Connect with Us
We would love to answer your questions and learn how we can meet your needs related to the accessibility of our website, programs, and services. Please reach out to Carly Newhouse, Program & Accessibility manager, at [email protected] or 612.238.8002.
Our Commitment to Accessibility
At Arts Midwest, accessibility ties into our values of equity, integrity and learning. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability in access to services or programs or in hiring and employment decisions. We work to meet our colleagues’ access needs and continue to improve the accessibility of our work and program environments. We believe that compliance to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is important. Further, we believe creating a culture of access and inclusion goes beyond the ADA.
We strive to embody accessibility in our attitudes, approaches, proactive planning, and design. Our staff bring curiosity and humility to this work. We focus on active learning, conversations, and the relevancy of our set and living goals, and want to be in a space of constant learning and adapting.
Our Commitment in Action
In planning our programs and events, we incorporate and inquire about accessibility needs. We want to create experiences that acknowledge and balance the needs of our communities. We strive to welcome many ways of participation, including:
- Offering hybrid and Zoom events
- Using live automated captioning
- Inviting spoken or written communication
- Providing translation services for non-English speakers
- Assuming a diversity of movement, learning and communication when we gather
We can provide upon request:
- Alternative formats
- Auxiliary aids
- Human generated live captioning
- American Sign Language interpretation
- Written materials in advance
- Other services necessary for everyone to be able to participate
Grants + Programs
- As part of their agreement/contract with our organization, all grantees agree to follow the ADA and 504 regulations.
- Through our Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant, we prioritize projects that feature disabled artists and disability-centered organizations. A past example is Legacy Learning Boone River Valley’s artist-led animation workshop series for autistic young adults.
- For all grant applications, we use an online platform called SmartSimple, unless applicants request another route. SmartSimple has a dedicated Quality Assurance Team and a consultant who helps test usability on a quarterly basis.
- We’ve used other tools for grant applications. That’s looked like: filling out an adapted form in Microsoft Word, taking verbal responses, and providing materials in Braille, Large Print, or other formats with advanced notice.
- In our programs, like We the Many and Community Creativity Cohort, we embrace process over product, close listening and inquiring about access needs throughout the collaborative and programmatic process with our partners and in communities.
Please reach out to begin a conversation about how we can help make a grant or program accessible to you. Contact Carly Newhouse, Program & Accessibility manager, at [email protected] or 612.238.8002.
Visit our Get Support page for more information on opportunities and getting involved.
- Diane Nutting, an accessibility in the arts consultant, led a two-part training with us in April of 2022.
- A few staff met with Americans Graphic Institute (AGI) to learn some best practices in digital and website accessibility.
- Following these sessions, nine of our staff now take part in an internal access working group. We meet monthly to collaborate on making our offerings more accessible.
- We share, develop, and update accessibility resources, ranging from tips on document accessibility to regional contacts for outreach.
Partnerships + Community
- We support our State Arts Agencies in their accessibility efforts and professional development.
- We worked with two disability-led/centered organizations on Ideas Hub pieces to share with our communities. (The Ideas Hub is a collection of free curated articles and tools. It’s intended to simplify complex topics and help creative leaders grow within their organizations).
- Disability Arts Online’s article Embracing the Social Model of Disability for Arts Organizations helps arts and cultural organizations gain a holistic view of disability and tips for building accessible programs and offerings.
- Scott Artley, Accessibility Program Director at Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, wrote Creating an Accessibility Plan for your Arts Organization. It outlines a do-it-yourself approach to plan for access that follows and goes beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- We connect with, learn from, and exchange tools with other regional arts organizations, and arts accessibility advocates through the Minnesota Access Alliance and Access/VSA International Network.
We will continue to shape, build on, and update our progress on the following goals. We will revisit these goals on a quarterly basis:
By end of Summer 2023
- We will launch a new website and brand, with improvements and user testing in accessibility, in December 2022.
- We will document and share findings and goals from our 504 evaluation on this webpage.
- We will gain a better understanding of the accessibility experiences and needs of our communities, and how we can make our offerings more accessible. Through compensated survey and discussion, we will engage with both current and potential program communities, focusing on disabled individuals and disability centered organizations. We aim for this to be a mutually beneficial process and hope to hear from at least 50 organizations. Our staff are starting planning conversations in January 2023 and will share more soon.
By Fall of 2023
- Building on those findings, we will start a compensated access advisory group with interested survey participants and others in our network. This group and Arts Midwest staff will collaborate on identifying how we can better embrace accessibility. The group will represent disabled artists and cultural workers across our region, who have experience and interest in accessibility work, have ties to our programs or communities we work with, and represent a variety of disabilities and other marginalized identities (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+).
- We will add questions to grant applications that aim to gain deeper insights into the accessibility of grantees’ organizations and proposed projects. This will support panelists in prioritizing accessible awards, and further encourage organizations to consider accessibility.
- We seek to build relationships with and learn more about disabled artists and disability led and centered organizations in the Midwest, exploring potential partnerships and other ways of supporting their work and growth.
- We will engage with at least three advocates to facilitate accessibility-focused professional development and resources for our staff, partners, and program communities.