Arts & Inclusion: A Guide for Expanding Access to The Arts for Persons with Disabilities

In spring of 2014 the Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities hosted a series of conversations across the state with representatives from the arts and disability communities.

Conversation goals included:

  • Identifying barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from attending art performances, events and activities
  • Creating sustainable strategies for eliminating these barriers
  • Identifying best practices to ensure that Tennessee arts events are more welcoming to patrons with disabilities

Community conversations took place in Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville, as a way to see what might come from “crossing the streams”– by sharing both challenging and successful experiences. The hope was that if the conversations were productive, more might occur in the future, bringing together arts and disability community members, or other underserved communities in additional cities, towns and rural areas.

This document is a summary of the highlights of those first conversations. It is meant to be a resource for arts organizations to increase their inclusive practices, build more diverse audiences, and raise awareness about the concept of “arts for all”.