Accessibility services and amenities help all share in the arts
Posted Jan 03, 2020
The arts have a way of bringing people together, sharing relatable music, stories and characters that make people feel at home. That’s why arts organizations continue to strive to make their patrons, visitors and participants feel welcome, understood and like they can fully enjoy the experience by providing amenities and services to make the arts more accessible for all.
Whether it is removing financial barriers with scholarship tickets, free admission to activities and diverse programing at differing price points, or providing accessible seating, the variety of ways organizations work to ensure all can enjoy the arts are unlimited.
“We try to offer many options and empower our teams to do what is necessary to make sure everyone is comfortable and able to enjoy the show,” said Steve Jahnke, manager of volunteer and audience services at the Fox Cities P.A.C.
While the Center was built to offer amenities like a drop-off lane at Valet, wheelchair accessible seats, elevators and power assisted doors, it has continued to add services that allow more patrons to enjoy the show with their friends and families.
From features like T-coil Hearing Loop and American Sign Language, large print and Braille programs and a social story, to amenities like booster seats for our youngest patrons, the Center has responded to the needs of patrons. This year the Center continues its recent tradition of offering a sensory-friendly performance with the spring’s Diary of a Wombat. At the beginning of the season, a new Parent Suite opened in partnership with Women’s Health Specialists, providing a quiet, private space for parents during their visit to the Center. Whether a new mother needs a lactation space or a parent needs a quiet place to calm or change a child, this space provides a resource for all parents visiting the Center.
Also new this season, GalaPro’s mobile captioning service enhances patron’s experiences for select shows. Designed as a solution to provide more accessibility to the arts, The GalaPro app allows audiences to customize their performing arts experiences with individual captioning to the user’s own mobile device. All content is provided in real-time, using voice recognition technology developed specifically for live performances. Between GalaPro and traditional captioning services, this season more patrons than ever will be able to enjoy the arts.
“As a gathering place for the community, we constantly strive to ensure the arts are engaging and accessible for all,” Fox Cities P.A.C. president Maria Van Laanen said. “Many touring productions are just beginning to utilize GalaPro and the Parent Suite had been a requested amenity for some time. Being able to provide these services, and continue to explore new ways to enhance audience experience, is critical to ensuring we remain a premier venue for everyone who visits.”
The arts are designed to be enjoyed by all, which often requires different ways to enjoy them. With special times set aside at museums, services at live performances and a variety of venues and art forms, organizations are working individually and together to ensure as many as possible can share in the power the arts have to bring us together.