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Watch this space for more information on ADA and Section 504

Did you know……

  • 400,000 of West Virginia's 1.8 million people have a disability - 22 percent of the population, (does not include people living in institutions)
  • 54 million Americans report some level of disability - 15 percent of the population.
  • Fewer than 15 percent of people with disabilities were born with them.
  • One third of Americans with disabilities are 65 or older.
  • The United States Census Bureau estimates that people with disabilities have over $188 billion annually in disposable income.

A universal or inclusive environment for the arts is one that is useable by everyone, people with and without disabilities, and people of all ages. It is an environment with buildings and grounds, communication systems, and programming that are useable by everyone.

Why? It's the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires organizations to make their programs, services, activities and employment accessible to qualified persons with disabilities.

Why? It's an opportunity. A universal environment is more than accessibility. It is usability. It is not a response to an individual's special request. It is an organizational asset. Universal planning makes choices that recognize that we are all different, that we have different ways of doing things and that we have different preferences about how we access information and how we communicate. It creates an environment where programs and exhibits are chosen to reflect a commitment to being part of an inclusive community. The West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts have such a commitment.

All grant requests to the WVDCH/WVCA for the program year 2006 will require you to address Accessibility/ADA thoroughly. The requirements for organizations receiving state and federal funds are the same regardless of whether the building is owned, rented, or leased. All applicants receiving support from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts are expected to comply with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA of 1990.

You (the legal authority to obligate the applicant) will be required to either give assurances that your project/program/facility is accessible and in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or submit the full updated Arts Accessibility Checklist and Transition Plan indicating how and when you will be in compliance. Refer to your initial plan when completing this document. Do not submit a copy of the old plan.

The full plan is required every three years regardless of when the initial plan was submitted. All grant applications submitted in 2005 (FY2006), 2008, 2011 etc. require the full plan if your organization is not fully compliant.

The expectations for quality accessible programs are the same for schools and arts organizations. Schools are urged to use the Transition Plan as a tool to improve awareness and promote accessibility. It is not required as part of the grant application.

Thanks to New York State Council on the Arts for contributing to this information.

Check ADA Law yourself:
Receive a copy of Questions and Answers about ADA
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm

Rose McDonough
WV Division of Culture & History
WV Commission on the Arts
Phone: 304/558-0240
TDD: 304/558-3562
Internet: http://www.wvculture.org
Email: rose.a.mcdonough@wv.gov