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Accessibility

Programs and activities are more welcoming and inclusive when they engage a broad spectrum of people in integrated settings that provide, equal, effective, and enjoyable arts experiences for all. This includes participants, visitors, staff, patrons, and artists along with their friends and families.

The Council has compiled this list of reliable resources and information intended to guide grant recipients, arts organizations, and artists who have questions about making their facilities, programs, and services accessible to people with diverse disabilities. While it is not intended to be a comprehensive list, the references will assist you in understanding your obligations to comply with accessibility and nondiscrimination laws and mandates.

Advocacy and Service Organizations
Assessing and Planning
Creating Accessible Websites
Exhibit Design
Funding Sources
Guidance and Enhancements for People With Hearing Loss
Guidance or enhancements for People With Intellectual, Developmental, or Cognitive Disabilities
Guidance and Enhancements for People With Vision Loss
Historic Facilities
Meetings and Temporary Event Planning
Regional and National Resource Organizations
Regulations, Guidelines, Standards, and Rules
Ticketing and Admissions
Use of Accessibility Symbols to Promote Programs and Services

Advocacy and Service Organizations

Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living The Department is part of the Vermont Agency of Human Services and provides a variety of services to Vermonters who are over the age of 60 or who have a disability.

Green Mountain Self Advocates is a Vermont self-advocacy organization run by people with developmental disabilities. Groups meet to listen to each other, make new friends, learn about their rights, and tell politicians and others why people with disabilities are important.

University of Vermont Center on Disability and Community Inclusion is part of a national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs). There are currently 67 UCEDDs, with at least one in every state and U.S. territory. Each is affiliated with a major research university and serves as a resource for all people in the areas of education, research, and service relative to the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

Vermont Center For Independent Living A nonprofit organization directed and staffed by individuals with disabilities, VCIL works to promote the dignity, independence and civil rights of Vermonters with disabilities.

Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence The Network’s Accessibility resources list includes organizations working with people with disabilities.

The Vermont Statewide Independent Living Council exists to advance the equality with which people with disabilities enjoy, participate in and contribute to the lives of their communities, families, and friends.

VSA Vermont is a not-for-profit arts and education organization, using the magic of the arts to engage the capabilities and enhance the confidence of children and adults with disabilities. Partnering with community organizations of all kinds, in all counties of Vermont, each year VSA VT presents inclusive arts and education programs for Vermonters of all ages. Founded in 1986, VSA VT is a member of the VSA Affiliate Network, a program of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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Assessing and Planning

Checklists provide valuable guidance in assessing the current status of accessibility to your facilities, programs, and services. Once an assessment is complete, your organization should evaluate priorities and develop planning documents.

ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities based on 2010 Design Standards

Arts and Humanities Accessibility Checklist

Brief Accessibility Checklist

New Jersey Theater Self-Evaluation Checklist

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Creating Accessible Websites

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop web standards. There are three levels of compliance: A, AA, and AAA. On January 18, 2017 the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Webaim’s WCAG 2.0 Accessibility Checklist

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Exhibit Design

Helpful information to all arts facilities, not just those that have exhibits.

Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibit Design This publication includes a helpful “Checklist for Publications” in the Appendix for making accessible and readable publications.

Everyone’s Welcome This manual was designed to assist museums in becoming accessible to all individuals, including people with disabilities.

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Funding Sources

Vermont Arts Council Cultural Facilities Grants help Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities enhance, create, or expand the capacity of an existing building to provide cultural activities for the public. Examples of projects eligible for funding include: improvements to wiring, heating, lighting, and plumbing; accessibility features such as elevators, lifts, assistive listening systems, ramps, and bathrooms; stage improvements such as curtains, lighting, and rigging; permanent display panels or exhibit cases; fixed equipment.

The USDA Community Facilities Grants program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial, or business undertakings.

The Vermont Community Foundation offers a variety of grants and funding opportunities.

National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grants support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.

Christopher Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants Created by the late Dana Reeve, this foundation strives to empower individuals with disabilities and their families by providing grants to nonprofit organizations that improve quality of life through inclusion, access, independence, opportunities for community engagement, and other life-enhancing endeavors.

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Guidance and Enhancements for People With Hearing Loss

CART, and other services.

American Sign Language Interpreters

Vermont Interpreter Referral Service (VIRS) (www.virs.org)
Provides statewide interpreter and CART referral services for American Sign Language (ASL)/spoken English/oral interpreting assignments. A program of the Vermont Center for Independent Living (www.vcil.org) at 802.254.3920 or 800.639.1519 or virs@sover.net.

Assistive Listening Systems,

Assistive Listening Systems

In most cases, these systems must be provided for assembly areas where audible communication is integral to the use of the space. The system minimizes background noise, reduces the effect of distance and overrides poor acoustics.

Guidelines and Regulations

There are specific guidelines and regulations related to the number of people and kind of equipment necessary.
ADA Guidelines

ADA Calculator

ADA Tipsheet

Sales and Rentals

Sound Associates, Inc. offers equipment rental and sales.
424 West 45th Street
New York, NY 10036
212.757.5679 tel.
212.265.1250 fax
888.772.7686 toll free
newyork@soundassociates.com

Comtek Communications Technology, Inc. offers equipment sales.
357 West 2700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84115  
Phone: 801.466.3463
Fax: 801.484.6906
Toll Free: 800.496.3463

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Services

Captioning for live performances, lectures, presentation, and meetings is sometimes called CART. Realtime reporters type in shorthand that specialized computer software instantly translates into full English words and sentences. A video monitor, projection screen, or LED sign displays the text almost simultaneously.

