Indiana University is making great strides to creating access to the arts for people with disabilities. In fact, an Indiana University based project was named in a national award presented to the Indiana Arts Commission for making the arts accessible and inclusive for seniors and disabled people through ArtsWork Indiana.
The award is the 2009 National Accessibility Leadership Award/ grant. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the award was presented to the Indiana Arts Commission for its leadership in making arts fully inclusive in programming throughout the state.
ArtsWork Indiana was the result of a discussion in 2004 about the ability for people with disabilities to access the same Indianapolis arts programming as every other Hoosier in the state. The group facilitates access to careers in the arts for people with disabilities by creating awareness and education programs and providing support and encouragement. Among ArtsWork’s accomplishments is an online comprehensive resource on arts careers on their website. This database provides employment listings, internships and other arts opportunities. In addition, it helps to connect Indianapolis artists through a discussion forum and a directory.
On a regular basis ArtsWork Indiana hosts guest speakers, who address a variety of topics ranging from marketing, artwork sales and funding opportunities. In the spring of this year, the program took to the road, bringing resource, information and speakers to six different areas in the state. The group partners with Indianapolis nonprofit organizations, disability service providers and some of the largest colleges and universities in Indiana to host these free workshops.
The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts had this to say, “…The Indiana Arts Commission will help ensure even more opportunities for American artists in three ways… artists of every background should have the opportunity to create new art work, they should participate in all the ways that art can work to expand us as human beings and knit together our communities; and perhaps most importantly, they should have the chance to be working artists who are part of this country’s real economy.”
Congratulations to ArtsWork Indiana on their national accomplishment. Their contribution to Indianapolis arts is invaluable to the Indianapolis community. For more information about ArtsWork Indiana, visit there website.