Below are some online resources MRAC staff have compiled to assist MRAC-eligible groups in becoming more accessible to participants of all abilities. Resources are grouped according to topics, and in general we have tried to find resources specific to small arts organizations.
In addition to these online resources, MRAC offers one-on-one assistance from MRAC’s Accessibility Program Director to answer questions about accessibility planning, access services, and more. Connect with Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-523-6384 to start a conversation and see how we can help.
Accessibility Resources from MRAC
The following are resources created by MRAC to assist with organizational planning for accessibility. They are listed from newest to oldest.
DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook
The DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook is designed by Accessibility Program Director Scott Artley based on years of work as an independent consultant and arts leader. The Workbook was developed for arts groups of any size, and works best with organizations that have with sustained activity and leaders working on a regular basis, but would still be useful for one-off projects wishing to consider accessibility as part of their early planning.
An article about accessibility planning and an introduction to the Workbook is available through Arts Midwest’s IdeasHub initiative: Creating an Accessibility Plan for Your Arts Organization.
- DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook – This workbook is created with small arts organizations in mind to craft an ADA Access Plan. Although it could be completed alone, ideally a small group will complete it together. Go through the workbook to develop accessibility policies, articulate current access services, and craft goals for addressing barriers. This workbook is designed to accompany MRAC’s DIY ADA Access Planning workshop, but can be completed independently. See training video below.
- Screen reader-friendly version DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook (PDF, not editable) (v. 2022)
- Screen reader-friendly version DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook (Editable Word DOCX) (v. 2022)
- Original DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook (PDF, not editable) (v. 2020)
- Original DIY ADA Planning Workbook (Editable Word DOCX) (v. 2020) –
- How to Use the DIY ADA Planning Workbook (PDF); How to Use the DIY ADA Planning Workbook (Word DOCX) (2020) – This supplement to the DIY ADA Planning Workbook gives guidance on how to use the Workbook.
- Identifying Barriers & Setting Goals (PDF); Identifying Barriers & Setting Goals (Word DOCX) (2020) – This supplement to the DIY ADA Planning Workbook helps you identify potential barriers to accessing your activities, and develop effective goals to address them. Another handy resource to have while filling out the Workbook.
- Virtual Training Video: DIY ADA Access Planning (on Youtube) (2020) – In this recorded session that was part of the 2020 Cultural Accessibility Conference by Art-Reach, participants will get an introduction to the DIY ADA Access Planning workbook, a tool that kickstarts the process of developing an ADA Access Plan right-fitted for your organization.
Checklists & Resources
- Brief Checkpoints for Access Questionnaire (2016) – This brief assessment helps you identify potential areas to improve access in your organization.
- Arts Accessibility Planning Guide: a self-survey tool for small arts organizations in the seven-county metropolitan area (2016) – An Excel workbook that walks you through a series of questions to pinpoint ways an organization might make its activities more accessible. At the end of the workbook is a tool to assist in developing plans to act on what you found in the assessment.
- Accessibility Resources to Help Involve People with Disabilities in Arts Programs (2016) – A robust list of organizations and best practices for involving people with disabilities in your arts activities.
- Working with American Sign Language Interpreters in Performing Arts (2016) – A comprehensive guide to integrate ASL interpretation into a performance.
ADA Access Plans – samples from Twin Cities arts organizations
An ADA Access Plan (or simply “ADA Plan”) describes an organization’s plan to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, ensuring that people with disabilities can fully participate in and enjoy the activities of the organization.
At MRAC, we believe an ADA Access Plan should:
- Document the current access strategies of the organization (such as hosting activities in physically accessible locations and providing ASL interpretation upon request); and
- Articulate the known accessibility barriers people with disabilities may encounter when attempting to access the organization’s facilities, programs, and services; and
- Indicate a thoughtful plan (activities and timeline) to remove barriers to equal access, whether in the short-term or long-term.
At MRAC, we believe an ADA Access Plan is not:
- Solely a nondiscrimination or accessibility policy.
- Simply a list of current access strategies without plans to address additional barriers.
An ADA Access Plan will always be specific to a group and its needs, and may take many forms. A strong plan should be scaled appropriately to the organization’s size, population served, and experience with addressing accessibility. Above all else, it should be a useful roadmap to take action. The organizations listed below have agreed to make their ADA Access Plans available as examples of plans. Please note some of these are first-time efforts and all are constantly evolving, so consider these a snapshot of accessibility planning.
- Alive & Kickin ADA Access Plan (PDF) / Alive and Kickin ADA Access Plan (DOCX)
- Art Shanty Projects Access Plan (PDF)
- Cow Tipping Press Accessibility Plan (PDF)
- Lightning Rod ADA Plan (PDF)
- Twin Cities Ballet ADA Access Plan (PDF)
- Young Dance ADA Access Plan (PDF)
These resources are ones we’ve found useful in our work at MRAC. We’ve tended toward providing resources that are tactical (you can take action on them right away), and have generally preferred non-commercial websites. Another excellent compilation of resources is available from the Minnesota Access Alliance on their MNAA Resources page. Please Contact Us if you have other resources to share or if you find a broken link.
