Addressing Accessibility in Arts Funding Programs, Events, and Materials (transcript)
Grantmakers in the Arts
Arts and Accessibility Webinar (Adobe)
November 14, 2017
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This is being provided in a rough‑draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings
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>> Welcome and thank you all for joining us, addressing accessibility in arts funding programs events and materials. I'm SuJ'n Chon, GIA’s program manager.
Arts and accessibility is a civil rights issue, and arts philanthropy is in a privileged position to support practices and programs that promote full participation of all creative workers pursuing their work including those with disabilities. GIA has had plenary and conference presenters at our annual conferences discussing accessibility and artists with disabilities in the past, but this is the first time we have had a webinar on the topic. This is a very big topic - not one that we can fully explore in an hour. Nonetheless we hope this session will provide you an overview and an introduction to ideas and practices to support you in your work with artists.
We're pleased to have joining us Betty Siegal, manager of accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts, Risa Jaz Rifkind, program mssociate working with the Disabilities Fund and ADA 25 Advancing Leadership program at Chicago Community Trust, which is a community foundation; and Anne Mulgrave, manager of grants and accessibility with Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, a nonprofit regional arts agency
Together they will be discussing why accessibility is a social justice issue, and how to identify and reduce barriers to access and funding programs for programs just like our title says.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to read their bios on the event page. On that page, you will also find an ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits published by the Chicago Community Trust.
Before we get started, a couple housekeeping notes. You should see a live captioning pod. Within that pod, you should find different controls to make individualized user adjustments as needed, such as the font size. At the bottom of your screen, you should also find a rectangular text box where you can type in your questions at any time during today's session. After we hear the presentations, I will be back to facilitate the Q&A session with Betty, Risa, and Anne. We will get started with Betty. Welcome Betty!
>> BETTY: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm going to start off by setting the framework of accessibility and inclusive practices. Mostly, I'm going to introduce some really big concepts about why we need to, as a community, address accessible and inclusive practices. From my perspective, the reason why we do this work in inclusive and accessible practices is because it's a part of social justice. It's a part of social commitment and our social contract with our constituents and our communities.
So right off the bat, I'm going to introduce this idea that disability rights are a part of civil and human rights, and that's the really big picture that we all need to grab ahold of.
Now sometimes we struggle with this big picture, and the reason why is that often times the disability rights movement asks us to look at disability in a new and unfamiliar way. And some of us find that to be a little bit threatening. So what I want to introduce to you is this idea that we're moving from looking at disability through the lens of an impairment or medical model to the lens of a civil or social rights model.
What does that mean? If you look at the screen, you'll see in front of you two graphics. On the left ‑‑ on your left‑hand side is really a simplified representation of what we mean by a medical impairment, and on the right is a simplified representation of a rights or social model. The differents are in the top bubble immediately to the right. That is that a medical impairment model looks at there being something wrong with the individual. The disability resides in the human being, versus the rights or social model, where there is something in a sense, wrong with society. So the challenge resides in society as a whole, not in an individual. And thus, the big differences in these models is that in the medical model, we seek to change the individual to accommodate society, versus the rights or social model where we seek to change society to accommodate the individual.
Just as a quick example, let's think about my mom, who's 90 years old and we go to a museum. We arrive, and there's a grand stairway. Now my mom, who can kick my butt in water aerobics, has troubles walking up and down steps. So those steps are a huge barrier to her. I could say mom, that's too bad. You're just going to have to struggle up those steps, or I could work with the museum or venue to try to put into place other ways for my mom to get from the bottom of the steps to the entrance. In the medical model, the problem is with my mom's inability to walk up the steps, and in the social model, the problem is the steps themselves.
The other thing that backs up the two different models is the way we look at the definitions of disability. So in the Americans With Disabilities Act, we see the definition places the challenge on the individual, whereas in the definition from the World Health Organization, which they came out with in 2010, that people are disabled based on their interacts with those environments, such as physical environment, communication environment, information environment and social and policy environments.
These are so much fun to talk about, but I only have four more minutes. I thought it was important to think about these as we listen to our next presenters.
