From the Office of Raleigh Arts

The Universal Access and the Arts Series represents the kick-off toward achieving that goal, and is the outgrowth of a yearlong Learning Community of 11 arts and cultural organizations that collaborate to advocate for and improve access to the arts for people with disabilities. 

Participants in this inaugural Learning Community were Arts Access, Arts Together, Artspace, CAM Raleigh, Cary Visual Art, Office of Raleigh Arts, PineCone, Raleigh Little Theatre, Sertoma Arts Center, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, and Visual Art Exchange. 

TACTILE: A Multi-Sensory + Universally Designed Exhibition
May 6-26 | First Friday Reception: May 6, 6-10pm
Visual Art Exchange | 309 W. Martin Street, Raleigh

During the month of May, Visual Art Exchange will exhibit 22 pieces of work that can be experienced with more than just sight alone. These multi-sensory pieces were created by 17 artists from seven states across the United States. This exhibition invites visitors to go beyond looking at artwork and encourage them to use their senses of touch, smell, hearing and taste to experience each piece. One of the main goals of TACTILE is to further VAE’s focus on including people with disabilities in its programming. Large-format print materials, Braille transcribed materials, audio described and ASL interpreted tours and additional staff assistance for visitors will be provided during the exhibit. 
Learn more

Creating Space: Planning Multi-Sensory & Accessible Exhibitions Workshop
Monday, May 9, 9:30am-Noon
Visual Art Exchange | 309 W. Martin Street, Raleigh

Visual Art Exchange developed this workshop to provide participants with knowledge about how to plan, install and market accessible exhibitions. Presenters from the NC Museum of Art, NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Visual Art Exchange will talk about the teams they assemble, where the issue of accessibility comes up in the exhibition planning process, and give an example of something they have done recently to include more people in their exhibits. Arts Access will present information about communicating with people with disabilities, resources to increase programmatic accessibility, and descriptions of popular accommodations. 
Learn more 

Showcasing New Voices: Artists with Disabilities Presentation
Monday, May 9, Noon – 1:30pm
CAM Raleigh | 409 West Martin Street, Raleigh

The Office of Raleigh Arts is thrilled to welcome Ruth Gould of DaDaFest to Raleigh! DaDaFest is an innovative disability arts organization in Liverpool, England that promotes high quality Disability and Deaf Arts from around the world. DaDa celebrated 30 years at the forefront of Disability and Deaf Arts with DaDaFest International 2014, a two-month arts festival showcasing artists from around the globe exhibiting, performing and exploring disability. DaDaFest regularly attracts large audiences that are evenly split between the disability community and the general public. Ruth will share examples of the work showcased at DaDaFest International and talk about how they market and promote the festival to build a diverse audience.
This presentation is free of charge. Register here 

Everybody’s Welcome – Accessible Festival Design Workshop
Tuesday, May 10, 10am-1pm
Halifax Community Center | 1023 Halifax Street, Raleigh

Festivals are held for everyone to enjoy, but without accessible design, persons with physical disabilities are not able to fully enjoy or sometimes even participant in these large public events. Learn the ins and outs of accessible festivals from international expert Ruth Goul, founder and artistic director of DaDaFest, the UK's largest and longest running disability arts festival. Rut will share her favorite tips on making your events more accessible. This workshop will be facilitated by Brandon Cordrey from Visual Art Exchange and Jamie Katz Court from PineCone, who oversee accessibility for SPARKcon and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh. Cordrey and Court are also scheduled to present on this topic at the 2016 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference in Pittsburgh this summer.
This workshop is free of charge. Register here

Why It Matters – Accessibility as an Asset Presentation
Thursday, May 12, 9-10:30am
Theatre in the Park | 107 Pullen Road, Raleigh

The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates access for people with disabilities, but the real reasons for developing an inclusive and accessible arts organization is that it makes good business sense. Learn how increasing accessibility makes patron experiences better for everyone and leads to better patron retention and loyalty. Presenter Betty Siegel, Esq. has specialized in arts and disability issues for over 30 years, starting at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and now as Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is a respected expert and speaker on topics related to disability rights, compliance with disability laws and regulations, the arts and disability, and accessibility to cultural programs and venues for individuals of all ages with disabilities.
This presentation is free of charge. Register here

Everybody’s Welcome – Planning for Accessibility Workshop
Thursday, May 12, 2:30-4:30pm
Walnut Creek Wetland Center | 950 Peterson Street, Raleigh

Ensuring that an organization and its programming are accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities is a constant work in progress. It takes time to make changes and evolving technology creates additional opportunities for improvements. Accessibility plans help organizations stay on track through a focus on setting goals in the areas of policy, programming, marketing and facility access. In this workshop Betty Siegel, Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will take participants step by step through the process of developing an accessibility plan. A nationally recognized expert in this process, she will provide tools to assess what accessibility assets are or are not already in place, methods for developing sound policies, and ways to get buy-in from the disability community and arts organizations’ staff, board members and volunteers.
This workshop is free of charge. Register here

Learning Lunch: Learning Community for Universal Access Projects
Thursday, May 19, Noon-2pm
United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County
410 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 170, Raleigh 

Learning Community for Universal Access participants will share their experiences from the past year as they gained understanding about issues of access and made strides toward universal access. Whether you've thought about increasing access in your organization, already made steps toward greater accessibility or felt unsure where to get started, this learning lunch will be a great place to share experiences and inspire each other.
This event is free of charge. Beverages provided. Please bring a brown bag lunch. To attend, please RSVP to rcarlile@unitedarts.org

All facilities for these events are wheelchair accessible. ASL interpretation is scheduled for the presentations on Monday afternoon (Showcasing New Voices: Artists with Disabilities) and Thursday morning (Why It Matters – Accessibility as an Asset).

The Office of Raleigh Arts is committed to making our programs accessible to everyone. If you require an additional accommodation or service (such as open captioning; audio description; digital, large-print or Braille materials, etc.) to fully participate, please contact Sarah Corrin (sarah.corrin@raleighnc.gov or 919-996-4686) at least 2 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.