Universal Access & the Arts
Office of Raleigh Arts
Raleigh is a community connected through arts and culture, where every person is empowered to lead the creative life they envision. - Raleigh’s Creative Life Vision
To realize Raleigh’s Creative Life Vision, one of the key strategies is to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in the arts. The Raleigh Arts Plan echoes the Creative Life Vision with a goal that Raleigh become a national model for arts accessibility and inclusion for Deaf and disability communities. Universal Access & the Arts comprises initiatives developed to achieve that goal.
Betty Siegel Universal Access & the Arts Award
The Betty Siegel Universal Access & the Arts Award recognizes the substantial achievements of Arts Learning Community for Universal Access members who complete all three years of the program.
Honorees have successfully improved the accessibility of their organizations through multiple projects and initiatives over the years. They are also recognized as arts community resources, sharing their knowledge and engaging their arts and cultural peers, as well as others, around the topic of accessibility in the arts.
2018 Award Honorees
- Jamie Katz Court - PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music
- Julia Meder - Sertoma Arts Center
- Gab Smith - CAM Raleigh
- Megan Sullivan - Artspace
Arts Learning Community for Universal Access
In 2015 the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County partnered on a new initiative to increase the engagement of people with disabilities in the arts. The Arts Learning Community for Universal Access consists of arts and cultural organizations that collaborate to advocate for and improve access to the arts for Deaf and disability community members.
- Arts Access represented by Betsy Ludwig*
- Arts Together represented by Carly Jones, Meg Revelle* & Stephen Wall*
- Artspace represented by Megan Sullivan*
- Cary Arts Center represented by Sarah Preston
- CAM Raleigh represented by Jaclyn Bowie & Gab Smith*
- El Pueblo represented by Cecilia Saloni
- International Focus represented by Ella Fang
- Marbles Kids Museum represented by Jordan Pearce
- North Carolina Arts Council represented by Emily Catherine Mealor
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences represented by Liani Yirka
- NCSU Gregg Museum represented by Dan Ellison & Hilary Leggette
- NC State University Theatre represented by Mia Self
- Office of Raleigh Arts represented by Sarah Corrin*
- PineCone represented by Jamie Katz Court* & Courtney Wheeler
- Raleigh Little Theatre represented by Meredyth Pederson Cooper
- Sertoma Art Center represented by Julia Meder*
- United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County represented by Ragen Carlile*
- Visual Art Exchange represented by Brandon Cordrey*
- Wake Forest Renaissance Centre represented by Cathy Gouge
*Founding members of the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access
2018-2019 Arts Learning Community for Universal Access
What does it mean for an arts organization to include people with disabilities in its programming? While arts organizations are increasing their accommodations, they still face obstacles to making improvements and have questions about the what, why, and how of getting things done.
To support these efforts, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County have partnered for a fourth year to offer arts and cultural organizations the opportunity to join the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access.
2018-2019 Arts Learning Community for Universal Access Members
- Arts Together - Kari Martin Hollinger
- Artspace - Brett Morris
- El Pueblo - Cecilia Saloni
- Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University - Jessica Kay Ruhle & Myra Weise
- North Carolina Museum of Art - Melissa Roth
- North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission - Liani Yirka
- North Carolina Symphony - Sarah Baron
- North Carolina Theatre - Donna Mullins
- NCSU Gregg Museum of Art & Design - Dan Ellison & Hilary Leggette
- PineCone - Courtney Wheeler
- Raleigh Little Theatre - Fidel Benton
- Wake Forest Renaissance Centre - Cathy Gouge
- Women's Theatre Festival - Johannah Maynard
Arts Learning Community for Universal Access Application Process
The Arts Learning Community for Universal Access is a yearlong program that brings together like-minded arts and cultural administrators who want to improve how inclusive their organizations are of the Deaf community and people living with disabilities. The program runs July through June, and the application process generally takes place in the spring.
To participate in this program, applicants must be located within Wake County and be a nonprofit exempt from federal and state income tax as either (1) a charitable organization with 501(c)(3) designation by the Internal Revenue Service with established arts programming or (2) a unit of municipal government. (Interested organizations located outside of Wake County should contact Sarah Corrin to discuss their situation.)
The 2018-2019 Learning Community application cycle has closed. The 2018-2019 application form and guidelines posted below are for reference only until information about the 2019-2020 application process is posted in April 2019.
2018-2019 Arts Learning Community Guidelines & Application Form.
Universal Access & the Arts Day 2018
Intersections - Technology, Access and the Arts
Thursday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Join the Office of Raleigh Arts and the Raleigh Arts Commission for the third annual Universal Access & the Arts Day.