There are civil rights out there that are really critical. I don't want any of us to forget about the 1973 Rehabilitation Act with Section 504, which basically prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in entities that receive federal financial assistance. Sometimes we forget about this particular law because the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act has been so all encompassing, but I want to remind us not to forget about the Rehabilitation act, which is really the basis and beginnings of the disability rights movement and community getting their civil rights acknowledged. Don't forget about the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, although it only applies K‑12 education. It is so important to remember that the right to a free and appropriate education is guaranteed under this law.
In 1990, Americans With Disabilities Act, of course you've got title I which addresses discrimination in employment, Title II, which is discrimination in government, and Title III, which addresses discrimination in places of public accommodation. I could talk about these laws forever, but I won't. I will be happy to answer any of your questions in the Q&A section of our time.
Don't forget international law in the 2006 Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities. And don't forget about state and local laws, because sometimes the local law provide more protections than national and federal laws.
Who are we doing this for? 56.7 million Americans with disabilities, almost 19% of the population. We have older adults. By 2030, there will be more people over the age of 60 than there are under the age of 30. Think about what that means to us as a community and our population. You also have young adults. These are people born on or around the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. They don't know a world where there is not captioning on TV. Their expectations are elevated in regards to what we as a community are going to make sure they have access to.
Finally we have children and their families. 13% of school‑aged children K‑12 have disabilities. The interesting thing when you look at this population is how different the type of disability looks in this population versus our senior population. If I go backwards, which I'm just going to do ever so briefly, you'll see that a large percentage of the population of people 64 and older is in the ambulatory category. That doesn't mean wheelchair, but people who, like my mom, might just have a little difficulty going up and down steps. It's a huge percentage of that population. Whereas when we look at children, we see the largest percentage of children with disabilities is in the specific learning disability category. Children with vision loss, hearing loss or mobility loss are encompassed in the small little wedge of 10% "other disability." So keep this in mind. The disability populations change as we get older or as we get younger.
I just want to say that we really need to remember to keep in mind that disability and accessibility is a philosophy, and the key is to do things with your community, not for. To integrate access into the way you routinely do business. We can help staff do that by ensuring we've leveraged and allocated appropriate resources, we've established policy, we're planning, and we're leading by example and action. I think that's critical.
I'll wrap up, and I'm sorry to barrel through all of this so quickly, but I wanted to leave time for other presenters, with this slide that gives you resources to check on later. My alarm is going off. Or you're more than welcome to reach out to me with the information on the slide here. I think that about wraps up the context. And I'd like to pass this on to Risa.
>> RISA: Thank you so much. I will try and use my best voice that you do so well on our webinars. So good afternoon, everyone. Or good morning. My name is Risa, and I am a program manager at Chicago Community Trust, and I focus on disability inclusion initiatives, including two projects, the disabilities fund, and ADA25 advancing leadership, which I will touch briefly on. I started working here in 2015, joining ADA25 Chicago, which was Chicago's recognition of the 25th anniversary of the ADA. With the goal of creating projects to further the spirit of the ADA for full participation and equal opportunity to people with disabilities.
So even in 2015, disability inclusion work was not new to the Trust. Actually, in conversations around furthering inclusion and aspects of people with disabilities were happening in the early years of the trust. But recent history that I'll focus on include the establishment of what is now known as the Disability Fund in 2004. This is one of the initiatives that I'll talk more about.
A few years later in 2010, for the 20th anniversary of the ADA, the disability fund published a white paper, quest for equality, which highlighted the largest gaps where people with disabilities in education, employment, community living, and focus for the disability fund now.
In 2010, the Disability Fund also published the first iteration of the renewing the commitment guide, which SuJ'n mentioned in the beginning. In 2015, as I mentioned, the Chicago community trust funded ADA25 Chicago, which engaged over 200 partner organizations who committed to increasing inclusion. And it viewed the quest for equality as the background for its goals in education and employment and what we call community inclusion instead of community living, to expand to other cultures. And we added technology.
Some of the projects include CBLN, a big mix of organizations. And it also included the creation and collaboration with the Chicago cultural accessibilities inclusion, a cultural access calendar, which can be found on their website, which lists all of the accessible performances that will be happening in Chicago.
