Accessibility Resources for Arts Organizations

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:

  • Regular free trainings on accessibility topics, such as DIY ADA Access Planning and Access on A Shoestring. Upcoming events are listed on our online Events Calendar.
  • Grant programs that can assist organizations address a variety of projects related to accessibility, including (but not limited to) supporting arts programs designed for people with disabilities, purchasing adaptive equipment, or hiring a consultant to conduct an accessibility assessment and build an ADA Access Plan.
  • One-on-one assistance from MRAC’s Accessibility Program Director to answer questions about accessibility planning, access services, and more. Connect with Scott at scott@mrac.org or 651-523-6384 to start a conversation and see how we can help.

Accessibility Resources Created by 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 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.

  • DIY ADA Planning Workbook (2020) – 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.
  • How to Use the DIY ADA Planning Workbook(2020) – This supplement to the DIY ADA Planning Workbook gives guidance on how to use the Workbook.
  • Identifying Barriers & Setting Goals (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.

Checklists & Resources

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.

Additional Resources

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.
  • 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.

Accessibility Assessments

Audio Description

  • Audio Description in a Couple Minutes (Rooted in Rights) – Quick video introduction to audio description (sometimes also called verbal description). Captions and transcript available.

Captioning

  • 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.

Disability Awareness

Documents

Language of Disability

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.

Sensory Friendly Programming

Social Media

Ticketing & Seating

Websites

Virtual Participation

General Guides

Webinars

  • 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.
  • 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.

Tools

  • Rev Live Captions – Free 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.

Accessibility at MRAC

For complete details about how we make MRAC’s activities available to people of all abilities, please visit Accessibility at MRAC.
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