This day-long event highlights trends and best practices in the arts for engaging deaf and disability communities. This year’s event focuses on new and innovative uses for technology in the accessibility field. From cell phone apps to iPads, to crowdsourced web content, 3D-printing, and more, technology is revolutionizing how people engage with the arts.
Internationally recognized inclusive design expert Sina Bahram will deliver the keynote address and lead an afternoon session on digital access projects he has worked on with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and New York City’s Cooper Hewitt Museum.
FULL-DAY COST: $35 (includes networking lunch)
HALF-DAY\MORNING SESSIONS ONLY COST: FREE!
LOCATION: Raleigh Convention Center, 500 South Salisbury Street
Click here to register online.
The presentation is presented by the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and Sponsored by the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau
ABOUT SINA BAHRAM North Carolina native Sina Bahram is an accessibility consultant, researcher, speaker, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Prime Access Consulting, an accessibility firm whose clients include both private and nationally-funded museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Andy Warhol Museum, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, among others. When not working with museums, Prime Access Consulting’s clients include technology startups, research labs and Fortune-1000 companies.
In 2012, Mr. Bahram was recognized as a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for his work enabling users with disabilities to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. In 2015, the international accessibility community recognized Sina as an Emerging Leader in Digital Accessibility at the annual Knowbility Community Heroes of Accessibility Awards. In 2017, Mr. Bahram served as the invited co-chair of the 2017 Museums and the Web conference.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU FULLY PARTICIPATE?
All facilities for this event are wheelchair accessible. The City will provide audio description, captioning, and American Sign Language interpretation. The Office of Raleigh Arts is committed to making our programs accessible to everyone. If you require an additional accommodation or service to fully participate, please contact Sarah Corrin or call 919-996-4686 at least two weeks prior to the event. If an accommodation would be helpful and the lead time is less than two weeks, please let us know so we can make every effort to help you fully participate.
ABOUT THE SESSIONS
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. ADAtude
Join the members of the 2017-2018 Arts Learning Community for Universal Access for a brief survey course on accessibility in the arts. Topics to be covered include how to start an accessibility program within an arts organization; ADAtude training (aka customer service); accessibility at festivals and outdoor events; and an introduction to sensory friendly programming.
10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Welcoming the Widest Possible Audience
In his keynote address Sina Bahram will make the case for accessibility and inclusive design by diving into the innovative technology approaches currently in use by arts and cultural organizations around North America. Additionally, Sina will review the seven principles of universal design and demonstrate how they empower organizations to become relevant in the 21st century to the widest possible audience. He will cover such cutting-edge trends as 3D-printed tactile replicas, accessible touch screens, GPS- and Beacon-based wayfinding apps, and guided audio description. He will also introduce participants to the Coyote platform, an online workflow tool he developed for Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, to crowdsource, edit and share visual artwork descriptions.
A free, catered, networking lunch will be provided to participants.
1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Sharing the Stories that Images Tell
In this hands-on session learn about the innovative best practices that came out of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCA) Coyote Project and the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s new accessible labels app, both developed by Sina Bahram. Through the Coyote Project, MCA crowdsourced descriptions for the artwork shown on its website. By recognizing image descriptions as content for all visitors, the museum moved the needle beyond accessibility to radical inclusion. Sighted visitors reading descriptions of images also connected with artwork in ways previously unimagined. Bahram’s current Cooper Hewitt Museum project, developed for the exhibition The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, tackles radical inclusion using a different approach – an app to make exhibition content more inclusive to a wider audience than ever before.
1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Universal Program Design
There is no such thing as a “typical” museum visitor. Visitors are a diverse group, and included among them are people with and without disabilities. Developing educational experiences that meet the needs of this diverse population can be a challenge. This session will provide guidance and increase understanding for universal design of educational and interpretive programs. Participants will have an opportunity to delve into the thought process behind and work through the how-to’s of designing and presenting an activity for all audiences. Presenter: Liani Yirka, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission & former NC Museum of Natural Sciences Accessibility & Inclusion Coordinator
3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The “i’s” of Access – iPads, iPhones, iBeacons and More
Join SAS Institute’s Senior Manager for Accessibility and Applied Assistive Technology to dive into the built-in accessibility features of Apple's iOS interface. Learn how to leverage iPod, iPhones and iPads as teaching tools for all audiences. Then explore a collaborative project that developed innovative uses for iBeacons as mechanisms for improving spatial navigation for visually impaired visitors to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.
3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Off the Record
Have a burning question you always wanted to ask about accessibility but were too afraid to ask? Bring all the questions you ever wanted to ask around accessibility and inclusive design to this session and ask Sina Bahram “off the record.” This is a no-judgement safe space to ask questions about accessibility practices and inclusive design in cultural organizations, be they super basic, extremely technical, or high level.
For more information about this event, contact Arts Grant Director Sarah Corrin.