And then our last project, or the last one I'll mention right now is ADA25 advancing leadership. I wanted to mention that all of this was in direct collaboration, as Betty highlighted, with leaders with disabilities in our community. All of these efforts were generated from ideas within the community and implemented with the community. In Chicago, we're really lucky to have such a vibrant disability‑led community. And so, next, I will talk about ADA25, advancing leadership, really quickly. But I would like to invite you to check out our website, ADA25Chicago.org. The vision is that people with disabilities will lead with power and influence with full participation and equal opportunity. The goal is that people with disabilities get more systemically engaged so that full participation and equal opportunity is a theme in our leadership in the region.
So I really do invite you to check out our website. But in the interest of time, I'm going to go next to our next slide, which highlights the disabilities fund. The Disabilities Fund’s vision is that the Chicago region will be known as the most inclusive in the nation with widespread commitment to the ADA's promise of equal opportunity, independent living, economic self‑sufficiency, and full par 'tis operation of people with disabilities. We do this through thought leadership, partnering with the trust to get ideas out into the community and into what we do internally. Here are examples of that. We are developing a series of fact sheets that highlight the intersection of disability with another topic. And then we are also looking to advance education and employment right now in the health care sector. More importantly for this webinar, the disability fund is a vehicle through which we do a lot of internal work, and one of those things I want to share with you now.
So following 2015, the Trust wanted to ensure it was doing everything it can to be accessible and inclusive. To this end, starting in early 2015, I started in collaboration with Trust leadership and staff here who view a self‑evaluation and internal looking assessment and plan for making sure that the trust internal operation and then the view of the Trust is as inclusive and as accessible as possible. We started this process looking at me partnering with a department and going department by department. This was an extremely long process. Right now I've worked with marketing and communications. And HR this year to look at the physical space. And IT to look at software space.
I want to tell you a little bit about what that collaboration looks like. So most importantly, each department took ownership of what was being done. So the required buy‑in from the top and the bottom. And meeting in the middle with the same goal. So the leadership of the department selects a liaison to work with me on the work so that it reinforces and solidifies that commitment within. That way the department works. With my liaison, we look at renewing a commitment guide as a starting point to create an evaluation for the department. We also make sure to include voices from the disability community here to accomplish this work and making sure that the evaluation is as inclusive as possible of all components of the department.
Then we bring that back, once we have, you know, evaluated and gotten feedback about each component, two community members to make sure that any suggested changes is in alignment for best practice and inclusion and access.
I'm over time, but in my remaining few moments, I want to share with you a few items that marketing and communications has done and found. And all of these findings are shared at all staff meetings, so that all staff is aware of what some of the changes are and so that some of the changes can be implemented as soon as possible. For marketing and communications, we have a new set of guidelines that include captioning at all large public events. And we include language of how to request accommodations, and who that point person is, name and e‑mail. And social media is as accessible as we can make it, including writing image description for all posts, and using camel case and hash tags. I invite you to check out our blog posts that highlight this. It's on the website as well as shared today from the Facebook of ADA25 advancing leadership. And the last thing is that this process is evolving over time. Over time, I hope that the theme continues the commitment and continues with or without me. And one example of how that will become apparent is that registration pages, it's not accessible. But this was ‑‑ it's no longer accessible based on a recent update. So the platform was evaluated last year when we did the evaluation. And after I started to step away, we found this out, so we're trusting now using Google Forms until a better platform can be suggested.
Some tips to get started today, because this is a lot of information. If you're interested and you want to do this and I know you're committed because you're on this webinar, to connect with your disability community, connect with your local technical assistance. And I encourage you to download the compliance guide that is available on the link on the slide.
Next, I just want to highlight that this is a very hot topic currently in philanthropy. I invite you to connect with me via e‑mail or phone with any questions. I know that was a lot really quickly. If there are follow‑up items I can help with, please let me know. Thank you. Now I'll turn it over to Anne.
