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Newsletter 2013: Edition 1

28/02/2013 - Newsletter

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)

Taking the Lead

Supported Studios Network short film
New network connects studios

Accessible Arts is promoting visual art studios across Australia who support the professional development of artists with disability. A new network connecting the studios to each other and to contemporary art culture has been developed called the Supported Studio Network (SNN). The network includes a new website with information, profiles, interviews and resources. Short films have been produced to highlight and promote the artistic value of supported studios and their artists. SSN defines a supported studio as a sustained creative environment that fosters and supports the individual practice of visual artists with disability. Facilitated by practising artists, crucial to such studios are the opportunities they offer artists to be involved within wider artistic networks, thereby assisting artists to develop a professional career. Subscribe to SSN Updates to receive information on key events, projects and opportunities related to Supported Studios, both local and international. Read more: AARTS feature.

Amplify your art recipients announced

Amplify your art recipients announced

Twelve artists with disability have been announced as the recipients of Amplify your art grants by the Minister for the Arts, George Souris, and the Minister for Ageing & Disability Services, Andrew Constance. The recipients were announced at Shopfront Theatre for Young People in Carlton. Mark Coure, the Member for Oatley, Sarah Vyne Vassallo, Accessible Arts manager of the project, recipient and artist Matthew Massaria, and Amanda Foote, the General Manager of Shopfront were also in attendance. “Artists with disability have a valuable and important contribution to make to the State’s artistic and cultural life,” Mr Constance said. “The Amplify your art program will help and encourage these artists to reach their full potential.” Amplify your art is a devolved funding program administered by Accessible Arts on behalf of the NSW Government through Arts NSW and Ageing, Disability and Home Care. Recipients of funding under Year 1 of Amplify your art undertake their professional development programs between March and December 2013. A full list of all recipients is on the Amplify your art page. (Image credit: Amplify your art recipients announced, 28 February 2013)

Lotus Installation, Russell Way, 2012

Winning project from the regions

The Russell Way Mid North Coast Residence, is an inclusive art project to be presented by Life Without Barriers in Nambucca Heads throughout 2013. The project won $19,000 funding from the Regional Arts Fund, and is the only project targeted towards people with disability in regional NSW to receive the federal funding. Richard Holloway, the Regional Operations Manager for Life Without Barriers believes there are a few key elements about the project that enabled the success. “Partnering with Nambucca Valley Phoenix to work together in delivering arts and disability projects in our region was key,” he said. “We have also developed workshops as part of the project to provide professional development to local artists who can continue similar projects in the future.” Central Coast based artist Russell Way will work with two local artists to provide an innovative visual arts program for people with intellectual disability in the Nambucca, Bellingen and Coffs Harbour LGAs. The Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund awarded $393,040 in total to 22 major arts projects in regional NSW. (Image credit: Lotus Installation, Russell Way, 2012)

KAGE, Sundowner. Photo courtesy Jeff Busby

Sundowner tells story of dementia

A live theatre performance that is the result of years of research, community engagement and creative development between Victorian based dance theatre company KAGE and the Alzheimer’s community, is being toured in NSW throughout March and April by Performing Lines. Sundowner combines dance, drama and original composition to reflect the experiences and frustrations of younger onset dementia. Drawing on the personal experience of those living with dementia and their carers, the performance presents challenging subject matter in an accessible and engaging way. “Alzheimer’s disease affects so many, yet it is not a topic that is readily discussed. Sundowner, by KAGE, will be a conversation starter and tear-jerker for many viewers,” Herald Sun **** KAGE are renowned for making dance theatre and Sundowner was the subject of a highly regarded ABC Artscape documentary. Commencing at Parramatta Riverside Theatres in early March, Sundowner will tour the state with performances in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and regional areas of NSW. For more information and tour dates are listed on AARTS What’s On. (Image: KAGE, Sundowner. Photo Jeff Busby)

