Arts access for all
Arts Access helps people try different arts. This includes classes to learn to paint, write, take photos, or make films. Arts Access also runs a film festival and helps people with a disability attend shows, events and movies. Now Arts Access is going to help other local groups to run their own art classes. It is also working to raise money for artists with a disability.
Posted by: Janice Florence, on 01/12/09
Gerard Vacirca in Diane Doesn't Sleep. Photo: Jorge De Araujo
Have you ever wanted to be part of a local drama class but you cannot get into the building or you cannot hear the teacher? Or perhaps it just feels like they don’t want you there? Have you ever been stuck up the back at the theatre in a seat where the actors looked like ants?
Like many areas of life, there are obstacles that people with a disability face when trying to participate in the arts. But Melbourne-based organisation Arts Access is working on opening doors to enable more people with a disability to create and experience art.
Since 1974 Arts Access has run many creative programs, including:
- visual arts
- creative writing.
ticketing service has also assisted people with disabilities to attend theatre, cinema and music events by fighting to improve access and provide information and tickets. In recent years, the organisation’s Other Film Festival has also showcased films by and about people with a disability.
A fresh direction
Arts Access is now heading in an exciting fresh direction under new executive director Veronica Pardo. They are exploring different ways to meet the huge demand from people wishing to be involved in the arts. Instead of offering a small number of programs, Arts Access will offer their expertise to help local organisations. They will assist organisations to establish their own classes and programs for people with a disability. They will also work with various Victorian government departments.
Ms Pardo says the EASE service will work to ensure disability access is a priority for the broader Arts industry.
Our aspiration is that all sessions at all movies will be accessible, she says.
This is about universal access principles. Access which suits and benefits everyone.
Ms Pardo says that although the Other Film Festival has shown rare films and raised issues of cinema access, it was time to
build bridges to the mainstream.
Now it’s time for the arts industry and the corporate world to take on these issues, she says.
Arts Access is also looking to encourage the corporate world to fund artists with a disability. With help from Arts Access, the group Deaf Can Dance has received financial support from telecommunications company Vodaphone as well as national depression initiative Beyond Blue. It now wants more companies to acknowledge the mental health benefits of the arts.
For information on arts programs near you, visit the Infoxchange Service Seeker (opens new window).
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