>> ANNE: Hello. I am the manager of grants and accessibility at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. As you can tell from my title, I wear two hats. I give away ‑‑ I manage several funding programs here at GPAC where we only do arts funding. In addition, I lead our increasing access to Pittsburgh arts and culture initiative, which began in January of 2011. I'm going to talk to you a little about that, because what I have learned wearing these two hats is that as a grantmaker, if you want to, as a goal of increasing social inclusion or increasing access to the arts, to do it by simply requiring people to comply with something, without giving them the skills to comply isn't effective. So what we have done at GPAC is we have created a program that ‑‑ in which we educate arts managers, facilitate a network of access peers, provide one‑on‑one technical support to arts organizations, we provide a curated list of art‑specific resources for arts organizations, we work hard to increase regional capacity for accessibility by providing shared equipment, and we build bridges with the disability community. We have received funding for this project. Part of my job has been funded by the NEA and a local disability funder, so that's one thing that funders can do to support this. Briefly, in the past seven years, we have held over 55 workshops with over close to 1,600 participants from 90 regional arts organizations.
Now what we have learned from this work that is going to be very important to grant makers who want to work with arts organizations to become more accessible is you must focus on equity, not compliance. The concept of accessibility as a civil rights resonates more with arts agencies than the idea of complying with the ADA, which seems overwhelming when you first approach it.
Secondly, and this is something that I learned from Betty years and years ago, is that accessibility really is nothing more than good customer service. And arts organizations are very good at customer service. They meet people where they are and help them participate. And secondly, this is mission‑driven. The issue with accessibility for most arts managers is that they do not see the barriers, because the barriers are more than physical barriers. That are programmatic barriers, and they don't see them. And when they do see them, they go whoops! I didn't know, because their mission as Betty has told me in the past, our mission is to provide art to everybody but you? That's not their mission. So they work hard to break down the barriers to make their work be accessible.
Secondly, arts managers DIY. They will not hire a consultant to fix their website. They do it themselves. So the most important support they receive are specific practical DIY skills. Secondly, peer‑to‑peer learning is crucial. If one museum knows how to make accessible signage and the person in the other museum can call them, not only does it help them learn faster and accelerate the pace of change, but it also helps standardize the patron experience. And the last thing is, arts organizations develop momentum to becoming more accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities, and then they will hit a point where they get stuck. And they have questions that they cannot answer. So, for example, my role is when they get stuck, to be the person who they can send the really embarrassing stupid e‑mail to, and I can respond with the very simple response, and they keep going.
This is crucial for funders, I feel. If you build it, they may not come. People with disabilities and their experiences at arts organizations have led them to feel like problems before they are patrons. And arts organizations have to work hard to send the message that they welcome people with disabilities to develop those relationships and build trust. So, what could a grantmaker do?
You have to ‑‑ when you are reviewing proposals for art, it is important to understand that accessibility is just a normal cost of doing business, not a special program. You want to accept or require an accessibility line item in every budget. Arts organizations do not include these, because they think that you are going to give them $20,000 regardless of whether they include that, and they don't want to take that money away from their work. So, as a radical idea, I have always thought the way you would encourage more people to provide a programmatic accommodations in the forms of captioning, American Sign Language interpretation, purchasing assistive listening devices, providing audio description for people with visual impairments, is to bump up their grants a little if they show a commitment to accessibility. And also, of course, you want to be able to include access metric in your final reports.
So, some thoughts on physical accessibility. One of the things that we've learned is most arts organizations do not own their spaces. These organizations focus on programmatic accessibility. When I talk about programmatic accessibility, it's providing assistive listening devices to people with hearing loss. It's providing description. It's providing captioning. Like at the opera, captioning is everywhere. So that's the expense that many arts organizations have. Those that do own their own spaces, the cost of physical improvements can be prohibitive. There is a great need to increase physical accessibility and for the purchase of equipment.
So, questions to consider, when you're looking at your grant process in terms of accessible grant making. Is your online application accessible to all applicants? People who are blind access the internet, access ‑‑ have electronic access through something called a screen reader, and oftentimes, as the way the screen reader looks at a website and then reads it out loud can make it very hard to actually understand what the website is saying if the code is not written properly. So, what I suggest people do is check your website and application process with this particular tool. What this is, is this waive webaim tool is you just type in the URL for your website or online grant program, grant program application, and it will go through it and all of the sudden these bubbles will pop up not just explaining what the accessibility problem is, but telling you how to fix it.