Creative Inclusive

Mary McKillop Outreach, Creative Programs Network, 2012

Invitation to attend Creative Programs Network

Accessible Arts plays an important role in bringing the arts and disability sector together for peer support, information sharing and professional development. The Creative Programs Network has been well attended by industry professionals for the last two years, and 2013 sees the continuation of this network to strengthen creative programs for people with disability statewide. This network supports the development, implementation and evaluation of creative arts programs for people with disability. Managers, coordinators, producers, curators, arts workers and other relevant personnel responsible for the delivery of creative art programs in disability services and arts organisations are invited to participate. Discussion focuses around common issues and challenges associated with the provision of inclusion.  Information about programs, opportunities and facilities available in arts and disability are shared in an exchange of experience and knowledge. The networks’ first meeting will be hosted by Accessible Arts and led by CEO Sancha Donald. Morning tea will be provided. RSVP by Tuesday 5 March 2013. For more information visit the Creative Programs Network project page. (Image: Mary McKillop Outreach, Creative Programs Network, 2012)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Ewen Leslie and Jacqueline McKenzie. Image Heidrun Lohr

Spotlight on access to the theatre

Belvoir St Theatre is offering accessible performances of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof during March. Written by Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof explores generational growth in times of change. In partnership with Vision Australia, an audio described performance will be presented on Saturday 2 March at 2:00 pm. A live captioned performance is available for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing on Saturday 30 March at 2:00 pm. Belvoir St Theatre also provide hearing loops and is a fully accessible venue. Vision Australia partner with a range of venues in Sydney and Wollongong to support the delivery of audio described performances for people who are blind or have low vision. Delivered by Vision Australia audio describers and transmitted by a small radio receiver and earpieces, this access initiative allows users to sit in virtually any area of the theatre. To book tickets to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, visit Belvoir St Theatre. (Image: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Ewen Leslie and Jacqueline McKenzie. Photo Heidrun Lohr)

John Matthew and Debbie Van Hoek, Capitol Theatre.

Youth Arts Access audience development

In 2012 Accessible Arts ran the Youth Arts Access program. This pilot project brought together young people with disability, their family and friends from across the city to explore Sydney’s cultural precincts and players. The program was supported by St George Foundation and included upwards of 50 attendees across 5 events, including performances in dance, music, and theatre. Attendees visited CarriageWorks, the majority of the Sydney Opera House venues including Opera Theatre, Concert Hall and Studio space, and concluded at the Capitol Theatre. “Highlights of the program included contemporary dance with Platform 5: Hip Hop contrasted with an Introduction to Ballet and an excerpt from Graeme Murphy’s Beyond Twelve,” said Sophie Clausen, Access Manager at Accessible Arts. The program facilitated discussion and discovery between members on the challenges and the changes that enable everyone to enjoy and share in the arts. Read more: AARTS news

Accessing the Arts Group moving into 2013

Access The Arts Group (ATAG) is set to continue informing it’s members with quarterly meetings in 2013, where speakers and cultural institutions present the latest on access in the arts. Four successful ATAG meetings for 2012 included the engagement of representatives from the disability sector, including the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, People With Disability and Sylvanvale Foundation. We heard from the disability sector about some of the challenges groups face, ranging from physical to attitudinal barriers as well as resources, energy, and priority management. We were treated to the latest developments and the high tech refurbishments of Museum of Contemporary Art and their National Centre for Creative Learning, using high-speed broadband to reach rural and remote communities to run visual arts related workshops. This segued nicely with Roger Hudson of Usability, offering a refresher on website accessibility. Our final meeting for the year was suitably hosted at Australia Council for the Arts, where Practice in Motion, an arts and disability exhibition was showing. Read more: AARTS news

Events and Opportunities


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Contributions to the newsletter are welcome and encouraged. Listings should include the title, date, location, a short description (100 words), plus all available contact details, access details and an image (jpeg or gif format). Arts events, opportunities or news that are accessible to people with disability, their families, friends and carers will be published. Email contributions to