The National Endowment for the Arts' Office for Accessibility is the advocacy-technical assistance arm of the Arts Endowment to make the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people living in institutions. The Office works in a myriad of ways to accomplish its goals, such as:
- Providing technical assistance to individuals and organizations in the following areas: to open existing programs and make the arts fully accessible to people with disabilities, older adults, and people living in institutions; and to comply with the Endowment's Section 504 Regulations and the Americans with Disabilities Act;
- Initiating cooperative projects with other federal agencies and nonprofit groups to better educate professionals serving older and disabled people concerning access issues and the value and benefits of arts programming;
- Encouraging and assisting more support for addressing the needs of older and disabled Americans through the Endowment's divisions and through state and national groups concerned with the arts and with underserved populations;
- Assisting applicants and grantees with project development that involve the targeted groups; and
- Organizing/convening panels, seminars, and workshops for Endowment staff, its grantees, as well as other federal agencies.
Projects and Partnerships
The Office of Accessibility develops a wide range of partnerships with the public and private sectors, including:
- The Arts Endowment's leadership initiative to educate designers, schools of design, and others on Universal Design continues to advance. This design process goes beyond "special accommodations" to incorporate features that may be used by everyone at all stages of life. This initiative includes a 2001 collection of 32 universal exemplars in the five major design fields on CD-Rom developed by the Center for Universal Design in Raleigh, NC (http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/). On October 2-3, 2003, the Endowment convened a Universal Design Meeting in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education/ NIDRR that brought together experts from academia, the design field, consumer groups, and government agencies to develop recommendations for future funding priorities that would broaden knowledge and encourage the practice of universal design. For a report on this meeting, see the Endowment's Web site: ud/contents.html.
- A national database on Arts Programs Involving Older Americans was created by
and is posted on the National Center for Creative Aging's (NCCA) Web site: http://www.creativeaging.org. This unique database profiles a wide variety of arts programs across the country with contact information to encourage networking among the arts and aging fields. Contact the NCCA at (718) 398-3870 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
- Arts in Healthcare On March 19-20, 2003, the Arts Endowment and the Society for the Arts in Healthcare (SAH) convened a first ever symposium that brought together forty experts in medicine, the arts, social services, media, business, and government to develop a strategic plan for advancing cultural programming in healthcare across the United States. Participants developed recommendations and policies for infusing the arts and humanities into healthcare - recommendations that will serve as guidelines for the NEA and SAH, as well as other agencies in business, health, the arts, social services, and government. The concept paper, which provides background information and examples of programs, and the meeting report are posted on the SAH Web site, as well as the NEA Web site.
- Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities In partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, Health & Human Services, and the Social Security Administration, this initiative began in June 14-16, 1998 with a National Forum on Careers in the Arts at the John F. Kennedy Center where 300 participants focused on training, funding, and jobs. Currently, a mentorship program that sponsors artists and arts administrators with
disabilities, is supported in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of Education. For more info, contact the Kennedy Center at http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org. Further, a series of state-wide forums on Careers in the Arts are supported with VSA arts and organized by UCLA's National Arts and Disabilities Center (for more information, visit http://nadc.ucla.edu/).
Publications developed by this office include:
- Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrators Handbook (an update of the Endowment's Arts and 504 Handbook) provides information on making cultural programs fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. The publications may be obtained from the Accessibility Coordinator at your state or regional arts council or downloaded from the NEA Web site at www.arts.gov. It may be purchased from NASAA (202) 347-6352) or ordered through their Web site at http://www.nasaa-arts.org/publications/design_access.shtml
- The Disabilities Access Symbols Project, developed with the Graphic Artists Guild Foundation, is a graphics package of 12 major access symbols on computer disk designed to help organizations better advertise their accessible programs and facilities. The symbols are available in IBM or Macintosh formats and as camera-ready slicks. Contact the Graphic Artists Guild, 90 John St., Suite 403, New York, NY 10038, (212) 791-3400 or FAX (212) 791-0333. The cost is $12.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. The symbols can also be downloaded from the Graphic Artists Guild Web site at http://www.gag.org/resources/das.php.
- The Accessible Museum was published jointly with the American Association of Museums and the Institute of Museum Services in 1993. It profiles programs that are access models in 19 museums. The book is available for $35 to members. Their newest publication, Everyone's Welcome: The ADA & Museums, shows how to make collections fully accessible and is $25 for members. Order both from the American Association of Museums Bookstore, 1575 Eye Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 289-9127.
- Arts Accessibility Checklist that outlines major access accommodations to assist organizations in making their facilities and programs fully accessible. Contact your state arts agency's 504/ ADA Coordinator or our office for a copy. The Arts Accessibility Checklist is available in pdf format.
National Endowment for the Arts
Office for Accessibility
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20506
(202) 682-5532 / 5733 (V)
(202) 682-5715 (Fax)
(202) 682-5496 (TTY)
Web site: http://www.arts.gov