A small museum dedicated to serving a wide community, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is always looking for ways to improve accessibility for its patrons. Aligning closely with the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the museum has been steadily rolling out new initiatives to create equitable access to its annual exhibitions and events.
The recently-published “Art for All: OUMA and Accessibility” page on the museum’s website details many of the services, features and programming available to help create a place where every guest feels welcome and accommodated.
“Part of our drive to elevate accessibility at OUMA stems from the students themselves,” says Museum Director Elizabeth Peterson. “A relatively large number of OU students register each year with our office of accessibility services.”
Recent improvements to the museum’s accessibility include:
- Exhibition labels printed in a sans serif font with high contrast and large type, QR codes, and are placed low enough to be easily seen.
- The galleries offer up lights that are adjustable in both brightness and adjust to warm or cool light; wide travel areas; wheelchairs available to borrow; comfortable gallery seating; ADA restrooms.
- Interpreters – ASL and/or DCI interpreters can be provided with 2 weeks’ notice
- A free virtual tour for those that cannot visit in person
Exactly a year ago, OUMA announced that it would completely eliminate entry costs, offering free admission to any and all patrons who wish to enjoy the museum’s exhibitions.
“OUMA cherishes beautiful objects and meaningful scholarship but knows the greatest good in what we do places people — not things — at the very heart of today’s museum experiences,” says Peterson. “In that spirit, we believe in ‘Art for All’, a stance around accessibility that breaks down barriers to learning, celebrates diversity in its myriad forms, and elevates the voices of traditionally marginalized groups.”
On Saturday, Oct. 1, OUMA will partner with The Ikouii Creative, an international organization dedicated to providing support to artists with disabilities, to present a celebration of Deaf and Disabled artists.
Hosted in the museum’s Skylight Gallery, the event will feature a catered reception and live performances from Disabled artists. ASL interpreters and CDI (Certified Deaf Interpreters) will be available throughout the event.
The event also marks the launch of “INSIDE THEIR STUDIO: Deaf & Disabled Artists Reshaping the Arts,” a new book from Ikouii that gives a rare glimpse into the studios, inspirations and personal journeys of artists living with disabilities. The book showcases versatile practices such as sculpture, photography, poetry, film, and performance arts. A book reading and signing will precede the live performances.
One artist performing during the event is Question, a blind artist and producer from Atlanta. Question has been musically talented his entire life, is self-taught on several instruments, began freestyling at the age of give and making beats at age 12. He has won over 20 beat battles, winning trips to Grammy Week two years in a row and SXSW in Austin. Question competed in the 2019 Battle of the Beatmakers in Toronto, where he was favored to be a finalist. He will be featured in two upcoming documentaries, including one with USA Today by an Emmy Award winning journalist. Question leads a collective of other blind artists and producers from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. named Blind n Famous, who frequently collaborate. He is a member of SoulFood Cypher, a nonprofit that teaches language and expression through freestyle workshops and events. Question was recently featured by the Recording Academy on Grammy.com and is a founding member of the musical professionals coalition RAMP’D (Recording Artists & Musicians with Disabilities).