Accessibility

All Council programs, services and facilities are fully accessible to all segments of Alabama’s population. Council offices and facilities are barrier free.

Guidelines are available on audiotape from the Alabama State Council on the Arts on our website here. Sign language interpreters and readers are also available. Constituents using TTY services may reach the Council through the Alabama Relay Center by dialing 7-1-1. If there is a problem, please call 1-800-676-3777 (TTY/Voice/ASCII)

In Spanish 1-800-676-4290 (TTY/Voice)

Resources

American Printing House for the Blind (APH) (www.aph.org)
provides materials in a variety of accessible formats, including Braille, large print, audio recordings, computer-readable formats and tactile graphics. This web site includes a searchable database of other providers of alternative-format publications. APH sponsors, InSights, an annual juried art competition for blind and low-vision artists. Recent competition winners are featured on the site.

National Federation of the Blind (www.nfb.org)
National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is an organization created by and for blind individuals. You can search the site for arts related articles.

Alabama Licensure Board for Interpreters and Transliterates – visit the website at www.albit.state.al.us for additional information.

Alabama Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Melvin.Walker@rehab.alabama.gov

Alabama Relay (www.alabamarelay.com)

AXIS Dance Company (www.axisdance.org)
AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities. Founded in 1987, AXIS Dance Company has become a jewel of contemporary dance and disability culture. The company has toured in over sixty cities nationwide, as well as in Europe and Siberia.

Full Radius Dance Company (www.fullradiusdance.org)
Full Radius Dance is a modern dance company that presents mature, choreographically complex works celebrating technique and physicality. The company’s focus is on skill and artistry; that some of the dances use wheelchairs is secondary. Founded in 1990, Full Radius Dance, originally known as Dance Force, Inc. is one of only a handful of physically-integrated dance companies in the United States.

Beyond the AP Stylebook (www.ragged-edge-mag.com)
In 1987, the Associated Press published a list of guidelines for writing about people with disabilities. In the following years, the “Ragged Edge” collected guidelines developed by disability organizations and distilled them into this document.

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities (www.kennedy-center.org/accessibility/education/lead/)

In August of 2000, a small group of cultural arts administrators – all of whom were responsible for accessibility at their respective cultural arts organization – gathered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. to discuss institutional cultural arts and disability issues. While the level of experience among participants ranged from more than 20 years in the field to less than six months on the job, everyone shared one common goal: the desire to create accessible cultural arts programs that are inclusive of people with disabilities and older adults.

That initial group has now grown into a professional network focused on expanding the breadth and scope of accessibility services and programming across the country and around the world. The Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) network:

• explores practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments;

• communicates information about arts and accessibility, and;

• shares resources and knowledge among professionals in the field of accessibility.

LEAD accomplishes its objectives through an annual conference, an active communications network, and resources generated by the LEAD network and maintained by the Kennedy Center.


Ragged Edge (www.ragged-edge.com)
Ragged Edge has been around for over 20 years as a powerful voice from the disability rights movement. Recognizing that the arts are an important means of communication with the disability community and with the outside world, the Edge regularly features book reviews, poetry and the works of major artists with disabilities.

ADA Information Checklist

Increasing audiences by increasing accessibility and meeting ADA rules

General Information on Disabilities

  • What is a disability? A person described as having a disability is a person with a physical, emotional or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities OR a person with a record of such impairment OR a person who is perceived as having such an impairment. “Major life activities” include: thinking, processing information, listening, seeing, hearing, breathing, walking, taking care of personal needs, working, interacting with others, concentrating, sitting, standing, and reading.
  • What is the ADA? The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into effect by Congress on July 26, 1990. The ADA is intended to a “provide clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities.”
  • What is the purpose of the ADA? The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and provides the first comprehensive civil rights to persons with disabilities in the areas of employment; public accommodations; state and local government programs, services and activities; and communications. This includes not just architectural accessibility, but also programmatic accessibility.
  • People-First Language—WORDS CAN HURT. Dignity and respect begin with the language we use to represent ourselves. Always remember, when speaking or writing, put the person first then the disability. EXAMPLE: Person with a disability, as opposed to a disabled person, or even worse, the disabled.
  • ADA and the ARTS—None of us plan an event with the conscious intent of discrimination. We want to involve people in our passion...the arts. Without a conscious awareness of the planning process and an understanding of what “accessibility” means, we could easily exclude a portion of the community. This exclusion is discrimination.

