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 Accessibility Webinars for Creative Spaces!

ArtsBuild Ontario is excited to announce upcoming accessibility webinars in the Learning Series! These webinars will focus on accessibility and creative spaces based on the Design for Public Spaces Standard, as part of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA). The webinars will explain how creative spaces need to meet accessible building standards and explore ways creative spaces can go beyond the standards.

The webinars will be supported by a toolkit for creative spaces around the topic of accessibility, which will be released in Spring 2019.

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.

Free Webinar: Let’s Talk About Disability and Creative Spaces
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Presenters:  Thea Kurdi, Vice President with DesignABLE Environments and Sage Lovell, Founder of Deaf Spectrum 
Register Here

Free Webinar:  Design for Public Spaces 101: Where do Creative Spaces Start?
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Host: 
Thea Kurdi, Vice President with DesignABLE Environments
Presenters: Jay Pitter, Placemaker, Author & City Building, and Yvonne Felix, Senior Manager at CNIB and public/community artist
Register Here

Free Webinar: Design for Public Spaces Advanced: How can Creative Spaces Go Beyond the Standard?
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Host:
 Thea Kurdi, Vice President with DesignABLE Environments
Presenters: TBD & Lorene Casiez, Accessibility Strategist, Practice Lead with Human Space
Register Here

Free Webinar: Best Practices for Architects, Designers and Creative Spaces on Accessibility
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Host: 
Thea Kurdi, Vice President with DesignABLE Environments
Presenters: Amy Potier, Accessibility and Building Code Specialist with Gensler as well as Corey Timpson, Principal at Corey Timpson Design Inc and former Vice President of Exhibitions at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Register Here 

Free Webinar: Safety, Fire Codes and Accessibility for Creative Spaces
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Host: Thea Kurdi, Vice President with DesignABLE Environments
Presenters: Martin Day, President of Safety Media Inc. and Marnie Peters, Accessibility Specialist
Register Here

Free Webinar: Invisible Disabilities and Creative Spaces
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Host: Thea Kurdi, Vice President with DesignABLE Environments
Presenters: Alex Bulmer, Accessibility Consultant & Actor, Writer and Director as well as Andrew Gurza, Disability Awareness Consultant
Register Here

Registration is available through Eventbrite and webinars are delivered through Adobe Connect with closed captioning. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation to register or participate in our webinars, please call 519-880-3670 ext. 101 or email erin@artsbuildontario.ca in advance of your participation.


CSMN 2020-21 Ends, & A New Iteration Begins

 

As one iteration for the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network closes, another one opens! We are grateful for everyone who took part in the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network 2020-2021 program, and we are pleased to officially welcome everyone participating in the CSMN 2021-2022 program. The 2021-2022 iteration kicked off on June 9 in preparation for the official start date of June 30 and we could not be more excited to hear about the developments of your creative space projects.

 

As a farewell to our 2020-2021 iteration of the program, a number of previous mentees would like to offer some final words as the program comes to a close:

“The mentoring process exposed me to new ideas and revelatory ways of thinking and problem solving. Just by listening to the perspectives and experiences of my mentor, Stephen Remus, we were developing innovative solutions for our creative spaces. The mentoring program by ArtsBuild Ontario supports and empowers arts administrators by developing their skills, confidence and networks.”

-Janet Jarrell, Executive Director of Quinte Arts Council

 

“We’re creating a neighbourhood support network that’s going to bring the arts and the other sectors right up into the forefront! We are as curious as anyone as to what this hub is eventually going to look like. My mentor, Olinda Casimiro, comes with a strong economic background and she has a really good sense of big picture dynamics. We’re just so grateful for her walking this journey with us, and yes, COVID has slowed us down, but I’m really happy with the DNA that we have found for what this eventually will become! Olinda has been very helpful strategically with us in that.”

-Hardy Steinke, Executive Director of Heart Comonos

 

“With the help of Heather Kelly, founder of HKC Marketing, I was able to move forward with my Flick the Switch Artists’ Collective Art Marketing Project. The Shopify website learning curve was overwhelming and there are so many other decisions to make.  Working alone is very difficult, but Heather helped me write a better plan, kept me on track, put things in perspective, and gave a lot of really good ideas! It’s been such a relief to have someone so bright and wise and full of ideas with whom to discuss strategies.”

-Susan N. Stewart, Founder of Flick the Switch Artists’ Collective

 

If you would like to learn more about the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network 2021-2022 iteration, please visit our webpage.


Taking PRIDE in Creative Spaces

June 1st marks the beginning of Pride Month, which celebrates the 2SLGBTQIA+ * community. Pride also reminds us all to reflect on the continued fight against discrimination and hate. The origin of Pride stems from the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City. Beginning with a raid on June 28th, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, over the course of a week thousands gathered at the Stonewall Inn. Protests against the New York City police department by 2SLGBTQIA+ groups lasted for a six day period. Although protests had occurred before, this uprising marked the beginning of a fundamental change in the perception of sexual orientation and gender identity on a broad scale. Many countries now host Pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, concerts and other events to reflect on the contributions, achievements, and struggles of 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

ArtsBuild Ontario encourages people to learn about and support 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces and organizations. While we highlight three Toronto-based groups here, we recognize that there are many others across the province and Canada. ArtsBuild Ontario does not discriminate and does not tolerate discrimination, against anyone based on their sexual preference, or gender identity, or mental and/or physical ability, and we strive to represent this commitment in our actions. Support for our 2SLGBTQIA+  colleagues, friends, and family doesn’t end when June does.

