Arts and Accessibility

The Alaska State Council on the Arts’ mission is to foster the development of the arts for all Alaskans through education, partnerships, grants and services. Accessibility in the Arts ensures that people with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have inclusive access to arts and cultural facilities and programs. The Alaska State Council on the Arts works with National, state and local partners to help nonprofit organizations achieve compliance and guarantee accessibility in the arts.

National Resources

The National Endowment for the Arts has extensive accessibility in the arts resources. Go to www.nea.gov/resources/Accessibility/ for publications, announcements, resources, and conferences for individuals and arts organizations. Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook is an especially helpful resource for arts and culture organizations.

State Resources

Access Alaska / Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center Northwest: ADA Information Center coordinates the ADA Partners Project at Access Alaska located in Anchorage. The ADA Partner’s Project is the Alaskan affiliate for the region’s Disability & Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC).

Design for Accessibilty Logo

DBTAC's are a national platform of ten centers comprised of ADA professionals and experts charged with assisting businesses, state and local governments, and people with disabilities as they manage the process of changing our culture to be user friendly to individuals with disabilities. DBTAC’s are funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

DBTAC Northwest staff includes professionals familiar with disability, rehabilitation, rehab engineering, special education, the built environment, accessibility to buildings and electronic accessibility, universal design, civil rights law, and business professionals. Staff provides technical assistance and training on the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability related laws and regulations. Staff conducts accessibility surveys and provides recommendations to Alaskan businesses and residential property owners. For more information contact:

David Barton
ADA Partners Project Coordinator
Access Alaska
121 W. Fireweed Lane
Anchorage, AK 99503
Telephone: (907) 248-4777 Ext. 206

E-mail: dbarton@accessalaska.org
Website: www.dbtacnorthwest.org

VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. VSA arts provides educators, parents, and artists with resources and the tools to support arts programming in schools and communities. VSA arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities. Each year millions of people participate in VSA arts programs through a nationwide network of affiliates and in 55 countries around the world. VSA arts is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Programming and initiatives of VSA arts are guided by four principles:

  • Every young person with a disability deserves access to high-quality arts learning experiences;
  • All artists in schools and art educators should be prepared to include students with disabilities in their instruction;
  • All children, youth, and adults with disabilities should have complete access to cultural facilities and activities; and
  • All individuals with disabilities who aspire to careers in the arts should have the opportunity to develop appropriate skills.

VSA arts works with a network of affiliate organizations that are independent nonprofit organizations with their own 501(c)(3) status. Each VSA arts affiliate coordinates a diverse set of programming across the state. Affiliates maintain strong connections to the national office in a relationship that includes funding, professional development, technical assistance, information exchange, and the use of VSA arts resources, including Start with the Arts© and Express Diversity!©

As a part of the affiliation requirements, affiliate organizations report evaluation outcomes on participants’ academic, social, and artistic growth. These organizations are reviewed annually by VSA arts to ensure that they meet fiscal and operational standards and as a way to gauge and encourage growth in all program areas. In areas without a statewide affiliate, VSA arts works with local agencies to deliver effective, quality arts-based educational programming for students with disabilities. For more information on VSA arts affiliates nationwide, please visit www.vsarts.org.

VSA arts of Alaska connects art, community, and change throughout a state where culturally diverse communities are separated by vast distances. Now entering its 24th season, VSA arts of Alaska finds and shares cultural explorers whose ideas challenge and inspire; to raise up creative space where all generations gather and learn; and to champion, through the arts and humanities, people marginalized in our times. VSA arts of Alaska owns and operates its own facility, Out North. For more information contact:

Michael Huelsman, Executive Director
Out North
3800 DeBarr Road
Anchorage, AK 99508
Email: mike@outnorth.org
Website: www.outnorth.org

Telephone: (907) 279-8099
Fax: (907) 279-8100