VSA Minnesota’s Service to State Arts Organizations
A good part of VSA Minnesota’s work involves making information available to state arts organizations in the areas of:
- Communication accommodations for people with disabilities (ASL interpretation, audio description, captioning);
- Awareness of various characteristics of people with disabilities;
- Referral to governmental agencies overseeing specific issues on disability (employment, legalities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.);
- Contacting Minnesota artists with disabilities.
In addition, VSA Minnesota conducts workshops for arts organizations in the areas of arts accessibility and regularly shares information about its granting programs for selected Minnesota arts organizations.
ADA Access Improvement Grant Recipients
Since 2010, 126 projects aimed specifically at increasing access to the arts for people with disabilities have been undertaken in seven Twin Cities area counties, thanks to funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which voters approved in 2008. A total of $1,468,000 has been awarded for ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations, administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC).
In nine Northwest Minnesota counties (served by the Lake Region Arts Council in Fergus Falls), four arts groups received a total of three grants in 2013, totaling $7,250.
The purpose of these grants is to enable nonprofit arts organizations to make improvements to their programs, projects, equipment, or facilities that will enhance access to the arts for people with disabilities. Such activities must advance the mission of the arts group, have the potential for significant or long-term impact in involving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs, and report measurable outcomes.
In the Metro area, 66 organizations have received ADA Access Improvement Grants. Projects funded have included 70 grants in Minneapolis, 31 in St. Paul, 4 in Eagan, 2 in Hopkins, 2 in Fridley, and 1 each in Burnsville, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Osseo, Roseville, Spring Lake Park, Stillwater, St. Louis Park, Victoria and White Bear Lake. Fourteen groups have received two grants each, one received three grants, five have received four, two have received five grants, three have received six, one has seven grants, and 40 have received one grant each.
In the Lake region, the three grants awarded in the first year went to:
- A Center for the Arts, Fergus Falls, received $2,000 for a curb cut and Audio Description training to make shows more accessible for people with vision loss;
- The Kaddatz Gallery, Fergus Falls, received $3,350 to install automatic door operators;
- The Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County and the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead used $1,900 for a collaboration to improve accessibility and increase attendance by visitors with disabilities in both museums.
If you know of an arts organization that could benefit from some accessibility improvements, tell them about this grant program. AND, tell VSA Minnesota and we can email or mail them the grant information, deadlines and dates of meetings and workshops.