Imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts. This goal of the Arizona Commission on the Arts can become a reality through the cooperation of the artists, arts organizations, arts educators, volunteers and supporters who comprise the Arizona arts industry.

Estimates regarding the number of Americans with disabilities vary between 54 and 58 million. Of these, over 1 million reside in Arizona. Individuals may have various types and degrees of disability, and these may be temporary or permanent, and can affect anyone. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications. Because the Arts Commission receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the State of Arizona, its grantees are expected to be in, or working towards the goal of, compliance with this federal legislation.

For questions or concerns related to the accessibility of arts programs or services, please contact Stacey Wong at (602) 771-6527 or [email protected].

Local Resources

  • Arizona Department of Economic Security Disability Resources local resources including, assistive technology and ADA; the blind & visually impaired; deaf & hearing impaired; developmental disabilities; general and government resources. Contact (602) 542-4791
  • Olmstead Rights/Arizona Disability Resources and Advocacy Organizations A list of links to government agencies and disability rights organizations in Arizona. They may be able assist with disability advocacy, home health services, home care, nursing aide services, Medicaid, accessing other community resources to help people with disabilities.
  • Arizona Center for Disability Law advocates for the legal rights of persons with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect and discrimination and to gain access to services, maximizing independence and achieving equality. Contact (602) 274-6287; [email protected]
  • Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ACBVI) offers individualized training utilizing state of the art technologies and proven rehabilitation practices, assisting clients in coping with vision loss – with courage and dignity. Provides the resources their clients need to achieve independence and a full participation in the spheres of life they choose. Contact (602) 273-7411; [email protected]
  • Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACDHH) is a national leader in the provision of communication access, support services, and community empowerment throughout the Grand Canyon State. The purpose of the ACDHH is to ensure, in partnership with the public and private sector, accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing to improve their quality of life. Contact (602) 542-3323 or videophone (480) 559-9441
  • Sun Sounds of Arizona provides audio access to print information to people who cannot read or hold print material due to a disability. Sun Sounds broadcasts the reading of over 200 local and national publications 24/7 from our studios in Tempe, Flagstaff, and Tucson. All reading is done by hundreds of trained volunteers, available on the radio, smart home devices, and internet, as a live stream or podcast. Contact (480) 774-8300; [email protected]
  • Arts for All offers creative programs for children and adults, leaders in providing accessible arts education in Tucson, AZ, particularly in the Greater Tucson Metro Area. Contact (520) 622-4100; [email protected]
  • Detour Company Theatre provides theatre training and performance experiences for adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, giving them authentic opportunities to develop artistry, demonstrate courage and collaboration, experience joy and participate in the sharing of musical theatre with the entire community. Contact (480) 256-2904; [email protected]
  • ARTabilityAZ (formerly VSA Arizona)  is a statewide organization whose mission is to create an inclusive community where people with and without disabilities can learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. Contact (520) 631-6253 or (602) 757-8118; [email protected]

National and Regional Resources

  • National Endowment for the Arts Office for Accessibility The (NEA) provides advocacy-technical assistance to make the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans and people living in institutions. Information on publications, checklists and resources; laws and compliance standards; state and regional art agencies accessibility coordinators; arts and healthcare; creativity and aging; and careers in the arts.
  • National Arts and Disability Center (NADC) is a leading consultant in the arts and disability community, and the only center of its kind. Information is aimed at artists with disabilities, arts organizations, arts administrators, disability organizations, performing arts organizations, art centers, universities, and arts educators.
  • United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Americans with Disabilities Act  The (ADA) provides information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, including laws and regulations, design standards, technical assistance materials and enforcement.
  • Olmstead Rights Olmstead is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision for people with disabilities.  The 1999 Supreme Court decision was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  This website provides Olmstead stories, self-help tools and resources, and legal advocacy tools.
  • VSA/The Kennedy Center Office of Accessibility The VSA ensures the arts are accessible to all—from children to older adults—they make Kennedy Center performances and facilities accessible to all audiences, and provide resources, programs, and opportunities for educators, cultural administrators, emerging and professional artists and performers with disabilities.
  • Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) is a regional arts organization, is committed to making programs and services accessible to all communities, while serving a wide array of constituents through arts technology tools. In addition, WESTAF encourages all grantees and member states to ensure all programming is fully accessible.
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)’s mission is to expand pathways to leadership, education, inclusive technology, and career opportunities to create a world of no limits for people who are blind, deafblind, or have low vision.
  • Art-Reach is a non-profit organization devoted to increasing cultural participation among traditionally underrepresented audiences in both the disability and low-income sectors, working with over 400 organizations across the cultural and human service sector to provide support in program development and to create opportunities for traditionally underserved audiences.
  • Community Access to the Arts (CATA) nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through the arts through a rich array of arts workshops—in painting, dance, theater, singing, drumming, juggling, yoga, creative writing, and more. Public events including an annual performance and year-round art exhibits bring the whole community into the act—shining a light on the ability within disability.
  • Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities (LEAD) As an integral part of the Kennedy Center’s Access/VSA International Network, the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) program advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities in arts and culture. With a focus on expanding the breadth and scope of accessible programming, LEAD provides an opportunity for professionals in the field to develop best practices and resources; engage in conversations with colleagues and experts from around the world; and learn practical methods for designing inclusive arts experiences and environments.


  • Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook (2003) Designed to help organizations not only comply with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, but to assist in making access an integral part of planning, mission, programs, outreach, meetings, budget and staffing.
  • Accessibility Planning and Resource Guide for Cultural Administrators – A companion to Design for Accessibility (2003), providing guidance to cultural administrators on how to achieve accessible and inclusive programming for everyone including individuals with disabilities and older adults. It is designed to help your organization not only comply with Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act but also to assist in making access an integral part of your organization, including its staffing, mission, budget, education, meetings, programs and beyond.
  • Section 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook -This workbook is designed to assist grant recipients in evaluating the current state of accessibility of their programs and activities to disabled visitors and employees. It is intended to assist organizations in their efforts to: (a) comply with the Endowment’s regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, including the preparation of a self-evaluation of all programs, activities, policies and practices to determine areas of noncompliance, and (b) better understand the relationship between 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is designed to be used in conjunction with Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook.
  • Tip Sheet on the 2010 Revised Regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act – Revisions to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations in the Federal Register that update and amend some of the provisions in the original 1991 ADA regulations. These changes include revised accessibility standards, called the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards), which establish minimum criteria for accessibility in design and construction. They have a specific effect on cultural venues, such as theaters or museums. It is not intended to be comprehensive.
  • American Printing House for the Blind (APH) as the world’s largest nonprofit organization creating accessible learning experiences through educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind and visually impaired.
  • Beyond the AP Stylebook: Language and Usage for Reporters and Editors – In 1987, the Associated Press Stylebook first published a list of guidelines for writing about people with disabilities. Since then, the “Ragged Edge” has collected guidelines developed by disability organizations and distilled them into Beyond the AP Stylebook, a document containing general tips applicable to any media portrayal of disability, regardless of disability type or article focus.
  • New Mobility is about exploring and enjoying life as a wheelchair user. With authentic voices and authoritative information, NM embodies the truth that living life with a mobility device can be rich and rewarding and fulfilling. As the member publication of United Spinal Association, the print edition of NM is a part of the organization’s mission to enhance the quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities.
  • The Ragged Edge – Archive website of content and articles on disability rights from the Ragged Edge Online (January, 1997), previously Electric Edge and The Disability Rag (1980).

Website Development

  • Disability Access SymbolsDownload these symbols to advertise accessibility to employees, customers, audiences, and anyone else who needs access to buildings or offices. Examples of places to promote include: advertisements, newsletters, conference and program brochures, membership forms, building signage, floor plans and maps.
  • National Center for Accessible Media – (NCAM)’s mission is to expand access to present and future media for people with disabilities; to explore how existing access technologies may benefit other populations; to represent its constituents in industry, policy and legislative circles; and to provide access to educational and media technologies for special needs students.
  • is the leading resource for user experience (UX) best practices and guidelines, serving practitioners and students in the government and private sectors.  The site provides overviews of the broad range of factors that go into web design and development. It also covers the related information on tools for making digital content more usable, useful and accessible. Usability Guidelines, research-based web design and usability guidelines that cover current trends and topics in digital communications, including but not limited to: responsive design, mobile strategy, applications (apps) and social media. Chapter 3: Accessibility provides accessibility guidelines, including how to comply with the Section 508.
  • Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) – Strategies, guidelines and resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. WAI is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an organization that helps keep the Web open, free and accessible to all. Readers can learn about accessibility initiatives and access user tools. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which provide the basis for many accessibility tools available today.

