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November is a busy time of year for Accessible Arts with a highlight being the outcomes of Delineate, a small arts grants program that seeks to enrich the creative initiatives of the Don't DIS my ABILITY campaign. The program is run in partnership with the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care to foster arts and disability practice in NSW and to celebrate the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) on 3 December. This year we are working with Sunnyfield’s UnBard TV show to document the work of Delineate recipients. As well as seven discrete videos on each Delineate project, UnBard are producing a half-hour TV show that will be shown on Aurora and a short film that will be shown at the Don't DIS my ABILITY Ministerial Launch.
On 27 November we will launch the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk audio-tour app with the assistance of technology enthusiast Professor Ron McCallum. Voiced by actor Kate Mulvany, the app was made possible with generous support from the Transfield Foundation. While the app increases access and accessibility to the stunning sculptures in the Walsh Bay precinct for people with sensory disability, it will also serve as a useful enhancement for all art lovers who visit the area. The app is free and will be available to download from iTunes and Google Play.
Applications for the Amplify your art grant program for NSW artists with disability close on 18 December. Grants of between $5,000 and $10,000 will be awarded for the costs associated with developing an artist’s professional practice. We look forward to receiving many creative plans and encourage applicants to contact Arts Development Officer Sarah-Vyne Vassallo or Josie Cavallaro before making submissions.
Joceline Lee, Fish
Joceline Lee, Fish Satellite Studio
We are pleased to announce the seven recipients of the 2013 Delineate grants.Delineate is an arts program that enriches the creative initiatives of the Don't DIS my ABILITY campaign run by Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC). From a heavy metal band in Lismore to an exhibition of artworks by three Aboriginal artists in Armidale the Delineate recipients represent a varied cross-section of artforms and communities. We have commissioned Sunnyfield’s Unbard TV to make videos about each of the projects and look forward to sharing these with you in the lead-up to the International Day for People with Disability on 3 December.
Applications to the Amplify your art grant program for NSW artists with disability open on Friday 11 October, 2013. Grants will be awarded for amounts of between $5,000 and $10,000 for the costs associated with developing an artist’s professional practice. Previous recipients have undertaken a range of skills development projects in artforms including sculpture, poetry, dance, ceramics, music, print-making and digital media. Amplify your art is a devolved funding program administered by Accessible Arts on behalf of the NSW Government through Arts NSW and ADHC.
On November 7 we present a free one-day forum, Supported Studios – possibility and potential in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art. MCA Senior Curator Glenn Barkley is a key speaker and asserts that Outsider Art has ended. He will consider what this means for curators and in the context of the MCA.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of September for Accessible Arts was the performanceSecond Skin, the public outcome of the Catalyst Dance Masterclass Series. The Bangarra Studio Theatre was filled to capacity and the response from performers and audience was tremendously positive.
This month we are pleased to announce the appointment of Joanna Agius to the role of Deaf Arts Officer. Joanna will be responsible for establishing the NSW Deaf Arts network with the aim of increasing the participation in and access to the arts for Deaf and hard of hearing people. The network will also promote the work of artists who are Deaf of hard of hearing  to the broader community.  

Additionally, as a result of an organisational restructure, we are calling for applications for three senior roles. Applications for the roles of Operations Manager,  Communications Manager and Development Manager close on 7 October.

Super Discount, a new production from Back to Back Theatre

There is a lot happening at Accessible Arts. On 15 September we present Second Skin at Bangarra Dance Theatre the culmination of the Catalyst integrated dance masterclasses. Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite. We’re also very pleased to be supporting Sydney Theatre Company’s season of Super Discount. STC have generously provided Accessible Arts with a discounted ticket offer and on 8 October are providing an access rich performance with both audio description and captioning. This is an exciting opportunity for people with disability to fully experience the latest work from the internationally renowned Back to Back Theatre. 

In August our entire staff and some of our Directors took part in a seminar examining what the introduction of DisabilityCare Australia will mean to our organisation. Our vision is a society in which people with disability can contribute to and fully experience the arts and cultural life. This aligns well with the person-centred focus of DisabilityCare as we continue to develop programs and strategies to strengthen our services. 

We had a record number of applicants to our Delineate grant program, which closed on August 26, with many innovative projects submitted. Successful applicants will be notified Friday 6 September.  

Finally, we now publish our newsletter monthly and welcome your submissions and suggestions. Send emails to

The launch of Disability Care prompts us to share two best-practice examples of person-centred projects in this newsletter. Access to the arts, as audience and participants, can — and we might argue should — be included in support plans. Cheryl Gardner, a Living Life My Way Champion from northern NSW, and her son Damien Conte have self-managed Damien's Community Participation funding since 2008. Cheryl shares her story of how individualised funding has allowed Damien to develop his passion for painting. And from the Riverina, we share the story of 8 Artists, a collaboration between emerging and established artists, with and without disability, that gives valuable insight into how we at Accessible Arts can help develop your creative projects. We are also delighted to share with you the news that Accessible Arts Development Officer Sarah-Vyne Vassallo has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study integrated dance in the USA and Europe. Sarah-Vyne champions best practice through the Catalyst Dance Masterclass series and we hope to see you at Second Skin, a showing of the 2013 work at Bangarra Dance Theatre on 15 September. 

