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“There are so many great organizations out there waiting to help people who have lost their vision. I’m glad MindsEye makes a point of connecting listeners to them.” - Rita, retired accessibility instructor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Ameren Illinois Powers Descriptions of the Arts

Saint Louis, MO – December 27, 2017 -  Through a $10,000 grant from Ameren Illinois, MindsEye continues to grow their Audio Description Program for residents in Missouri and Illinois which uses highly trained volunteers to describe visual elements of live theater, museums, and other live events over a headset to patrons who are blind and visually-impaired.

Dr. Stephen Kissel, a blind patron and accessibility consultant, states, “Descriptive audio brings performances alive for me, painting a picture in my mind. I am committed to promoting the service so that others may be able to share the enjoyment of these performances.”  

For those with visual impairments, description reveals crucial information in scenery, movements on stage, or artwork that seeing individuals consume without thought. Audio description enhances and complements the work so those who are visually-impaired or blind gain a complete understanding of what is before them. In short, MindsEye translates vision into audio.

 

MindsEye launched the Audio Description Program over a year ago with the support of Ameren Illinois. As a result, MindsEye trained 20 describers and delivered description to over 40 productions at 11 different venues, including The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Muny, and the Saint Louis Zoo. Additionally, volunteers provide access to once in a lifetime event like the Solar Eclipse this past August which was described in partnership with Missouri Council of the Blind.

Audio Description benefits children, adolescents, adults, and older adults - including those who have enjoyed the arts their whole lives but experience vision loss due to aging. MindsEye’s audio description gives every person who attends a theater production or exhibit, regardless of visual impairment, a chance to enjoy an enriching experience.

Andrew Adolphson, who is blind, loves the theatre, and through audio description he can hear action and sight gags and imagine the elaborate costumes worn by the performers. His mother Ann Adolphson says, “We can enjoy a show together as a family because of audio description.”

In addition to the Audio Description Program, MindsEye connects those who are visually-impaired to the news and entertainment they need through 24-hour radio broadcasts of magazine, newspapers, and books that have been read by volunteers since 1973. 

The grant funds were made available through the Ameren Cares program, which connects Ameren Illinois with the communities it serves through charitable giving and volunteering. Richard Mark, president of Ameren Illinois, said a key focus of this program is to partner with non-profit organizations like MindsEye to improve the quality of life in communities.

 

Logo - The word Ameren sets over the word Illinois in black on a white background. A green starburst sets slightly above and to the left of the words

 

“MindsEye and its volunteers provide an invaluable gift to the visually impaired,” said Mark. “We are proud to support the Audio Description program to make theater more accessible for the blind or visually-impaired."

Ameren Illinois commitment to accessibility is clear. In addition to providing funding, Ameren Illinois employees donated a Saturday morning in December to volunteer to beautify MindsEye. Volunteers painted, cleaned gutters, and cleared pine needles and leaves away from the building.

 

Two men stand in front of a brick building with a sign marking it as MindsEye, the Virtual Newstand. One man stand on a center step of a 6 ft ladder, the other stands next to him holding a yellow broom. They are both wearing green Ameren t-shirts and smiling.

 

 

“Ameren Illinois has been a true partner in the growth of MindsEye and our programming.  They truly live their mission To Power the Quality of Life,” said Marjorie Moore, President and CEO of MindsEye.

For more information on audio description services, visit the website at mindseyeradio.org. MindsEye can also be reached at 618-394-6444.

Contact:
Rachel Melton
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
9541 Church Circle Drive
Belleville, IL 62223-1000
Ph: 618-394-6449