Success Stories from ABO’s Accessibility Webinar Series

This past year, ArtsBuild Ontario presented six webinars in the Learning Series aimed at supporting creative spaces in understanding and going beyond the Design of Public Spaces Standard as part of the Accessibility for Ontarians Act (AODA).

We are excited to share some success stories from different arts leaders across the province who have applied key learnings from these webinars to their organization or practice!  Have a read through them all below:

Success Story #1: Informing Accessibility Plans

“The [webinar] was presented in a different perspective with more of a real connection to day-to-day ways of interpreting visitor needs.  It was overall, very informative and helpful as we all work toward goals of inclusion and accessibility.

This webinar has created a good way to re-assess our current accessibly plan and is a reminder that we should evaluate the plan on a more regular basis-including input from those whose needs should be met in a public space. As there are people of many different abilities, there always seems to be more to learn in the area of accessibility. Putting that information into the context of creative spaces definitely added to my current level of knowledge and the mindset needed to actually think about and implement solutions”.
– Participant from Webinar: Let’s Talk About Disability and Creative Space

Success Story #2: Deepening Discussions with Clients

As an architect, Sandra Iksandar is more than familiar with building codes and provincial legislation. Participating in the webinar Best Practices for Architects, Designers & Creative Spaces on Accessibility served as a reminder of the value added that comes with going above the legislation to create accessible and inclusive spaces. Demonstrating how accessible buildings can be stylistically creative and visually appealing, speakers provided examples that were transferable to her clients. She was able to bring this information to her clients, and communicate the importance of considering accessibility in the planning phases of a renovation project and specifying accessibility in the Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

Success Story #3: Implementing Accessible Signage

For Lisa Wacheski, this webinar series has had a direct impact on the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village’s upcoming renovation project. Board approval has recently been given to go forward with a grant application for the replacement of signage in the museum. While they are still in the planning stage, information has been shared with board members on the need to adjust the signage to better reflect those with varying accessibility needs in terms of sight and language. As a result, the creation and installation of new signs will include both English and French, larger font, better lighting and appropriately displayed based on lines of sight, to take into great account the variety in abilities of their visitors.

Success Story #4: Transforming Spaces

From this webinar series, two underlying messages resonated with Michelle Alderson, Production & Event Coordinator at the Al Green Theatre.  Firstly, she appreciated the examples that demonstrated how organizations have implemented creative designs to eliminate barriers in their facilities and remain a thriving community hub. Secondly, she was pleased the webinars highlighted the importance of forward facing customer service, consulting patrons with lived experiences and asking patrons how a space can better suit their needs.

As a member of her facility’s Accessibility Committee, she has shared lessons learned and resources provided with the committee, and will be applying them to an upcoming renovation project at the theatre. Along with plans to lower the information desk, they will soon be transforming the old box office room in their lobby into a designated area to support individuals with visible and invisible disabilities. As a multi-use space, it will be used as a quiet zone for individuals with sensory processing concerns and as a designated space to identify and make requests for access needs. It will also be equipped with assistive devices to help individuals communicate with staff if needed. As individuals of varying demographics and abilities frequent their public lobby, these facility upgrades are intended to insure their space is accommodating and inclusive.
 

Success Story #5: Improving Experiential Accessibility

In the webinar: Invisible Disabilities and Creative Spaces, presenters Alex Bulmer and Andrew Gurza highlighted practical solutions to empower creative spaces to better welcome and accommodate invisible disabilities. These included processes such as extending the time limits of online ticketing platforms; offering scent free spaces and the importance of making patrons feel comfortable expressing their access needs either in person or through digital platforms.

A participant from the webinar notes “we can update our approach to encourage a better and more inclusive level of customer service through some of the suggested practices mentioned in the webinar. We will update our orientation and training for staff and volunteers to reflect as many of these key points as we can.”


Announcing the release of ABO’s Accessibility Toolkit for Creative Spaces!

ArtsBuild Ontario is proud to be releasing our Accessibility Toolkit for Creative Spaces!

This toolkit provides resources on accessibility legislation in Ontario, including the AODA and Design of Public Spaces Standards, Ontario Building Code and Human Rights Code. While it features resources for best practices in the built environment, it also focuses on experiential accessibility including how arts organizations are going beyond the built environment to offer inclusive space.

