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The Tennessee Arts Commission works to ensure that the arts are available to every Tennessean regardless of geography, income, age, race, physical ability and/or any other barrier. All of our grantees sign a contract assuring that they will comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation

The information listed below can be used as resources in expanding accessibility efforts.

General Information

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Office of Accessibility 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook: A key administrative requirement of Section 504 and ADA regulations are for state agencies and cultural organizations that receive federal funds to conduct a self-evaluation to identify barriers to accessibility. Grantees of the Commission are encouraged to complete the 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook after each receipt of federal funds and upon completion, print and file within the organization’s office.

Arts & Inclusion: A Guide for Expanding Access to The Arts for Persons with Disabilities: The Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities hosted a series of conversations across the state and this guide developed from those conversations (2014).

Downloadable Disability Access Symbols: Download appropriate symbols for your organization’s communications.

Website Accessibility

The Commission does not endorse any of these sites, but references them as resource options.
Best Practices for Web Accessibility
Testing a web page for accessibility

National Resources

American Foundation for the Blind: The American Foundation for the Blind removes barriers, creates solutions, and expands possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential.

Institute for Human Centered Design: Promotes design that works for everyone across the spectrum of ability and age and enhances human experience. It provides easy access to information and guidance about the civil rights laws and codes that provide a bedrock of accessibility in the US, as well as providing education and consultation about strategies, precedents and best practices that go beyond legal requirements to design places, things, communication and policy that integrate solutions to the reality of human diversity.

National Arts and Disability Center: The 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, museums, arts administrators, disability organizations and agencies, performing arts organizations, art centers, universities, arts educators and students

National Endowment for the Arts: NEA Office for Accessibility: This office is the advocacy-technical assistance arm of the National Endowment for the Arts to make the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people living in institutions.

U.S. Department of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act: Resource for ADA Regulations and Technical Assistance Manuals.

VSA: VSA is the international organization on arts and disability founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. In 1985, the name changed to Very Special Arts and in 2010 it became VSA. In 2011, VSA merged with the Kennedy Center’s Office on Accessibility to become the Department of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy center for the Performing Arts.

Regional Resources

Southeast American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Office & Resources: Located in Atlanta, GA, this regional office serves as an extended leadership network of local and state affiliates from eight (8) states in the U.S. Southeast region. This Center serves as a leader in providing information, training, and guidance on ADA and disability access tailored to the needs of business, government, and individuals at local, state, and regional levels.

Statewide Resources

The Tennessee Council for the Deaf, Deal-Blind, and Hard of Hearing (TCDDBHH): This Council has the responsibility for ensuring that state and local public programs and services are accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and Deaf-Blind citizens. TCDDBHH coordinates communication, information, public awareness, and advocacy services through six regional community service centers. The centers are located in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Johnson City and Jackson.

Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability: Formerly the Commission on Aging, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability is the designated state agency on aging and is mandated to provide leadership relative to aging issues on behalf of older persons in the state. Their mission is to bring together and leverage programs, resources, and organizations to protect and ensure the quality of life and independence of older Tennesseans and adults with disabilities.

Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities: The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is an independent office in state government funded through the federal Developmental Disabilities Act that works to ensure that Tennesseans with developmental disabilities are independent, productive, and included in their communities.

Tennessee Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities: This state agency is responsible for administering services and support to Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Department administers services directly or through contracts with community providers.

Tennessee Disability Coalition: This Coalition is an alliance of organizations and individuals who have joined to promote the full and equal participation of men, women, and children with disabilities in all aspects of life. They work together to advocate for public policy that ensures self-determination, independence, empowerment, and inclusion for people with disabilities in areas such as accessibility, education, healthcare, housing, and voting rights.

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center: The mission of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development is to facilitate discoveries and best practices that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families. Dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities by embracing core values that include: 1) the pursuit of scientific knowledge with creativity and purpose, 2) the dissemination of information to scientists, practitioners, families, and community leaders, and 3) the facilitation of discovery by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center scientists the translation of knowledge into practice. One of its key resources, Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, is a free statewide, multilingual clearinghouse of disability resources which can be accessed at http://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vkc/pathfinder/ or by calling 1-800-640-4636.

VSA Tennessee: Established in 2001, VSA Tennessee is the state organization on arts and disability. In keeping with the mission of the international nonprofit that is their namesake, they provide people with disabilities opportunities to participate in, learn through and enjoy the arts.

Video Resources

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Resources Video

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