The next thing is is your online application accessible to all panelists? Our grant panels include people with disabilities. We have panelists who are blind. We have panelists with significant hearing loss. We have panelists who are Deaf. They often have issues readk things like the PDF that your online application might spit out. Most PDFs are just images. When you spit out a form for an online grant process, you will ‑‑ and then you run it through the Adobe accessibility checker, all these little colored bubbles are problems. So oftentimes, the PDFs you spit out aren't readable by screen readers. Another major issue is if someone cannot use a mouse, if someone has limited manual dexterity, and they have to tap through a website, they cannot upload work samples because they can't use a mouse. So getting to work samples, are your work samples accessible? Videos must be captioned. YouTube has decent tools. Do not use their speech recognition, because it will come out very bad. But if you have a transcript, they have a good tool that can sync the uploaded transcript to the speech. Vimeo does not have this last time I checked.
As a grantmaker, you have to build trust and you have to model this. This is the accessibility information that we put on the bottom of every event that we do. This is not ‑‑ you will notice the language is welcoming. “GPAC is committed to making its programs accessible to everyone. If access would help you fully participate in our program, please contact so and so to arrange the event. If an accommodation would be helpful and the lead time is less than two weeks, please call us.” Most people with disabilities, that sends a big message to people. What it says is, ”Yeah, we know this is hard, and we are not giving you a different standard than everyone else. You can call us with less than two weeks and we'll work with you but we're not making any promises.”
The other thing that will be checked if is if you include ability in your diversity and equity statements. That is a sign. They will also look for images that include people with disabilities. They will look at all of those things as tells to whether or not you are truly welcoming them.
And now here is the big one. When you are reviewing your applications, do you apply a disability justice lens? Are you aware of the implicit bias of ablism? To demonstrate that, I want to show you these pictures. This is what I call Disney versus Game of Thrones. In the lower left hand is captain hook, clearly the villain. This creates that old trope image of people with disabilities as being bad or wrong. Then you see Jamie Lanister wearing his gold hand and protecting himself by taking that gold hand and stopping a sword. What that is is an implicit image that disabilities aren't bad. They can be good. They can be beneficial. If any of you are Game of Thrones fans, you noticed that Jamie has kind of become a better person since he lost his hand, but not perfect.
When you start looking at the work and the art that you are funding, start thinking about whether or not you are funding theater productions in which a role of a person with a disability is not being played by someone with a disability. Are you thinking that all work by visual artists with disabilities is actually art therapy and not high‑quality art? These are all implicit biases that many of us have, and we may not be aware of them. So please think about it.
And now I am done.
>> SuJ'n: Thank you so much, Anne and Risa and Betty. Those are fantastic presentations. And just, I said that in the beginning that we couldn't cover a lot in an hour, but in 30 minutes, we covered so much material. Thank you so much. I am now going to start the Q&A portion of today's session. But before we start, I just want to remind you that you can type your questions in the rectangular box at the bottom of your screen. We're also going to switch over the control of the slides to you so that you can feel free to move through them and reference any of the slides as you construct your questions. So with that, I'm going to start with Anne, since we already have you. Is there any risk to funders if their grantees are not accessible?
>> ANNE: So, here's the way it works. There's kind of trickle‑down liability and risk here. Not risks so much as, so let's say you are a local government funder or you're like me. The NEA gives money to your state art agency. The state art agency gives it to local arts agencies to re‑grant within their community. The obligations of the NEA, the government organization and as a funder trickle down to your grantees. And it's your job when you're looking at the applications to see if they are compliant with the ADA. Now, what does it mean to comply with the ADA? For most nonprofit arts organizations, that means that you have done an accessibility audit and have made a plan to address the issues. It doesn't mean that you go bankrupt.
So yes. There is a risk in terms of any federal or state money that you distribute comes with those obligations to your grantees. And it's your job to assure that they are accessible.
>> BETTY: Can I jump in to do clarification? The obligation to ensure that your grantees are following federal disability rights law is under section 504 of the rehabilitation act. That's where we get this obligation to not discriminate if you receive federal financial assistance. So the trickle‑down is coming from that regulation and law. The ADA enforcement there comes strictly from the U.S. department of justice or from an individual against whom discrimination has occurred.