What Does Accessibility Mean?

  • Accessibility enables everyone the opportunity to attend, participate and benefit from the arts. An arts event is accessible if people can get to it and, and once there are able to participate actively in the program. The word accessibility is most often associated with wheelchair use, but accessibility actually involves the needs of people who have visual, cognitive, or hearing disabilities, as well as those with activity manual or mobility impairments.

Adopting an Accessibility Philosophy

  • Accessibility promotes diversity and inclusiveness to ensure that the arts are open to all people, regardless of ability. It is important to realize accessibility is a civil rights issue as well as a social issue.
  • Accessibility benefits the greater population. Remember that the aging process lessens mobility and presents hearing and visual difficulties. EVERYONE will experience a temporary or permanent disability, either personally or with a loved one.
  • Accessibility relates to audience development in the broadest sense and provides people with maximum opportunities to be involved in all aspects of the arts.
  • Accessibility yields economic benefits. Because people with disabilities comprise a significant part of our population, it is a large market for the arts.

Requirements for Accessibility

  • The best source for requirements is the Title III Technical Assistance Manual available from the Department of Justice. (1-800-949-4ADA) or www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/publicat.htm.
  • To evaluate your facilities, you can use the ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities version 2.1 available from the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center at 1-800-949-4ADA. The checklist provides the requirements for numerous elements of accessibility accompanied by suggested solutions for barriers you may identify while completing your evaluations. See the Facility Checklist below.
  • Go through this evaluation process with a committee of interested people who also have expertise in several of the necessary areas (i.e., architects, contractors, representatives from the various “disability communities,” etc.). With this evaluation, the arts management doesn’t have the sole responsibility of convincing their board and others of needed adaptations.
For more information, please call the Accessibility Coordinator at 334/242-4076, ext. 227

Facility Checklist

Building Accessibility

  • Are 96” wide parking spaces designated with a 60” access?
  • Are there accessible parking spaces located near the main building entrance?
  • Is there a “drop off” zone at the building entrance?
  • Is the gradient from parking to building entrance 1:12 or less?
  • Is the entrance doorway at least 32” wide?
  • Is the door handle easy to grasp?
  • Is the door easy to open (less than 8 lbs. of pressure)?
  • Are doors other than revolving doors available?

Building Corridors

  • Is the path of travel free of obstruction and wide enough for a wheelchair?
  • Is the floor surface hard and not slippery?
  • Do obstacles (phones, fountains) protrude no more than 4”?
  • Are elevator controls low enough (48”) to be reached from a wheelchair?
  • Are elevator markings in Braille for the blind?
  • Does elevator provide audible signals for the blind?
  • Does elevator interior provide a turning area of 51” for wheelchair?

Restrooms

  • Are restrooms near building entrances and/or personnel offices?
  • Do doors have lever handles?
  • Are doors at least 32” wide?
  • Is the restroom large enough for wheelchair turnaround (51” minimum)?
  • Are stalls at least 32” wide?
  • Are grab bars provided in toilet stalls?
  • Are sinks at least 30” high with room for a wheelchair to roll under?
  • Are sink handles easily reached and used?
  • Are soap dispensers, towels, etc., no more then 48” from the floor?
  • Are exposed hot water pipes located under sinks wrapped in insulation to avoid injury to those individuals using a wheelchair?

Facilities That Serve the General Public - (Offices, Exhibit Halls, Box Offices, Meeting Spaces)

  • Are doors at least 32” wide?
  • Is the door easy to open?
  • Is the threshold no more than ½” high?
  • Are paths between desks, tables, etc., wide enough for wheelchairs?
  • Do you have a counter that is low enough to serve individuals in wheelchairs?

ASCA Guide to Programs (Audio Version)

The Alabama State Council on the Arts Guide to Programs is available in MP3 audio format. Please click here for the listing.