reading, and riding her bike. Talking Books has helped her "read" when her double vision is bad, which makes concentrating on a page difficult.