>> ANNE: Yes. So your risk may be that you get ‑‑ I'm not going to say that. But I don't ‑‑ it would be hard ‑‑ I'm not going to assess the risk, but it is possible that if your work and your programs aren't accessible that you could be sued.
>> SuJ'n: Risa, do you have anything to add?
>> RISA: No. I will let Anne and Betty answer that one. Thank you.
>> SuJ'n: Risa, while I have you, could you tell us a little bit more about ‑‑ I think it's really fascinating what the Chicago Community Trust has done organization‑wide, in really bringing the call for justice and actions organization‑wide. Would you have any suggestions for an organization? You know, we have a lot of program officers who are on the webinar who need to do a little work, perhaps, to convince leadership that this is something that the organization should approach? Do you have any tips for that?
>> RISA: Sure. Yeah. Great question. I think what Betty and Anne each have done as well are good points for making a persuasive argument, including the demographic information that people with disabilities are already in programs that are funded and touched by grants that might be happening. That people with disabilities are our neighbors, our friends, our family. You know, they are our grantees. And looking at it from a customer service angle is also really great. You know, it's bettering the community by being more inclusive. I also think that connecting wherever you are with local leaders and local leaders in the disability community wherever you are is also a great way, to, you know, even though there are over‑arching themes, each community is a little bit different, and it would be good to have a sense of what your local community would like to see foundations and philanthropy be involved with in having a leadership buy‑in.
I also, on my PowerPoint, shared three recently‑ish posted articles and blog posts that talk about the role of philanthropy in moving forward in disability and inclusion, and I would recommend reading and sharing those articles as well.
And you know, I think what Betty said about disabilities being civil rights and not ‑‑ that's totally true.
>> SuJ'n: Thank you. Anne, can you share a little more, also, about your organization's commitment, and how commitment kind of got distributed throughout the organization?
>> ANNE: A lot of nagging, basically. Essentially what we, you know, you have to begin with policy. You have to begin by creating a policy. And one of GPAC's values is accessibility. So we are also committed to modeling what arts organizations can do. We are not big and don't have a large staff. We do a lot of workshops. And all of the people see these accommodations, and they just come to expect them. Our hardest issue, really, is selecting accessible venues, because, you know, you want to go to venues that artists love and they have a tendency to be old. And they have a tendency to be, maybe down a bit. So one of the things that worked very well in our organization is the three Bs. Bottom floor, bathroom, and bus line. When you select a space, make sure it's on a bottom floor without steps to get in, that it has an accessible bathroom, and that it is on a bus line for people who need to use those. That's actually helpful for everybody. Sometimes it's as simple as coming up with new rules like that and having a value and policy that backs them up.
>> SuJ'n: Betty, how do we better engage people with disabilities in the decision‑making process?
>> BETTY: I think there are amazing things that we can all do. One is to think about the form of grant‑making that you're doing involves an adjudication panel to ensure that there are people with disabilities sitting in on and adjudicating. We all bring a different lens to the way we see the world, and in the same way that you look at other representation of other populations in your process, you need to look at disability as a type of community that needs to have representation in the process as well.
I think Risa is quite right, that you reach out to your local disability community to identify the adjudicators, or you can look at the national level for some local thinkers in this community. They definitely exist, and some of them are on this phone right now.
>> SuJ'n: Great. I'm going to keep you on just for a second. So, we have a question about as a grantmaker whose grants may not be used for capital improvements, I know you provided a list of other resources. And I don't know if in that list, there also was a list of regional grantmakers whose funds can be used for capital projects for accessibility, or if you know of other resources that you can share now?
>> BETTY: That's a great question, and it's the one that I hate the most, because I don't have a really good answer for you. A lot of donors and funders restrict the use of their dollars, and they're really focused on programmatic access. We need to remember that accessibility, the kind of things that we need to do to do capital improvements, should be a line item in our budget in the same way that we budget for toilet paper. You have to remember that access and making sure that things are physically accessible are just a part of the way that you're moving forward to address your built environment. That's not a satisfactory answer, and I might ask Anne and Risa if you are aware of any source for capital improvement dollars out there?