White Coat Captioning
Norma Miller, RPR, CRR, CCP, CBC
802.233.3747
norma@whitecoatcaptioning.com

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Guidance or Enhancements for People With Intellectual, Developmental, or Cognitive Disabilities

Can include individuals with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, dementia, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, other learning disabilities, etc.

Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council
The mission of VTDDC is to help build connections and supports that bring people with developmental disabilities and their families into the heart of Vermont communities.

Vermont Family Network Their mission is to empower and support all Vermont families of children with special needs.

American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Green Mountain Self Advocates is a Vermont self-advocacy organization run by people with developmental disabilities. Groups meet to listen to each other, make new friends, learn about their rights, and tell politicians and others why people with disabilities are important.

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Guidance and Enhancements for People With Vision Loss

Organizations

Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired A nonprofit organization that offers free training, services, and support to visually impaired Vermonters and provides Braille Transcription services. Contact Lori Newsome at lnewsome@vabvi.org or 800.639.5861, ext. 231.

Vermont Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The designated state unit to provide vocational rehabilitation and independent living services to eligible Vermonters who are blind and visually impaired.

The National Braille Press can assist you with your custom braille needs and other services.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is a resource for Accessible Media Guidelines. They also have a free, downloadable font developed specifically for low vision readers. APHont™ (pronounced Ay'-font), embodies characteristics that have been shown to enhance reading speed, comprehension, and comfort for large print users (www.aph.org/products/aphont/).

Audio Description

Describers provide concise, objective descriptions of the setting, costumes, action, physical appearance, and body language of the characters in a play, film, video or television program or the size, shape, colors, textures, composition, subject, and content of visual art or other exhibit materials. Describers undergo extensive training to attain proficiency.

Alice Austin, Audio Describer
Plymouth, NH
617.513.5373
dxer11@comcast.net

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Historic Facilities

In addition to the resources included above and throughout this document, there are important considerations when developing and providing accessibility in Vermont’s historic buildings.

Vermont Division for Historic Preservation

Accessibility for Historic Facilities: A Field Guide

Preservation Trust of Vermont- 2017-2018 Restoration Directory

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Meetings and Temporary Event Planning

Useful for organizations that offer one-time or multiple events, workshops, and meetings at a variety of locations whether in your own or other spaces.

Accessible Meeting Planning

Accessible Temporary Events, A Planning Guide

A Planning Guide for Making Temporary Events Accessible to people with Disabilities

Removing Barriers: Planning Meetings That Are Accessible to All Participants

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Regional and National Resource Organizations

The New England ADA Center is a project of the Institute for Human Centered Design. Based in Boston, they are one of ten regional ADA Centers that comprise the ADA National Network and are a leader in providing information, guidance, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Call 800.949.4232 (voice/tty) or send an email to adainfo@newenglandada.org.

The National Endowment for the Arts Office for Accessibility offers technical assistance and guidance. They provide multiple publications and resources on their website or in-person guidance through their office at 202.682.5532 voice, 202.682.5496 TTY, 202.682.5715 fax, or email to accessibility@arts.gov.

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Regulations, Guidelines, Standards, and Rules

If you or your organization receive federal funds from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), you must (a) comply with the Endowment's regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, including the preparation of a self-evaluation of all programs, activities, policies and practices to determine areas of noncompliance, and (b) better understand the relationship between 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Arts Council grantees must complete and have on file the NEA Section 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook. The workbook is designed to be used in conjunction with DESIGN FOR ACCESSIBILITY A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook, an overview and how-to guide for making arts programs accessible to people with various disabilities.

The Accessibility Planning and Resource Guide for Cultural Administrators is a step-by-step, detailed guide to help arts organizations with compliance and inclusion.

The documents listed above are currently under revision to comply with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design. In the meantime, it is important to use these resources.

The NEA has provided a tip sheet to summarize the 2010 revisions as they specifically relate to arts and cultural organizations.

Americans with Disabilities Act
The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division developed a website that provides information and technical information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The following are links to revised regulations, design standards, and guidance, effective in 2012. They should be used and referenced together. If your organization is a state or local government organization such as a public school, library, town office, etc., be aware that you have obligations and requirements under Title II of the ADA. Your organization will need to comply with applicable state and local laws too.

2010 Regulations for Title III Organizations

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Guidance on the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

2010 Regulations for Title II Organizations

US Access Board Guide to the ADA Standards

Vermont Access Board Adopts rules on technical requirements for accessibility to public buildings in Vermont. The board also has legislative authority to hear and grant variances from particular provisions of Vermont Access Rules.

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Ticketing and Admissions

ADA 2010 Revised Requirements: Ticket Sales Guidance on nondiscrimination requirements that apply to selling tickets for assigned seats at events such as concerts, plays, and sporting events.

Also see: https://adata.org/factsheet/ticketing

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Use of Accessibility Symbols to Promote Programs and Services

The Graphic Artists Guild offers downloadable disability access symbols to help you promote and publicize accessibility for people with disabilities.

Examples

These websites provide examples of organizations that have used accessibility symbols along with clear and welcoming text to help people understand what is available.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art Calendar Document for Visitors with Disabilities

The Kennedy Center

Old Sturbridge Village

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