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The Colorful History of The Seeing Eye

A section of the completed mural that depicts instructors training dogs and dogs with people who are blind.

Sighted visitors to The Seeing Eye will have a colorful welcome – a mural covering the walls of the visitor’s entrance outside the Morris Frank Room and the Dorothy Harrison Eustis Lounge. Those who can’t see the mural – or can’t make it to campus – can experience it courtesy of an audio-described video, narrated by artist Caren Frost-Olmsted.

“After a visit to Randolph Middle School, we saw the mural that was done there. There are three Seeing Eye puppies in the mural, and that gave us the idea that we should do one here,” said Davida Isaacson, The Seeing Eye’s senior philanthropic adviser, who served as chair of the mural committee.
“What’s great about this space is it is frequented by the public as they come for visits to The Seeing Eye, as well as for elections,” as The Seeing Eye serves as a polling place for area residents, Davida said.

The project was funded in part by the New Jersey Council of the Arts via Morris Arts, an organization that provides a number of programs designed to build community through the arts. Benjamin Moore & Company supplied all the paint for the project, and from Randolph Middle School, where it all began, students from the Pet Awareness With Smiles (P.A.W.S.) club raised money to pay for painting supplies.

Thirty Randolph Middle School students come to campus to help paint the mural, under the guidance of Caren and her assistants, Peggy Doyle and Patrick Healy, along with Seeing Eye staff and trustees; volunteers from Benjamin Moore & Company, Morris Arts, and Wyndham; and graduates of The Seeing Eye.

Morris Arts put The Seeing Eye in connection with Caren, who has created more than 100 murals in schools and other facilities throughout the area and beyond – “from Dallas, Texas, to Buffalo, New York,” Caren said.

“The highlight for me was getting to know all of the people that work at The Seeing Eye, and getting to illustrate the story and the history of a really special organization,” Caren said. “And a major highlight for me was getting to paint with people who are blind. That was a first for me.”

The artist taped off the area to be painted, so the graduate could feel with his or her other hand the outline of what was being painted. “They did wonderful,” Caren said. “It was really special for all of us.”

Click here for an audio described version of the mural.

Click here to view a walkthrough video with artist Caren Frost Olmsted.