Sign Language Interpretation Symbol

A generous private family trust has provided funding for Accessible Arts to engage a Deaf Arts Officer for three years. Accessible Arts CEO Sancha Donald says, “The Deaf community in NSW, comprised of more than 660,000 people including children, have campaigned for action for some time. Our thanks to the family trust for making our Deaf Arts Officer position a reality for NSW.” Recruitment will begin in July, please check our website for more details under Employment. (Image: Sign Language Interpretation Symbol)




Kiruna Stamell and Sue Healy at Catalyst Dance Master Class Series

Over the past month, Accessible Arts has strongly supported the call to action developed by the national peak arts and disability organisation, Arts Access Australia, in response to the newly released National Cultural Policy. The effective campaign led to the removal of the word ‘tolerance’ in respect to people with disability. Efforts have now turned to securing the required $24 million to implement the National Arts and Disability Strategy, of which $500,000 has been invested by the Commonwealth since 2011. The funding is to enable the full and equal access to arts and culture as recognised by the Commonwealth in signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  We hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter, which again highlights the diversity of our work and the development of the organisations and artists that make up the sector. (Image: Kiruna Stamell and Sue Healy at Catalyst Dance Master Class Series)

Robert Thom Smith, Amplify your art grant recipient

What will the National Disability Insurance Scheme mean for artists with disabilities? Accessible Arts has launched into 2013 with a forum, Arts and the Individual, to explore this question at the launch site of the NDIS roll out in Newcastle. This project will gather and develop information from the sector. The launch of the Supported Studio Network funded by Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation also offers new information and greater promotion of artists with disabilities who practice in supported studios across Australia. The Minister for the Arts, George Souris, and the Minister for Ageing & Disability Services, Andrew Constance have shown their support for artists with disabilities, announcing the 12 recipients of the Amplify your art grants. These artists commence their professional development projects from March 2013. Change and opportunity is on the horizon for Accessible Arts with the transfer of our relationship with ADHC to the newly created Office of Disability, Family and Community Services - an exciting year unfolds for arts and disability across NSW. (Image: Robert Thom Smith, Amplify your art recipient)

Sancha Donald, Robyn Archer, Sharman Pretty, The Walsh Bay Arts Table, 2012

Message from Sancha Donald CEO Accessible Arts: As the end of the year  approaches, lets celebrate the progress that has been made towards greater inclusion of people with disability in the arts throughout 2012 in NSW. The sector came together with great enthusiasm at Arts Activated, our national conference in October. The NSW Arts and Disability Partnership 2012 - 2014 between Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care is playing a vital role in enabling projects, initiatives and strategies to develop through arts and disability partnerships across the state.  Accessible Arts' own initiatives such as Delineate and the newly launched Supported Studios Network are contributing to sector development through increasing opportunities for individual artists with disability and for the many organisations and services that support them. Increased recognition and mainstream support from the community can be seen and we thank our many partners and sponsors who have enabled us to achieve our goals throughout 2012. From all the team at Accessible Arts, we look forward to continuing working together in 2013. (Image credit: Sancha Donald, Robyn Archer AO & Sharman Pretty, at The Walsh Bay Arts Table 2012)

Mary McKillop Outreach Art Studio

How can the arts and disability sector in NSW work most effectively to realise the cultural shift that marks this time and is being supported by the NSW Arts and Disability Partnership 2012 - 2014 between Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC)? Funded by ADHC under Stronger Together Two, recipients of NSW Arts and Disability Partnership 2012 funding are now online. This funding supports a range of programs and projects happening across the state to increase participation in the arts for people with disability. Download the list and find out who is doing what, approach your local recipient and become involved. The Arts Activated Conference 2012: Desire & Destination is the perfect opportunity to network across the nation, to connect and work together, as we build and grow our arts programs to be a conduit for people with disability to contribute to Australian cultural life. Book your registration and support the cultural shift that is upon us, progressing person centred arts participation for people with disability in Australia.

Walsh Bay Arts Table

Minister for the Arts, George Souris has announced $310 million for NSW's outstanding cultural institutions. Accessible Arts' commends the Government for supporting these initiatives. We are aware that a number of the capital projects will improve physical access to venues along with increased access to public programs. People with disability will benefit from this investment in the State's vibrant arts and cultural sector. Celebrate with us at the Walsh Bay Arts Table on Wednesday 31 October from 7 pm to 10 pm on The Wharf, Pier 2, 13 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney NSW. Book now for this special evening of fine food and wines, with guest speakers and a contemporary art auction guest curated by Dr Gene Sherman AM. The Arts Table, hosted by the Walsh Bay Arts and Commerce group, is a highlight of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival and all proceeds will support the work of Accessible Arts. Early bird tickets $135 on sale until 29 June 2012. Book now @ Walsh Bay Arts Table.


Matthew Calandra and Reg Mombassa
Matthew Calandra & Reg Mombassa, Cicada Press, COFA.

The NSW Government’s renewed commitment to the development of arts and disability initiatives across the state is an exciting one. Accessible Arts is looking forward to contributing to increased participatory and professional development opportunities as a direct result of the new partnership between Arts NSW and ADHC. The partnership has resulted in an additional $1.5 million of funding for the arts and disability sector. Accessible Arts’ training in General Disability Awareness is currently open for bookings and will be held at Accessible Arts on 1 May 2012. The third Walsh Bay Arts Table will be held on 31 October 2012. Part of the Crave International Food Festival, this event will include a silent auction of artworks selected by guest curator, Dr Gene Sherman AM and live entertainment. All proceeds from the evening go towards supporting the work of Accessible Arts. Early bird tickets are available for $135 by contacting Virginia Pacino at


Cast of Variant.
The cast of Variant. Photographer James Brown

The Arts Activated Conference 2012 will be the perfect opportunity to bring together the growing progress of inclusive arts and culture in Australia. Planned for October 2012, its time to start thinking about how you can be involved. In recently announced grant rounds, Arts NSW has awarded seven arts organisations funding for projects focussing on arts and disability. Totalling almost a quarter of a million dollars, these grants will fund a wide range of projects across the state from film and digital projection artwork to dance, theatre and visual arts. Accessible Arts congratulates the sector and will continue to work to support these projects and other initiatives that are developing strength to win public arts funding.