General Introduction & Guidance
- Accessibility in the Arts: A Promise and A Practice (Carolyn Lazard) – A general accessibility guide geared toward small-scale arts nonprofits. Presented in high-contrast large print text, and available as downloadable PDF and as an MP3 audio file.
- Disability Justice Resource Directory (Creative Freedom Movements) – A comprehensive resource introducing Disability Justice, a “movement which focused on examining disability and ableism as they relate to other forms of oppression and identity such as race, class and gender.”
- Disability Justice Dreaming Learnings – A collection of memes and brief resources about Disability Justice.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN) – A resource focused on employment but full of helpful information to understand specific strategies to provide accommodations for all kinds of disabilities.
- Crossing That Bridge: A Guide to Making Literary Events Accessible to Deaf & Hard-Of-Hearing (Morgan Grayce Willow) – A 70-page book. From publisher: “Though Crossing that Bridge specifically addresses organizers of literary events (such as poetry readings, author signings, and storytellings), it is also a useful toolkit for anyone who interprets or attends these events. Included are practical suggestions, explanations, diagrams, checklists, references, and resources guaranteed to help literary readings or events for deaf and hard-of-hearing run smoothly.”
- Disability as Diversity Programming Toolkit (Southwest ADA Center Regional Affiliate – Arkansas) – A series of interactive presentations about various disability topics that can be presented to groups interested in exploring disability as part of their IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Accessibility) work.
- ADA Self Assessment Survey (Cultural Access Network Project)
- ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities (Institute for Human Centered Design) – Based on the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design
- Audio Description in a Couple Minutes (Rooted in Rights) – Quick video introduction to audio description (sometimes also called verbal description). Captions and transcript available.
- Image Description Resources (National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH [NCAM]) – A comprehensive resource with guidance on how to describe images, including complex images like graphs. This resource is largely focused on education, but is applicable to all fields where image descriptions are used.
- Cooper Hewitt Guidelines for Image Description (Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum) – In-depth guidance on image descriptions for artworks. This resource is most valuable for visual arts and other contexts in which the visual medium is the primary focus.
- Caption in a Couple Minutes (Rooted in Rights) – Quick video introduction to captioning (sometimes also referred to as CART services). Captions and transcript available.
- Captioning/CART in the Performing Arts (Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning) – An introduction to captioning (how is it different from subtitles? what is closed vs open captioning?), and resources for companies offering technology solutions.
- Quick tips for serving customers with disabilities (ADA National Network)
- Tips On Interacting With People With Disabilities – Online booklet for anyone who wants to interact more effectively with people with disabilities.
- Disability Sensitivity Training Video (DC Government) – A quick and effective call to action for disability awareness, including brief tips on best practices in how to interact with people with disabilities. This video is a top resource for many groups.
- Accessibility Training Video (MoMA)
- At Your Service (Mid-Atlantic ADA Center) – 2-minute preview and 20-minute full training.
- I’m Tyler – Cerebral palsy ability awareness training.
- Disabling segregation: Dan Habib at TEDxAmoskeagMillyard
- Bridging the Gap for Children with Disabilities (National Inclusion Project)
- Disability Visibility Project – An online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture.
- ADA 30 in Color (Disability Visibility Project) – An online anthology about the intersections of race and disability as the Americans with Disabilities act reaches its 30th anniversary.
- Accessible Word Document Training (Minnesota IT Services) – Interactive training module on making Word/Google Docs accessible.
- Accessible Electronic Documents (Minnesota IT Services) – Resource modules on making electronic documents accessible, including Word Documents, PDFs, InDesign, Powerpoint, & Excel.
- Font Face (Penn State Accessibility) – Clear guidance and examples of accessible fonts for digital and print.
Language of Disability
- Communicating With and About People with Disabilities (Center for Disease Control) – A poster with a quick guide of terms to use.
- Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities (ADA National Network) – A more comprehensive guide (but still brief) guide to language about disability, including the use of euphemisms, offensive language, and appropriate ways to frame disability respectfully.
- Disability Language Style Guide (National Center on Disability & Journalism) – Published in 2021, the newest guidelines for how to write about people with disabilities.
Meetings & Events
- A Guide to Planning Accessible Meetings (Mid-Atlantic ADA Center and TransCen, Inc.) – A thorough but not-overwhelming guide to making events. Meetings, and conferences accessible. Tips on site selection, registration, room layouts, tips for presenters, and more.
- Accessible Meetings (Minnesota IT Services) – Resource modules with tips on making meetings accessible, including planning, conference calls, video conferences, and in-person presentations.
