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Making Your Space More Inclusive and Accessible: Resources

 Last updated on Nov 13, 2015

Did you know that 20% of the population identifies as having a disability, making disabled people America’s largest minority? According to New York City's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, New York City alone is home to more than 800,000. Did you know that disabled people have a reported $220 billion in discretionary income? Yet despite these numbers, disabled people represent a hugely underserved market, and that includes the thousands of disabled artists living and making work throughout the five boroughs. But the opportunity for you to connect with this vibrant and growing community of artists is lost if they can’t get through your doors.

While increasing your customer base may be your primary goal, making your venue accessible is about more than simply complying with legal requirements; it should celebrate the positive benefits of running a universally inclusive space. Improving the accessibility of your space and fostering a more inclusive environment can yield benefits that strengthen the culture of your venue from the top down.

How can I benefit from making my space more accessible and inclusive?

Where do I begin?

At Fractured Atlas, because our SpaceFinder NYC directory is home to thousands of spaces—some conventional, some not so conventional—we understand that New York City presents both unique opportunities and challenges when it comes to finding places to make compelling work. Whether you’re creating a site-specific piece on a boat or hosting an event in a turn-of-the-century church with no elevator, or even renting a studio in a building that isn’t your own, there are things you can do to improve accessibility While you likely won’t be able to take all of these steps and/or totally renovate your space, understanding how you can accommodate disabled artists and patrons and is a great starting point to move your space toward a more inclusive environment for all artists.

Evaluate Your Space

Developed by disabled artists exclusively for SpaceFinder NYC, we encourage you to use this checklist as a guide as you walk through your space. While it's not exhaustive and some of the considerations on the list may not apply to your venue, it will help you look at your space with an eye on accessibility and inclusiveness.

There are many accessibility checklists available online. These are a couple of our favorites:

Engaging Disabled Artists and Patrons: Make Accessibility Information Clear

Addressing accessibility features is not just for audience members, but also for renters and artists interested in using your space. By making information about your space’s accessibility clear, you’re helping your organization to reach a wider audience and increasing it’s visibility.

From the New Jersey Theatre Alliance: best practices for addressing accessibility

To learn more about the above steps, see these resources provided by the NJTA for more in depth details.

More Organizations and External References:

Thanks to Christine Bruno, actor and Disability Advocate from Inclusion in the Arts, for her assistance with this article.