July 26 marks the 30th Anniversary since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. This law which, among several purposes, set out “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” (https://www.ada.gov/pubs/adastatute08.htm#12101b), allowed for fundamental shifts to occur within educational, workplace, and public settings as well as put in place requirements for accommodations to be made so that everyone is able to utilize services whether that be dining at a restaurant or taking the city bus. ADA put in place so many aspects of now day to day life that it can sometimes be overlooked the importance of this law and the decades long collective work it took from disability rights activists, like Judy Heumann, to be realized. Still, more needs to be done.
The arts are no exception to the important impact ADA has for all of us who engage in this field. From thinking through the accommodations of a performance space, to a lesson plan which will engage the creative expression of the public, or broadcasting a live showcase; the ADA touches on many ways we in Arizona participate in, experience, and enjoy the arts. This to say, the Arizona Commission on the Arts recognizes that the work of ensuring Accessibility is ongoing work. With that charge in mind, The Arts Commission wishes the ADA a happy anniversary as well as share our commitment to deepening conversations with and action on Accessibility for the arts within communities throughout the state. This work is inspired by and in alignment with our Agency’s mission to “imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts”.