ArQuives

ArQuives, 2020

Located in Toronto, the ArQuives is the largest independent 2SLGBTQIA+ archive in the world. This archive documents history in a variety of different ways; textual records, audio visual records, posters, photographs, artifacts and artworks. The ArQuives welcomes contributions on an ongoing basis. This is a safe space for building a lasting repository where members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ can feel accepted, valued, and celebrated.

Donate here. 

Buddies in Bad Times

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Buddies in Bad Times is “Toronto’s leading destination for artistically rigorous alternative theatre and a world leader in developing queer voices and stories for the stage”. As the largest and longest-running queer theatre in the world, Buddies supports year-round programming that includes a full season of queer theatre, new works festivals, artist residencies, and intergenerational training and education initiatives. For over 40 years this renowned theatre has welcomed well over one million visitors and premiered over 1,000 works of unique content. 

Donate here. 

Artists Mentoring Youth ( The AMY Project)

This is a Toronto-based organization that is committed providing accessible, affirming performing arts training & creation programs for women and non-binary youth from equity-seeking communities. The AMY Project strives to break down barriers which cause youth to be unable to pursue their artistic passions. Whether social, economic, racial, etc, The AMY Project fights these systemic inequities to foster a safe and creative space. As part of their mandate, they offer “free performing arts training programs serving young women and non-binary youth. AMY breaks down barriers to participation by providing meals and transportation; accessible, queer and trans inclusive and anti-racist environments; one-on-one mentorship”. 

Donate here. 

*We recognize that this acronym does not encompass all sexualities, gender identities and expressions. ArtsBuild Ontario recognizes that there is a wide spectrum and our intention is to be as inclusive as we can.  For more information on terminology, click here.


Winter Internship through Humber College with ArtsBuild

During the Winter semester of 2021, ArtsBuild was fortunate enough to have a Program Assistant intern.

Warren Bain, a student of the Arts Administration & Cultural Management Program at Humber College, spent four months evaluating ArtsBuild’s programs and overall structures.

We recently caught up with Warren and here is what he had to say about his time with ArtsBuild.

Photo Credit: Mark Binks Photography

“As part of my learning with the Arts Administration & Cultural Management Program at Humber College I completed a winter internship with ArtsBuild Ontario. The entire placement occurred remotely online and I had an enjoyable experience. As a Program Assistant I worked closely with Interim Executive Director Diana Moser and Program Manager Amy Poole.

I was brought in to do an evaluation of much of ABO’s materials in what I came to call “An Outside Perspective on the Current Workings of ArtsBuild Ontario”. Diana helped steer me through close to 10 years of material and I was happily given agency to ask for whatever I needed and encouraged to investigate whatever I was curious about. The full report came to 40 pages in length and as ABO looks ahead to a new Strategic Plan, I am hopeful that my report will be of value and use.

The internship was a stimulating and informative learning experience for me. I was tasked with completing many different administrative jobs including reporting, data entry, research, and analysis. I participated and engaged in written and spoken communication through weekly staff meetings, emails (I got my own fancy ABO email to use), reporting, and representing ABO during third party engagements (webinar’s, a CPAMO meeting, and a Scarborough arts meeting). The evaluation was my first solo undertaking of such a large-scale administrative project, and stress management was key to the success of my writing. This was a challenge I had not fully appreciated, and I am happy to have experienced it in an internship especially considering the breadth of health management many people have had to navigate while working from home.

My experience with ABO led me to learn of many arts organizations in Ontario. Arts work can often be lonely work but my time with ABO showed me how connected we all are. I look forward to hearing more from great companies and ABO in the future – though not through a screen but rather in real life!”

Thank you Warren for your hard work throughout the semester!


ArtsBuild Ontario’s New Resource Library Launched

ArtsBuild Ontario is happy to launch the newly revamped Resource Library! The Resource Library includes external resources on Building, Managing, Financing, and Greening your creative spaces. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive collection of external resources to support the development and sustainability of non-profit, arts, heritage, community, and faith-based organizations’ spaces and projects. ArtsBuild Ontario is happy to offer this resource, and we look forward to growing it even more over time!

Click here to visit the Resource Library!


ArtsBuild Ontario Announces New Program & Communications Coordinator

KITCHENER – April 28, 2021 – ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) is happy to announce the appointment of Tatiana Poluch as the new Program & Communications Coordinator.

Tatiana will be responsible for supporting ABO program and project deliverables, managing all internal and external communications, and coordinating the 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace activities. Tatiana comes to ABO with a background in museum studies, historical researching, and writing.

“We’re excited to have Tatiana join ABO! She brings key skills and a fresh perspective to our organization, and we are looking forward to the future with Tatiana as part of our team.” – Diana Moser, Interim Executive Director

Tatiana is experienced in content curation, community engagement, and program development in the arts and culture sector. She is dedicated to promoting the arts and furthering the reach of diverse artists and their vision. She volunteers with several arts organizations such as the Guelph Arts Council and Remarque Art Consulting.

Tatiana holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph, with a History major and Art History minor, as well as a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto.

Please join us in welcoming Tatiana to her new role at ABO!