Accessibility Statement + Policy
Arts Midwest believes the exchange of ideas and creative experiences inspires curiosity and understanding, and that inclusion of people with disabilities in our work improves this exchange and is required to be a just organization.
We believe that accessibility begins with our proactive attitude and approach. In our planning, we place a priority on universal design principles. Arts Midwest is eager to provide accommodations for people with disabilities in our employment, programs, and services, including but not limited to accessibility technology, alternative methods of communication, physical accommodations, and flexibility in our practices.
Arts Midwest inquires about accessibility needs and provides upon request, alternative formats, auxiliary aids, and services necessary for people with disabilities to participate in our programs and services, whether as artists, audience, or employees.
All grantees and partners in programs agree to comply with the ADA and 504 regulations as part of their agreement/contract with our organization.
Questions? Please contact our Program & Accessibility Manager Carly ([email protected])
At Arts Midwest, it’s important to us that our website is accessible to everyone. We are committed to the ongoing process of making our website usable by all.
Our website currently meets Level A/AA of WCAG. We include alt text and image descriptions for photos and graphics, strive to use screen reader friendly formatting, and use direct and plain language as possible.
Arts Midwest looks forward to launching a new website in 2022 which will allow for greater accessible design.
We’re always open to hearing about your experiences, ideas and needs with website access. If any part of our website is not accessible for you, please feel free to reach out to Carly Newhouse, Program & Accessibility Manager, at [email protected] or 612-238-8002.
Federal + State Laws
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the U.S., shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. 504 compliance is required for employers, agencies, businesses, organizations and programs that receive Federal financial assistance.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment (Title I), state and local government services (Title II), places of public accommodation, and commercial facilities (Title III). Places of public accommodation include but are not limited to: small and large businesses, non-profits, for-profits, churches, clubs, and groups.
The ADA extends requirements of Section 504 to:
- All activities of state and local government under Title II
- Places of public accommodation and commercial facilities operated by private entities, including places of “public display or collection,” such as museums, under Title III
- Cultural groups operated by state or local governments are covered under Title II
- Title III covers cultural groups operated by private entities as places of public accommodation, even if they do not receive federal funds
- Places of public accommodation that are also recipients of federal financial assistance must comply with requirements of both Title III of the ADA and Section 504
- ADA Information
- Website Accessibility Under Title II of the ADA
- Accessibility Laws and Compliance Standards – resources compiled by National Endowment for the Arts
Accessibility laws may vary by state. For more information about accessibility laws in each state, and provisions made by state arts agencies in our region, please contact your state arts agency accessibility coordinator directly.
Organizations + Government Agencies Devoted to Accessibility
This is a non-exhaustive list of local, regional, national, and international organizations and government agencies devoted to accessibility work.
- Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTAC) – A network of regional centers funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, that provide information, materials, technical assistance, and training on the ADA.
- Great Lakes ADA Center – Serving the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
- Great Plains ADA Center – Serving the state of Iowa.
- Rocky Mountain ADA Center – Serving the states of North Dakota and South Dakota.
- Kennedy Center – Information on the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) Conference.
- National Arts and Disability Center – Featuring resources aimed at artists with disabilities, arts organizations, and arts administrators, a comprehensive site that includes extensive information on assistive devices, services and products.
- Minnesota Access Alliance – MN Access Alliance is led by a group of arts and cultural administrators focused on knowledge and resource sharing around accessibility.
- Chicago Cultural Access has a mission to empower Chicago’s cultural spaces to become more accessible to visitors with disabilities. They facilitate a dynamic community of cultural administrators and people with disabilities to remove barriers in cultural organizations. They offer professional development and free webinars, equipment loans, and an access calendar which promotes accessible events in the Chicago region.
- Metropolitan Regional Arts Council improves arts access for communities in the seven county metropolitan area in MN through support to artists and organizations. Check out their grant resources.
- Disability Arts Online is an organization led by disabled people set up to advance disability arts and culture through their online journal and platform.
Accessibility Resources for Organizations + Individuals
As arts and cultural organizations aiming to offer inclusive and creative experiences to all, it’s our responsibility to understand and eliminate barriers to access these experiences. This page is designed to help you find resources for making your programming, services, and communications more accessible.
Handbooks + Checklists
Use these tools to assess barriers, plan, and take specific steps to increase access for people with disabilities.
- DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook created by Scott Artley, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Workbook and supplemental materials available at this webpage in Word and PDF form.
- Checklist for Existing Facilities – Downloadable PDF document to assess your accommodations for people with disabilities.
- Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook – A downloadable handbook created by the National Endowment for the Arts to provide guidance on making access an integral part of an organization’s staffing, mission, budget, and programs.
- Section 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook – Provided by the National Endowment for the Arts for organizations to evaluate their current state of accessibility of programs and activities.