Museums and Facilities

  • Art Beyond Sight: Handbook for Educators and Museums -A handbook takes about the process of creating accessible programming for people with visual impairments. These ideas can be applied to programs for people with a broad range of abilities to create as inclusive an environment as possible. Made possible by the MetLife Foundation and Institute of Museum and Library Services, NEC Foundation of America, The Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust and the New York State Council on the Arts.
  • Maintaining Accessibility in Museums – Regardless of size or income, most museums have legal obligations to provide and maintain accessibility for visitors with disabilities: Privately operated museums are covered as public accommodations under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); museums operated by state or local governments are covered by the ADA’s title II; and museums that receive Federal funding – whether they are covered by title II or title III — are also covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. A fact sheet from the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section.
  • Smithsonian Accessibility Program Resources – The Smithsonian Institution offers a number of resources for museums to help them ensure that their collections and exhibitions are accessible and welcoming to all audiences.
  • Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design – Exhibitions are complex presentations that convey concepts, showcase objects, and excite the senses. However, as museums recognize the diversity within their audiences, they realize that exhibitions must do more: exhibitions must teach to different learning styles, respond to issues of cultural and gender equity, and offer multiple levels of information. The resulting changes in exhibitions have made these presentations more understandable, enjoyable, and connected to visitors’ lives. The Smithsonian challenges its exhibition teams to invent such solutions and to share those findings with colleagues through this document.

Theatre/Performing Arts

  • Enjoying Theater and Film When You Are Blind or Have Low Vision – As part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, several of the most popular television networks have made certain prime-time and children’s programs accessible to viewers with vision loss by adding video description. A wide range of cultural venues and activities now include adaptations for persons with disabilities, including blindness and low vision. Learn more about the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which requires that smart phones, television programs, and other modern communications technologies be accessible to people with vision and/or hearing loss.
  • Making Broadway Accessible for the Disabled – The Theater Development Fund’s accessibility program offers assistance to theatergoers with physical disabilities, including  services for the blind or those with low vision, the deaf or hard of hearing and patrons who can’t climb stairs or need wheelchair seating.
  • AXIS Dance Company – AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities, has paved the way for a powerful contemporary dance form called physically integrated dance.  The Company has toured extensively throughout the US and abroad. AXIS collaborates with world-class choreographers and composers; provides dance education for adults, youth and educators of all abilities  and socioeconomic backgrounds; and brings its outreach programs into schools, community centers, independent living centers, and to countless organizations seeking to learn more about dance, disability, and collaboration.
  • Coalition for Disabled Musicians (CDM) – The CDM is a Bay Shore, NY-based group of musicians with various disabilities who have developed creative ways to make music together. Some of their strategies have been technical; an “Adaptive Equipment” link on their site shows various stands that allow musicians to play instruments without supporting the weight of them. Other strategies include a “tag team” approach that allows musicians to spell each other when they become fatigued. Sound samples and profiles of the musicians are included on the site.
  • Full Radius Dance –  Full Radius Dance is a modern dance company that presents mature, choreographically complex works celebrating technique and physicality. The company’s focus is on skill and artistry; that some of the dancers use wheelchairs is secondary. The wheelchair may lend additional movement possibilities to the choreography, but is not the focal point of the work. Founded in 1990, Full Radius Dance, originally known as Dance Force, Inc. is one of only a handful of physically-integrated dance companies in the United States.
  • Infinity Dance Theater  – Infinity Dance Theater is a non-traditional dance company committed to expanding the boundaries of dance by featuring dancers with and without disabilities. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kitty Lunn, who founded the organization in 1995, Infinity achieves parity in the world of dance while maintaining high standards of artistic quality. The company aims to inspire people with and without disabilities, encourage their artistic and other professional aspirations, and empower them through the organization’s educational and performance programs.
  • The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League (PHAMALy)  – PHAMALy is a theatre group and touring company that performs throughout the greater Denver area. PHAMALy was formed in 1989 when a group of former students of the Boettcher School in Denver, Colorado, grew frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people living with disabilities, and decided to create a theatre company that would provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to perform. As a not-for-profit membership organization, PHAMALy is dedicated to producing traditional theatre in nontraditional ways.

Accessibility Resources for Educators and Administrators

  • Resources for Accessible Teaching – Northern Illinois University (NIU) Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center has compiled information and resources for faculty regarding accessible instruction.