>> ANNE: If I can step in, this is Anne. We have a local funder that, you know, distributes 1% of our sales tax in our county, the Allegheny regional asset district. And they recently opened up one of their funds to include capital improvements. They have a capital ‑‑ and also, accessibility capital improvements. And I think that this is the sort of work that has to come from lenders of that size that are also local. They give away approximately 90 million dollars a year, and 10 of it is to art, sometimes more than that. Funders of that size, public funders or other organizations, you have to think about making it a priority for people, because all arts organizations will need some sort of capital support. But this is really a matter of gatekeeping. And if there's a physical gate, we should fund the removal of it.
>> SuJ'n: Risa, did you have anything to add?
>> RISA: No. I think, you know, Anne's example, I think there are other local, kind of, opportunities. But it varies.
>> SuJ'n: I'm going to keep you on for just a second. We do have a question about the crossover intersectionalty between racial equity and disability rights work, and they're absolutely ‑‑ I think it doesn't take an academic to know that there is intersectionalty between racial equity and disability rights. In your work, Risa, is the community addressing intersectionalty issues? And how we might encourage as we do our racial equity work and other types of equity work as funders, integrating the work of disability rights?
>> RISA: Yeah, so another great question. As you asked the question, really highlighted the intersectionalty and overlap. It would be ‑‑ it wouldn't be advantageous to not recognize that. Trying to address some of the intersectional items through the creation of the fact sheet series that I mentioned. We are in the design process right now, if you will, with one coming out, and it will be available on the website shortly, and a second one coming out soon. But, to go back, the first one I'm looking at, the intersection of youth and disability, and within that there is the intersection of race as well. It was a really small screen shot that I included on the slide. But if you are able to see, it highlights that the intersection of the opportunity with youth, young men who are out of work, especially between the ages of 15 and 24, I believe. That overlapped with the number of 13,000 of the 41,000 of those youth having a disability. So we are trying to continue the intersectional look at if an identity comes into play. If we continue the conversation here, it is committed to racial equity, and making sure that accessibility is continued. So, it didn't ‑‑ I didn't really totally answer the question. As I mentioned, my work is really going department to department, and so far I have only worked with marketing and communications, HR, and IT. So programs has not yet done this. It's just a random sort of order. There's no rhyme or reason for why. I hope that's clarity enough.
>> SuJ'n: Thank you. Anne, I'm going to direct the next question to you. How do you handle questions about the quality of artistic expression when prioritizing the expression of artists with disabilities in the programs that you run?
>> ANNE: I will say that I do not see a conflict there. This is part of our implicit bias. One of the things that holds back visual or performing artists. For performing, sometimes their bodies are not what we expect. And for visual, we dismiss their work as being more art therapy as opposed to high quality work. About a year ago, when Betty's leadership exchange was in Pittsburgh, we sent out a call nationally for visual arts show for artists with disabilities, and every single piece of work we got, you wouldn't know it was by an artist with a disability. They were not about disability. They were just good art.
So what I would suggest that you do is you remove the barriers to your process and see what comes in. And I think you'll be surprised at how good it really is.
>> BETTY: I think that Anne really stated it really well. I think we do have these biases that we view the world through, and it's really important to set that aside and just look at the quality of the work. There are artists out there whose work is amazing. And they have disabilities, and that's just a part of who they are as human beings. And if we invite that, we're going to get to where we want to be artistically.
>> SuJ'n: Right. Can you recommend an online grant application program that's set up to be accessible to all?
>> ANNE: Can I jump in here for a second? So I struggle with this. So this is my solution. I ask people to complete a Word document application and e‑mail it to me. And my work samples are a link. I don't want a file. I don't want you to upload anything. I just want a link. And then, literally, that's what I do. Google Forms is extraordinarily good. There's a way to maximize Google Forms for you to be able to use. And the nice thing is Google forms is cloud‑based so it's not all going to a server when everybody is submitted to minutes before your deadline, and it doesn't crash. It's also something where you can't save your work. It is one of the first applications we got in our new grant program by maximizing accessibility from the visual artist who was blind. When I called and asked her why she applied before, she said she was unable to do it on some other programs, but this was easy as pie. Google Forms is a good one. If you are paying someone to manage your online grant program, what you need to do is call them and ask. Slideroom used to be great. But as a local arts agency that's a nonprofit, we can't afford things like that. It's easier for me to use a Word document and have it e‑mailed to me.
