THE CULTURAL ACCESS NETWORK PROJECT
The Cultural Access Network Project is a program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance
The Cultural Access Network Project is a program of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance. The Project provides a wide range of services and programs to assist theatres and cultural organizations in making their programs and facilities accessible to seniors and people with disabilities.
The programs of the Cultural Access Network Project are guided by a volunteer steering committee representing arts patrons, state and county officials, arts administrators, and managers from organizations serving people with disabilities.
The Cultural Access Network Project was established in 1992 to assist all of New Jersey’s cultural arts organizations in making their programs and facilities accessible to seniors and individuals with disabilities in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Cultural Access Network Project committee is comprised of individuals with specific knowledge and expertise in areas relating to accessible programming and facilities. All of the Cultural Access Network’s programs and services are made possible by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other corporate, foundation, and government partners.
The Cultural Access Network Project serves as a role model program for other states to follow. The program was the recipient of the 2004 National Accessibility Leadership Award from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Endowment for the Arts and Coca-Cola.
Roundtables & Training
Access Thursdays are an opportunity for colleagues to get together virtually for peer-to-peer learning around specific issues related to cultural access. Individuals with knowledge and experience in a specific area will be invited to join in the discussion, and representatives from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Cultural Access Network Project committee will also participate in the discussions.
Staff, Volunteer, and Board Training
These training sessions often include a panel of individuals with disabilities who provide guidance on how your organization can effectively communicate, offer assistance and provide a truly welcoming experience for all individuals attending your venue and participating in your activities. All staff members and volunteers are encouraged to attend, especially those that interact directly with the public (ushers, box office, concession personnel, docents, etc).
This extensive resource library includes documents, links, and other media to support your cultural access work. Resources include:
- Sample policies, statements, and templates
- Sample grievance procedures
- Training videos on using audio description, ASL, and sensory seminars at your organization
- Links to state and county agencies
- Tipsheets, glossaries, & more!
ADA Plans are a requirement for all organizations receiving funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State. In addition, a majority of the state’s County Cultural and Heritage Commissions require a plan from their grantees. ADA Plans for FY24 are due on January 15, 2024.
If your organization is required to submit an ADA plan for the current fiscal year, we encourage a staff member to listen to the archived recording from the ADA Planning workshop offered on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. You can find the recording here.
An organizational self-assessment, as well as sample grievance procedures, employment policies, and anti-discrimination policies, are available in the Cultural Access resource library.
Each June, the Cultural Access Network hosts the annual Excellence in Cultural Access Awards, a day-long event featuring a keynote, discussion, performances, and a luncheon. Two New Jersey-based arts or cultural organizations receive the Innovator Award, presented to a New Jersey non-profit cultural organization that has been especially creative in a specific area of arts access. Winners enjoy statewide recognition plus a $500 grant to help their organization in the advancement of cultural access. Nominations for the Innovator Awards open in March.
Cultural Access Committee
Krystle Allen, New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Bonnie Brown, Allaire State Park
Susan Coen, Consultant
Lisa Cooney, Paper Mill Playhouse
Janet Zoubek Dickson, Educator
Donald Ehman, Arts Advocate
Diane Feldman, Arts Advocate
Pamela Gaston, New Jersey Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired
Julie Hain, South Jersey Cultural Alliance
Maureen Heffernan, Arts Advocate/Teaching Artist
John McEwen, New Jersey Theatre Alliance
Eileen Murray, Matheny Medical and Educational Center’s Arts Access Program
Peri Nearon, MPA, Division of Disability Services, NJ Department of Human Services
Beth Prevor, New Jersey Theatre Alliance & HandsOn
Arlene Romoff, Hearing Loss Association of NJ
Cathy Roy, The Mayo Center for the Performing Arts
Michael Schnoering, FAIA, Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC
Jack Tomy, Paper Mill Playhouse
Wanda Williford, The New Jersey Council for the Blind
Miss Ruth Williams, Writer & Low Vision/Disability Rights Advocate
Members Ex Officio
Allison Tratner, New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Mary Eileen Fouratt, New Jersey State Council on the Arts