-Minnesota State Arts Board - Minnesota North Star

Americans with Disabilities and the Arts

Organizations that receive government funding are required to provide accessible programs and services under Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This includes organizations that receive funds directly from a federal agency such as the National Endowment for the Arts, or indirectly through pass through money or subgrants from a state agency that receives federal funds. Federal funds are distributed through a number of state agencies such as the Minnesota State Arts Board, the state department of education, humanities council, rehabilitation services, and others. In each case the recipient of the federal funds must comply with the dispensing agency’s Section 504 regulations.

A more recent law, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), extends accessibility provisions to the private sector in order to help guarantee persons with disabilities employment and the right to enter the economic, social and cultural mainstreams. The ADA goes well beyond federally funded organizations to encompass private sector entities that serve the public, including cultural organizations that do not receive federal support, retail businesses, movie theaters, and restaurants.

Beyond meeting basic requirements, all organizations are encouraged to adopt accessibility strategies that will allow every person the full benefits of participating in the arts. The following are just a few, key resources that can help you with your own accessibility planning:

National Endowment for the Arts Office of AccessAbility
An excellent, comprehensive resource of accessibility information and links

National Arts and Disability Center
A national information dissemination, technical assistance, and referral center specializing in the field of arts and disability

Disability Access Symbols
Symbols to promote and publicize accessibility of places, programs and other activities for people with various disabilities

Web Accessibility Initiative
Strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make your Web site accessible to people with disabilities

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