Message from the CEO

Browse a collection of messages from Chicago Lighthouse President and CEO Dr. Janet Szlyk on what is happening around The Lighthouse.

Summer 2018 Beam CEO Letter

Dear Friends,
When you visit Chicago’s famed North Michigan Avenue and surrounding areas this summer, you are in for a special treat! You will find more than 50 six-foot tall amazing lighthouse sculptures all along this world famous thoroughfare, better known as the Magnificent Mile®. At first glance, you might associate the lighthouses with Chicago’s status as a nautical city and major Great Lakes port. Upon closer look, however, you will note that these sculptures carry a powerful message of hope and unity that will provide a mind altering experience.

Welcome to Lighthouses on The Mag Mile, a free public art display celebrating access and inclusion for people with disabilities. From now through August 11, you will be wowed by these stunning works of art, which are designed by talented local and national artists, including many people who are disabled.

The Chicago Lighthouse is very proud to present this world class exhibition in partnership with our outstanding Board Member David Huber and his firm, Huber Financial Advisors, LLC, as well as many other visionary individuals and organizations, especially The Magnificent Mile Association®. I want to extend special appreciation to all the sponsors, including many Lighthouse Board Members, and of course, all the artists who have participated.

Among them is a dear friend of The Lighthouse, Jeff Hanson, who has gained international fame for his work, which adorns the homes of the likes of Warren Buffet and Sir Elton John. In fact, Jeff, who is visually impaired, was chosen by Mr. Huber, a long time admirer, to personally design his firm’s lighthouse. Heavy texture and bright colors, which define Jeff’s art, are depicted in his lighthouse. “Sailing Chicago Harbor,” a colorful summer garden surrounding a scenic Lake Michigan lighthouse.

Jeff, 24, is embarking on an ambitious goal to raise $10 million for children’s charities by the time he hits 30. To see samples of his work, visit:

Similar messages of hope and optimism will be reflected in all the other lighthouses as well.

Our intent with this exhibit is to break down barriers and open more doors for people with disabilities. Despite the progress that has been made, much more still needs to be done to ensure full equality. According to national statistics, 70% of Americans with severe disabilities are unemployed.

But for change to happen, each of us must do our part. As you enjoy our lighthouses this summer, ask yourselves, what you can do to create access and inclusion for our fellow citizens with disabilities. We all have a role to play. All of us at The Chicago Lighthouse are beacons. We ask that you become beacons too!

Janet P. Szlyk, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Low Vision Research Laboratory

Research & Publications by Dr. Szlyk

Interviews with Dr. Szlyk

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