Accessible Facilities

Okay, an abbreviated entry today. I wrote a fairly long entry detailing why I was researching the Americans with Disabilities Act but my web browser decided to cut out leaving me to start all over again. I was going to wait another day, but tomorrow I am going to see Dana Gioia, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, speak so I most likely won’t be able to make an entry tomorrow.

So any, the resources I cited in my disappearing entry were the National Endowment’s Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook which was extremely complete. It not only had information on the act, but had illustrations of dimensions of theatre seating, ramps, placement and lighting of signers in signed performances. It discussed training of staff and volunteers and even included a suggested format of a meeting to discuss accessibility issues for facilities. As the title suggests, it also gives guidelines for planning for a facility to be accessible if you are building or renovating one.

Each chapter includes helpful links and references books one might want to read. I found this helpful because I didn’t feel that their guidelines on interaction with persons with disabilities was complete enough. The ironic thing is, I judge it incomplete in comparison with a list of guidelines I once had that the NEA itself had put out.

The links, however, direct you to the San Antonio, TX city website that has a good list of terminology to use. A link to the United Cerebral Palsy Association had a good listing of basic etiquette. The Community Resources for Independence, while not listed in the NEA document, also has a good site for interaction guidelines.

Okay, that is about it right now. I will let you know what I think of Dana Gioia on Wednesday.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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