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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.


ABO welcomes Kristian Clarke as President and Chris Plunkett as Vice President of our Board of Directors

ABO is pleased to share the appointment of Kristian Clarke, Executive Director of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, as ABO’s new Board President. A long time arts sector advocate, Clarke brings with him decades of knowledge and experience in the sector and we are thrilled to have him lead the Board of Directors through the next few years.

Joining Clarke, as the Vice President, is Chris Plunkett, VP of Global Communications coming from OpenText located in Waterloo. During another period of growth, we are thankful for Plunkett’s experience and knowledge of the tech sector locally here in KW.

ABO extends a heartfelt thanks to Past President, Chris Loreto, Principal with Strategy Corp, after serving for 9 years on the board. In 2012, Loreto joined the Board of Directors and soon began serving as President. Under his leadership Loreto led a fulsome strategic planning process and developed our first Strategic Plan in 2014. Three years later, he led a refresh that continued to support our ongoing initiatives and provided direction to new opportunities.

ArtsBuild would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of our outgoing board members for their contributions to our organization.

Will Chow served on ABO’s board for the past 4 years. Chow brought with him expertise in finance and capital infrastructure and we were fortunate to have his insight and participation as a mentor in our Creative Spaces Mentoring Network.

Randy Dalton was been a long-standing board member of ABO since 2012. Dalton was a tremendous support in our LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT program, bringing his decades of capital infrastructure to the program as well as financial contributions.

We would also like to thank the rest of our Board Members that continue to support our work; Bill Ralph, Treasurer; Nisha Dhaliwal, Director; and Zainub Verjee, Chair of our Advisory Committee.


Announcing the Creative Spaces Online Training Series!

Designed to support arts managers in building the core skills related to undertaking capital projects and ongoing operations, ABO is excited to share the news of our four part Creative Spaces Training Series! In this series, topic experts working in the sector will deliver four webinars. Each module focuses on selected topic areas identified by ABO’s network of 2,500+ arts organizations.

The Four Training Series Modules include:

Module #1: Strategic Planning and Partnerships
Presenter: Devin Glowinski, Co-Founder, Kilogram Studios
Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 1pm – 2:30pm
Cost: $25

Register HERE!

Module #2: Financial Management and Capital Projects
Presenter: Brian Arnott, Principal, Novita Interpares
Thursday, November 21,  2019 | 1pm – 2:30pm
Cost: $25
Register HERE!

Module #3: Capital Campaigns and Community Engagement
Presenter: Brian Arnott, Principal, Novita Interpares
Thursday, December 5th, 2019 | 1pm – 2:30pm
Cost: $25

Register HERE!

Module #4: Operational Planning Before, During and After a Capital Project
Presenters: Lauren Gould, Chief Operating Officer, Gardiner Museum and Jeanne LeSage, Principal, LeSage Arts Management
January 23, 2020 | 1pm – 2:30 pm
Cost: $25

Register HERE!

Read full module descriptions and presenter bios on the Training Series Webpage HERE!

Arts managers will have the opportunity to engage with presenters during the sessions. Participants will be provided with module materials, link to the recording and resources following the webinar.

These modules are designed for arts managers working within creative spaces under a variety of operating models and communities. If you have any questions about the series or would like more information, please contact Amy Poole, Program Manager, at amy@artsbuildontario.ca.

This project is made possible by the Department of Canadian Heritage.


Fall Workshops for LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT

This Fall,  don’t miss your chance to experience LEARN IT | BUILD IT | MANAGE IT Part 1 in Orangeville, Waterloo and Guelph!

This year, topics will be on Alternative Financing for Capital Projects and Engaging Community in Capital Projects with presenters from Community Forward Fund and Cobalt Connect.

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: Thursday, February 27, 2020
Time: 9:30 a.m.  – 3:00 p.m.
Location: 10 Carden
Host: Guelph Arts Council
Register HERE!

ABOUT THE SESSIONS

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, Julia Vlad, the Vice President of Lending for the Community Forward Fund, will offer insights and alternative strategies to finance capital projects.

Julia Vlad leads the investment and portfolio management for the Community Forward Fund and the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund. She has over ten years of experience in banking, finance and the non-profit sector. Her experience includes investing and portfolio management at the World Bank’s private sector arm, IFC, in Panama, Senegal and USA; advising social entrepreneurs at an accelerator in Nicaragua and financial analysis and forecasting at Scotiabank. She holds an MBA from HEC Paris, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and is a CFA charter holder.

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.

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.


Announcing new Interim Executive Director at ABO

ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO), through Board Chair, Chris Loreto, would like to announce that Executive Director Patricia McKinna, has departed ABO to begin her new role as Executive Director at the Siminovitch Prize. The Board of Directors thanks Patricia for her contributions to ABO and wishes her well in her new capacity. Alex Glass, Program and Assistant Executive Director, will be assuming the role of Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. Details regarding a call for a permanent Executive Director will be released in the fall.

Ms. Glass has been an integral part of the team at ABO since January 2015, having held roles in marketing, communications and programming, and most recently as Program and Assistant Executive Director. In this role, she has successfully launched new programs under funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and Province of Ontario. In addition, she has provided leadership to our creative hub space at 44 Gaukel.

Ms. Glass can be reached at 519.880.3670 ext 103 or alex@artsbuildontario.ca.

Lindsay Golds, former Executive Director will be working directly with Alex and the board of directors to assist with this transition.

ABOUT ARTSBUILD ONTARIO

ArtsBuild Ontario is the only organization in Ontario dedicated to realizing long-term solutions for building, managing and financing the sustainable arts facilities needed in Ontario communities. We are a non-profit arts service organization that provides organizations with training, tools and resources that support the development and management of creative spaces such as theatres, galleries, concert halls, museums and other creative spaces.


KITCHENER OFFICE
44 Gaukel Street
Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4P3
CONTACT US
519.880.3670
info@artsbuildontario.ca