>> SuJ'n: I'm going to add to it. With a Word document, I guess what I'm hearing, though, is that the onus ‑‑ the burden of organizing that information, really then falls on you. It's not like collated for you?
>> ANNE: Yes. I do a lot of photo copying. I measure my grant panel books in terms of weight instead of pages. The panelists like it. The barriers are low, so it's a decision that we've made to do that. And I have been doing this in our grant programs for five years now, and I've never had ‑‑ I've not had any problems aside from paper cuts.
>> SuJ'n: Right. I think this is a situation where we have to ask ourselves if we're committed to ‑‑ if we are committed to the social justice value. What kind of burdens are we willing to take on in order to remove the burdens on other people?
>> BETTY: Just to add on to that, don't forget, the U.S. Department of Justice has always held that websites, and so online application forms like this, they've always held that these do fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act. And so, have been talking about risks before. We have an obligation to look at what we're doing online and ensuring that it's accessible to people with disabilities as it is to anyone else. Looking at WC3 for their recommendations on how to make a website and online applications accessible would be a good place to start. And to make sure when you're entering into a contract to use a particular web‑based application, that you ask the vendor to please provide you with a statement or documentation that their product is accessible to people with disabilities.
>> SuJ'n: Thanks. I'm just going to ask one last question before we wrap up, and I think this is directed back to Anne, because it came out in your presentation that if Risa or Betty have anything to add that would be great. The question is, can you speak to the metrics that you include in your final reports? What does that look like, and how do you ask the question?
>> ANNE: In general, my response when we are dealing with final reports, I ask people to look at their application and tell me what really happened. For me, it begins at the beginning. When we're assessing applications about accessibility, and let's say it is a musical program in a nursing home, one of the questions that we will ask before I submit the application to the panel is: Do you have assistive listening? Do you have these things? And then they will answer the question yes or no. And then you will look at when the final report comes in, whether or not they've done that. And in general, my panels have difficulty scoring applications like that high, because they are working with a population that has a documented issues with mobility and hearing loss, and they're not actually making the work accessible to them. How effective is that grant? Another thing that I should caution you all about is that metrics about accessibility are difficult to gather. Betty's the expert on online ticketing. Let's say, for example, you want to measure how many people with disabilities use wheelchair seats. You can see how many wheelchair seats you sell, but you don't know if they're being used by people with disabilities or somebody who just wants more leg room. There are lots of different ways. We have struggled with this for years about it. For example, if you have captioning, you really don't know who's using it in your theater. What we've done is we have ‑‑ you can count the number of people who use an assistive listening device. You can count the number of people who take advantage of audio description, because they're going to need some equipment to do that. You can ‑‑ you know how many people have participated in a tour for people with museum tour and their care givers. The question is, are people keeping track of those numbers and are you asking to see them? General questions like are your performances held in accessible venues? You cannot answer that yes, because those definitions are too big and too broad. I suggest you look for metrics about patron engagement more than actual venues. And ask questions like, do you include all of your access ‑‑ your contact information for programmatic accessibility or questions about accessibility on all of your marketing materials?
>> BETTY: How you ask the question is carefully and with a great deal of thought about it. That's a good resource that you can use when you're crafting these general demographic questions.
>> RISA: I was just going to jump in and say that I know we're ending, but one thing I forgot say is that compliance is ‑‑ the guide there. We were trying to go beyond compliance and captions is a great one. But measuring impact is difficult. But we can keep a lot of e‑mails or in‑person stories about how the accommodations that someone never thought of, but they appreciated it. So documenting that is also a good way to try and go about directing some kind of testimonial.
>> SuJ'n: Thank you so much. Thank you to our great presenters, to Risa and Betty and Anne for sharing what you do at your organizations. Got so many great tips and resources for us to take back to our own organizations and look at our own practices. We will be sending out the links to today's recorded presentation and a PDF copy of the slide deck. There were links and resources and e‑mails in there. You will be getting a PDF copy in that. All of this will happen within the next day. We really hope that you will take a few moments to give us your feedback on today's session as we look into future programming on the topic or other topics of interest to you. Thank you for joining us. Have a great rest of your afternoon!