Download the PDF Version by clicking on the Button Below:

Button to access PDF version of Accessibility Toolkit for Creative Spaces in Ontario

Download the Microsoft Word Version by clicking on the Button Below:

Button to access Microsoft Word version of Accessibility Toolkit for Creative Spaces in Ontario

We want your feedback!  After reviewing the toolkit, please take a few moments to complete this survey so we can continue to improve programs around accessibility in creative spaces.

Find ABO’s accessibility webinar series, resources and toolkit on our Accessibility Webpage HERE.

ABO would like to thank its accessibility advisory committee for informing the webinar topics, speakers and upcoming toolkit for creative spaces in Ontario. This project is supported by the Government of Ontario.


ABO Responds to the Provincial Budget

On Thursday April 11th, the Province of Ontario released the 19/20 Budget. Under the 10-year “Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program” [ICIP] announced March 12, Ontario’s share per project will be up to 33 per cent, or $10.2 billion spread across four streams: 1. Rural and Northern 2. Public Transit 3. Green 4. Community, Culture and Recreation but the budget provided very few specifics as related to the fourth category.

Intake for the first category, Rural and Northern, is currently open until May 14 and will focus on road, bridge, air or marine infrastructure in rural and northern communities with populations under 100,000 people.

It is not clear yet how this provincial budget intends to support the fourth category, Community, Culture and Recreation, in terms of cultural space as the only references that can potential benefit them include soliciting expressions of interest for a new vision for Ontario Place and $315 million over five years for shovel-ready broadband projects in rural and remote areas.

ArtsBuild Ontario is hopeful about the potential for provincial support of cultural spaces with the launch of ICIP but still believe strongly that the province should maintain its own capital infrastructure fund to continually support the infrastructure needs of our creative spaces province wide. ABO will continue to advocate for this fund.

Full application details for all categories as they become available are found at the Grants Ontario website (click on Grant Opportunities), a “one-window” source for applicants, handling application intake, review, nomination, reporting and transfer payment management processes.

The full budget can be found here: http://budget.ontario.ca/2019/index.html


Announcing LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT 2019-2020!

LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT is back! This two part workshop and webinar series will be offered over 2019-20 in the communities of Kitchener, Cambridge, Orangeville, Waterloo and Guelph. Through this series, ABO and presenting partners will be sharing local examples and strategies related to four key areas that support creative space capital projects. These include: Alternative Financing, Community Engagement, Building and Maintaining creative spaces.

PART 1 WORKSHOPS IN 2019

LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT PART 1 will offer two sessions on Alternative Financing for Capital Projects and Engaging Community in Capital Projects.

Alternative Financing for Capital Projects

While securing funds to renew and develop creative spaces is often top of mind for arts leaders, the answer is never simple. In this session, we will explore alternative funding and financing methods that can help creative spaces support their projects. Drawing on recent examples and local successes, Christina Baker, the Director of Community Lending for the Community Forward Fund, will offer insights and alternative strategies to finance capital projects.

This session is intended for non-profit arts, culture, heritage, faith and community organizations looking for solutions to financing their current or upcoming creative space project.

About our Presenter Christina Baker

Christina Baker leads business development and community lending at Community Forward Fund and the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund. She has more than 15 years of experience promoting positive community and economic growth while providing lending and financial services to businesses and community-based organizations. She holds an MBA in Finance from George Fox University and a BS in Communications from Portland State University.

 

About the Community Forward Fund

The Community Forward Fund (CFF) is an $11 million fund that provides loans to organizations that are committed to making a difference in their communities. We provide loans tailored to the needs of non-profits, Charities and social-enterprises – flexible financing that supports delivery of their mission and growth of enterprises. We also build financial capacity through financial reviews and coaching services. To date, CFF has advanced $18 million in loans to over 45 organizations across 8 sectors and 7 provinces and territories.

 

Engaging Community in Capital Projects

When building or renovating a creative space, uncovering and integrating community needs are essential for the success of a project. In this session, Jeremy Freiburger, Chief Connector and Cultural Strategist of Cobalt Connect, will be sharing strategies and recommendations for engaging the local community in capital projects and developing creative spaces around community needs.

This session is intended for non-profit arts, culture, heritage, faith and community organizations looking to engage community in their current or upcoming creative space project.

About our Presenter Jeremy Freiburger

Jeremy Freiburger is the Chief Connector and Cultural Strategist of Cobalt Connect. Jeremy has been a leader in Hamilton’s creative community for over 15 years. His experience ranges from producing award-winning theatre and ballet with the RBC Festival of Classics and Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble, to developing more than 200,000 square feet of studio facilities, to writing policy and plans for municipalities focused on creative sector development.

