The American Council of the Blind presented Awards for Achievements in Audio Description at its 2019 Conference and Convention and 16th Audio Description Institute in Rochester, NY. Awards presented July 9 at a general session of the convention marked the value of Audio Description, which makes visual images accessible for more than 21 million Americans with significant vision loss.
Jon Skaalen, VSA Minnesota staff since 1999, received the 2019 Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description, recognizing outstanding contributions to the field of audio description, leading, inspiring or providing significant service to others. Jon has managed the Accessible Arts Calendar which publicizes events that offer audio description, tactile tours and other services used by people with vision or hearing loss or other disabilities (via email, website, phone, print and social media). He has coordinated grant funding to help organizations offer accessibility accommodations and training opportunities. The award stated he has been a consistent champion for patrons and artists with disabilities, a tireless advocate for the provision of greater access to the arts.
Hunter Gullickson, the Guthrie Theater’s accessibility manager, was recognized for Achievement in Audio Description – Performing Arts. The Guthrie’s strong tradition of providing access services has grown and become more effective under his leadership. Hunter supervises nearly 50 performances every season that are each Audio Described and interpreted in American Sign Language. He manages an equipment loan program for organizations to borrow Audio Description and Captioning equipment. He coordinates free sensory tours for all mainstage plays and produces large print programs, and alternate-format materials for classes.
Thanks to the Audio Description Project Director Joel Snyder and the selection committee for recognizing these achievements!