- Guidelines for Accessible Presentations (Museum Arts Culture Access Consortium)
Organizations with Additional Resources
- ADA Minnesota – ADA Minnesota is a resource providing Minnesota citizens with disabilities, businesses, communities, government, universities and colleges assistance in implementing the ADA. It is the local chapter of the ADA National Network.
- Great Lakes ADA Center – The Center provides information, materials, technical assistance and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). ADA Minnesota is the local affiliate for this umbrella organization.
- Simon Technology Center (PACER Center) – The Simon Technology Center is dedicated to making the benefits of technology more accessible to children and adults with disabilities. Individualize training and workshops on adaptive technology, a lending library, and online learning resources.
Promoting to Disability Audiences
- Accessible Arts Calendar (Minnesota Access Alliance) – This is the go-to resource for arts and culture patrons with disabilities to find accessible arts and culture programming in Minnesota. Organizations can list their events that include access services to the calendar by creating an account and submitting an online form.
- Disability Access Symbols – The Graphic Artists Guild provides a free package of downloadable logos to use in publicizing your activities to people with disabilities. Their page also explains what the symbols stand for and when it is appropriate to use each one.
- Accessible Icon Project – An ongoing work of design activism promoting the use of an updated disability access symbol of a person actively using a wheelchair. This symbol is sometimes preferred to the image of a static person in a wheelchair. Download the symbol for free use.
Sensory Friendly Programming
- Relaxed Performances: The Nuts and Bolts of Offering Sensory-Friendly Experiences to Your Audience (Howlround)
- What Goes Into Creating a Sensory Friendly Performance? (Children’s Theatre Company)
- Accessible Social Media (University of Minnesota Accessibility Office)
- Tips for effective, accessible social media use and outreach (Minnesota IT Services)
Ticketing & Seating
- Guidance on ADA regulations for ticketing and wheelchair seating (ADA National Network)
- Website Accessibilty Audits (University of Minnesota Accessibility Office)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) (World Wide Web Consortium)
- Web & Apps: Design websites and applications so they’re accessible to everyone (Minnesota IT Services)
- Accessibility: Image Alt text best practices (Guðrún Gústafsdóttir)
- Alternative text guidance (WebAIM)
- Font Face (Penn State Accessibility) – Clear guidance and examples of accessible fonts for digital and print.
- 7 Ways to Make Your Virtual Programs More Accessible to Patrons with Disabilities (Programming Librarian, American Library Association) – Quick guide to ways you can make your events more accessible, most of which are free.
- Resources to Help Ensure Accessibility of Your Virtual Events for People with Disabilities (National Endowment for the Arts) – Introductory guidance on accessibility considerations and links to resources for virtual activities. Primarily in list format.
- How to Make Your Virtual Meetings and Events Accessible to the Disability Community (Alaina Leary, Rooted in Rights) – Clear tactic-focused guidance on virtual accessibility for before, during, and after your event, with links to other excellent resources to dive deeper.
- When Non-Disabled People Get Accommodations, Who Benefits? Things to think about as we work remotely (Carrie Basas and Erin Okuno, Fakequity) – Blog post describing accessibility considerations for remote working, including mental health and . Primarily in narrative format.
- How to Produce a Livestreamed Event (Vijay Mathew, Howlround) – Detailed guidance on the technical aspects of livestreaming an event, including captioning, for someone with access to Zoom Pro and livestream.com accounts.
- Accessibility Tips for a Better Zoom/Virtual Meeting Experience (Christian Vogler [Director, Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University], Deaf/Hard of Hearing Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center) – Detailed guidance on conducting online meetings to accommodation people who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
- Leading Accessible Virtual Programs (Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium) – A 90-minute webinar with strategies for making virtual events, meetings, and other activities accessible to people with disabilities.
- Additional resources from the webinar – A Google Drive folder containing resources related to the webinar, including presenter bios and the presentation slide deck.
- Connecting Everyone: Creating Accessible Virtual Arts Programs (Seattle Cultural Accessibility Consortium)- A webinar created by the Seattle Cultural Accessibility Consortium and hosted by Rooted in Rights. It features a slide presentation from Founder, Elizabeth Ralston on getting started with virtual accessibility and a moderated discussion by Kathy Hsieh of the Office of Arts and Culture with actors Mickey Rowe and Helen Marion.
- Additional resources from the webinar – A Google Drive folder containing resources related to the webinar, including the transcript, chat log, tip sheet, and slide deck.
- Zoom Live Transcription – Information about captioning in Zoom. As February 2021, Zoom says it plans to release automated captioning (which it calls Live Transcription) to all users, and is available by request until then.
- Rev Live Captions – Monthly paid Zoom app that automatically captions your Zoom meetings to make remote education and work more effective. Please note this does not work for Zoom’s webinar version.
- How to Participate in the 5-13-20 Workshop (Seattle Cultural Accessibility Consortium) – A two-page document with tips on how to participate in the “Connecting Everyone” webinar listed above. These kinds of tip sheets are great to include in materials going out to participants ahead of time.