Focusing primarily on regional and municipal partnership development, and organizational development, Jeremy is the founder of Cobalt Connects. Jeremy has spoken at dozens conferences on the subject of creative community economic development, and has sat on many boards and committees including the Our Cultural Community Committee (Chair, City of Hamilton Cultural Plan), Supercrawl, CANVAS and the Bay Area Restoration Council.

About Cobalt Connect

Cobalt Connects is a non-profit arts service organization designated by the Ontario Arts Council. Cobalt Connects was initially created to address the need for affordable artist studios and cultural spaces, but has grown over the past fifteen years into a dynamic organization with expertise in cultural programming, research, and implementation.

Dividing its activities into four core areas (Space, Exchange, Consulting and Public Art), Cobalt Connects is actively playing a role in developing cultural capacity in Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Barrie and dozens of other municipalities each year.  Our on-the-ground experience in arts programming and implementation combined with our extensive research and policy development with municipalities makes us a unique partner for a wide variety of projects.

 

WORKSHOP LOCATIONS AND DATES:

KITCHENER
Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
Host: City of Kitchener
Register HERE!

CAMBRIDGE
Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Cambridge Centre for the Arts, Donaldson Room
Host: City of Cambridge
Register HERE!

ORANGEVILLE
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Theatre Orangeville
Host: Theatre Orangeville
Register HERE!

WATERLOO
Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Visitor & Heritage Centre
Host: City of Waterloo
Register HERE!

GUELPH
Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: 10 Carden
Host: Guelph Arts Council
Register HERE!

Learn more about Webinars and Part 2 Workshops on the LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT program page. 

This program is presented in partnership with the Community Forward Fund, Cobalt Connects, the Dalton Company and WalterFedy

LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT is generously supported by the the Ontario Trillium Foundation


Work with us! We are hiring a Community Coordinator

Job Description

Reporting to the Program & Assistant Executive Director, duties include: supporting rentals at 44 Gaukel (an arts and tech hub in downtown Kitchener); supporting ArtsBuild Ontario’s (ABO) programs as needed; actively working with organizations to list their rentals on SpaceFinder across Ontario. This will involve outreach to creative spaces across the province.

Key Responsibilities

44 GAUKEL

  • Work with Program & Communications Coordinator to support rentals program at 44 Gaukel
  • This involves working with artists, organizations and community groups interesting in using rental spaces
  • Provide tours, coordinate key sign outs, prepare rental agreements and track payments
  • Work with Program & Communications Coordinator to update 44 Gaukel website

SPACEFINDER

  • Work with organizations in listing on SpaceFinder across Ontario; this includes walking organizations through the registration process
  • Work with Program & Communications coordinator to provide support to users
  • Contribute to other outreach and marketing efforts for SpaceFinder, such as social media, blog posts and communications

SOCIAL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Work with Program & Communications coordinator to develop social media strategies
  • Support communications plans and develop content for ABO’s blog

Skills Required

  • Post secondary education in related field (arts management, communications, non-profit management)
  • Minimum of 1 year related experience working with non-profit/arts/community organizations
  • Ability to work independently and as a team player within defined timelines
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively with quick turn-arounds
  • Well organized, self-starter who is attentive to detail
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Demonstrated experience and skill with various social media
  • Previous working experience in database programs and online tools an asset
  • Website experience, specifically Word Press considered an asset
  • Able to multi-task and work well in an entrepreneurial and creative environment
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Superior interpersonal skills to build enthusiastic partnerships and alliances
  • Willingness and an ability to learn on the job a must
  • Able to work flexible hours, some evenings, weekends and travel required

Learning Opportunities

  • Build experience in social media, marketing and outreach
  • Development and fundraising: soliciting donation, sponsorship requests, auction organization
  • Networking opportunities with arts facilities and arts service organizations across the province
  • Gain applied experience using web-based platforms (Adobe Connects, HootSuite, MailChimp, Survey Monkey, WordPress and Eventbrite)
  • Gain applied experience working with database systems and online tools with SpaceFinder
  • Gain facility management experience through rentals at 44 Gaukel and working with ABO Staff

Additional Info:

  • Downtown Kitchener location
  • Part-time (three days a week, up to 30 hrs/week ,may include weekends and/or evenings)
  • $17-19/hr depending on experience
  • 3-month probationary period
  • Must live in Kitchener-Waterloo

Apply by April 20, 2019

https://charityvillage.com/app/job-listings/fcfbf7d8-1f4c-e911-80da-14187768272a