- Accessibility Regulations Tip Sheet – A tip sheet from the NEA with information about 2010 revisions to ADA Regulations.
- 12 Step Plan to Access – Prepared and shared by Deborah Lewis from the ELA Foundation.
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – Guidelines and checklist for Web developers to use in making websites accessible to persons with disabilities, provided by the World Wide Web Consortium.
- The ADA National Network Disability Law Handbook(new-window): A broad overview of rights and obligations under federal disability laws.
- Guide to Accessible Meetings, Events, & Conferences(new-window): This extensive guide covers site selection, pre-event activities, physical and audio-visual considerations, food service, personal assistants and service animals, tips for presenters and attendees, and emerging promising practices.
- Guide to Sensory-Friendly and Accessible Event Planning: This easy-to-digest guide from Le Jardin goes over tips for planning accessible in-person and virtual events, taking into account a variety of disability experiences.
- Disability Language Style Guide(new-window): A style guide to help people use the correct language when talking about individuals living with disabilities. Created by the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
- Creating an Accessibility Plan for your Organization: This resource, written by Scott Artley, Accessibility Program Director at Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, walks through creating and implementing an access plan for your organization, based off their DIY ADA Access Planning Workbook.
Tools + Resources
This section lists information on accessibility tools, resources, and organizations to contact.
- Image Description Resources: Guidelines, webinars, and training for image descriptions provided by NCAM.
- Accessibility Image Alt Text Best Practices: Tips for image alt text provided by Siteimprove.
- Font face: Recommendations for accessible font face and style provided by Penn State University.
- Social Media: Tips on accessible social media usage provided by the University of Minnesota.
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1: All federal agencies and contractors must comply with WCAG 2.1 A/AA.
- WCAG Checklist: easy to follow WCAG checklist created by The A11Y Project.
- Accessible Electronic Documents: A webpage on creating accessible electronic documents provided by Minnesota IT Services.
- Accessibility guide for businesses: Best practices for compliance in-person and online: An easy-to-understand guide from Lytics that focuses on how to make sure your website meets ADA and WCAG standards.
Virtual Programming + Webinars
- Accessible meetings: Tips on ensuring accessibility of your meetings, conference calls, and more provided by Minnesota IT Services.
- Resources to Help Ensure Accessibility for Your Virtual Events for People With Disabilities: Provided by National Endowment for the Arts.
- How to Make Your Virtual Meetings and Events Accessible to the Disability Community: Resource from Rooted in Rights on making your virtual meetings and events accessible. Touches on what access may look like for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Leading Accessible Virtual Programs: Recorded webinar from Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium. Captioned and audio described.
- Video accessibility guide for content creators and viewers: Adobe’s guide to making videos accessible, including tips on: live captioning, accessible platforms, transcript, and more.
Audio Description, Transcripts, Live Captioning, ASL
- Video Captions in a Couple Minutes: A 2-minute video from Rooted in Rights that describes video captions.
- Audio Description in a Couple Minutes: A 2-minute video from Rooted in Rights that describes audio description.
- Zoom closed captioning and live transcription: Resource for managing closed captioning and live transcription in Zoom.
- Captioning/CART in the Performing Arts: Resource from Captioning Activism and Community on live captioning in the performing arts.
- Rev.com is a live captioning, post-production captioning, and transcription company.
- CADET is a Caption and Description Editing tool that is FREE for download and use for post-production needs and audio-description scripts.
- Find an ASL interpreter in Minnesota
- Veritext: a captioning company based in Minneapolis.
- Transcripts: in making audio and video media accessible: This W3C webpage describes what transcripts are, knowing when your media could use them, the process of transcribing, and some examples.
- Equipment Loans Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium offers equipment loans to organizations based in the Chicago area.
- APA Medical Equipment Rental: Mobility equipment rental resource based in Minneapolis, MN.
- Wheelchair Etiquette:. Tips for wheelchair etiquette provided by Adaptive Living Guide.
Awareness + Communication
In striving for accessibility, it’s crucial to understand what makes our communications inclusive and welcoming, from in-person to digital and in between.
- Disability Etiquette: Webpage describing tips for interacting with people with disabilities. Free PDF download available.
- Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities
- Disability Language Style Guide provided by National Center on Disability and Journalism.
- Downloadable Disability Access Symbols provided by Graphic Artists Guild.
- Relay Services Description of Relay Services provided by National Association of the Deaf.
- The Disability Visibility Project is an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture.
- Disability Design: Summary Report from a Field Scan: PDF report produced by the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with the Design Program.
- Embracing the Social Model of Disability for Arts Organizations: written by Disability Arts Online. This article illuminates the difference between the Social Model and the Medical Model of understanding disability, and how embracing the former in your organization can lead to greater accessibility.
Have questions or suggestions about this page? Please reach out to Carly, Program and Accessibility Manager ([email protected])