Disability Awareness Training

Why Create Access to the Arts?

Esref & Sphinx LS

Why create access to the arts for people who are blind or have other disabilities?
We’ll examine the question from five perspectives:

 

 

 

Artists’ Perspective:

Vincent Van Gogh had Glaucoma…

Painting by Van GoghSee a Visual Essay of five paintings by well-known artists who had visual impairments.

After you click on a painting, roll over the painting with your mouse to see a graphic overlay showing how the visual impairment may have affected the artist’s work.

 

Chuck Close’s paintings are in museums around the world

Chuck Close was already a famous and successful artist when he became a wheelchair user.

“I'm very learning-disabled, and I think it drove me to what I'm doing…In fact, my learning disabilities controlled a lot of things. I don't recognize faces, so I'm sure it's what drove me to portraits in the first place.

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Personal Perspective:

Gatekeepers vs. Gate-openers

Dr. Betty Davidson, Exhibition Planner, Museum of Science, Boston, MA
“Probably because I grew up with a disability, yearning to do the simple things that every kid does, I am keenly aware of the gatekeepers of this world. They are everywhere, telling people what they can’t do – what isn’t for them. As adults we can learn to get around them, but children are defenseless…and children with disabilities are surrounded by more gatekeepers than most.

“An inaccessible exhibit is a locked gate. Believe me – it is hurtful and frustrating. I don’t want our profession to be among the gatekeepers. We have the power – and the responsibility – to be gate-openers."

Georgina Kleege, Advice for Museums (2:18)

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Media player icon showing Georgina Kleege

Georgina Kleege, author and U.C. Berkeley English Professor, offers thoughts on blindness for museums to consider in a keynote speech at the Art Beyond Sight conference in October, 2005.

 

Why Accessibility is Important for All (1:24)

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Media player icon showing Carole Gothelf

Carole Gothelf, AHRC-NYC, & Carl Jacobson, National Federation of the Blind, explain why accessibility to art is crucial for both blind and sighted people.

They spoke at an Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month Press Conference in October, 2004.

 

The Value of Exposure to Art and Museums

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Media player icon showing Dr. Betsy Zaborowski

Dr. Betsy Zaborowski, former Executive Director, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, tells a story of visiting a museum with her colleagues.

 

First Person Story: Museum Experiences (1:14)

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Media player icon showing Myra Brodsky

Myra Brodsky, retired New York court clerk on her experiences as a museum visitor.

 

What I Would Like From a Museum (2:06)

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Media player icon showing Sheila Leigland

Sheila Leigland, member of the Montana Association for the Blind, describes what she would like from a museum visit.

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Legal Perspective

Creating access is a legal responsibility, mandated by federal statutes as well as state and local laws, including:

 

 

That’s the letter of the law. But the spirit of the law is that everyone must have equal opportunity to participate fully in the cultural life provided by arts institutions.

 

Matt Sapolin, NYC Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (2:08)

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Media player icon showing Matt Sapolin

Matt Sapolin, New York City Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, describes the Pros and Cons of Minimum Codes in Creating Accessible Facilities.

 

What is equal opportunity to participate?

Based on the equal rights of people with and without disabilities, and considering that the needs of all individuals are equally important, participation in the museum and cultural environment should be:

In the best of all possible worlds, accessibility should be transparent, not “special,” and part of the museum’s overall, universal design.

For more information and assistance with ADA issues, contact your regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers. http://www.adata.org/

Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs) provide public awareness, technical assistance, training, materials, and referrals on the ADA. Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education, the ten Centers are located throughout the country. To reach the Center in your region, call toll-free at V/TTY 800-949-4232. Copies of ADA publications are available at no or reasonable cost.

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Economic Perspective

 

(According to the US 2000 Census)

Museums and other cultural institutions cannot afford to lose, or exclude by omission, this large a group from their audience, staffing or funding base. People with disabilities should be a significant part of your marketing and audience-building efforts.

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Institutional Perspective

 

Accessibility is not just for your general public of museum visitors!

Your museum should be accessible for:
…your employees
…your board of directors
…your funders
…your artists
…museum service providers
…anyone who comes through the doors.

Advice from Museums

Listen to the perspectives of museum Directors, Curators, Educators, and Visitor Services personnel from museums across the country.

Directors

Media player icon showing Kathy Kelsey Foley

Kathy Kelsey Foley, Director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, on Accessibility as a Museum-Wide Initiative

Accessibility – A Director’s Perspective (3:31)

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Media player icon showing Alice Woodson Smith

Alice Woodson Smith, Board Member, Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, on the Role of Board Members and Trustees in Accessibility

Accessibility – The Role of Board Members and Trustees (2:23)

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Curators

Media player icon showing Bob Durdon

Bob Durdon, Curator of Art, Paris Gibson Square Art Museum in Great Falls, Montana, on the Challenge of Presenting Contemporary Art to All.

The Challenge of Presenting Contemporary Art (2:41)

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Media player icon showing Andy McGivern

Andy McGivern, Curator of Art, Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, on How a Smaller Museum Can Accommodate Every Visitor.

How Does a Smaller Museum Present Art for All (1:52)

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Educators

Media player icon showing Mariann Smith

Mariann Smith, Curator of Education, Albright-Know Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, with Advice on How to Start an Accessibility Program.

How to Start – Advice to Museums (1:15)

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Media player icon showing Helena Vidal

Helena Vidal, Director of Education and Public Programs at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, on Why Access is Important For a Smaller Museum.

Accessibility in the Smaller Museum (1:46)

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Media player icon showing Lisa Gross

Lisa Gross, Curator of Education, Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, Great Falls, Montana, on the Challenges and Assets of a Small Museum.

Challenges of the Smaller Museum (2:28)

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Media player icon showing Erin Narloch

Erin Narloch, Curator of Education, Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin, on How Woodson Made Disability Awareness Training a Community-wide Initiative.

Woodson’s Accessibility Program (1:37)

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Visitor Services & Human Resources

Media player icon showing Ellie McKinney

Ellie McKinney, Asst. Director of Visitor Services, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, on Staff Training for Disabilities.

Ellie McKinney, Walker Art Center (1:57)

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Media player icon showing Ellie McKinney

Ellie McKinney, Asst. Director of Visitor Services at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, on Employing a Staff Member in a Wheelchair.

Ellie McKinney, Walker Art Center (3:00)

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Media player icon showing Sheila McGuire

Sheila McGuire, Director of Museum Guide Programs, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, describes the MIA Access Program and its Educational Philosophy and Tour Strategies.

Sheila McGuire, Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2:40)

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These perspectives on accessibility – Artistic, Personal, Legal, Economic, and Institutional – reflect the fundamental change that has occurred in how we think about disability as a universally human and contextual experience.

 

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Disability Awareness Training
  A New Paradigm
  WHO – New Definition of Disability
    Social or Human Rights – New Model
    Accessibility and "Invisible" Disabilities
  Defining Accessibility
  Why Access to the Arts?
    Artists' Perspective
  Personal Perspective
    Legal Perspective
    Economic Perspective
    Institutional Perspective
  Accessibility Skills
    People-first Language
    Disability Stereotypes
    Communication Tips
    Sighted Guide Technique
  Assistive Technologies
    Mobility Accommodations
    Sensory Accommodations
    Cognitive Accommodations
  An Accessible Museum: Universal Design
  Tools For Accessibility
  Practical Exercises
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