Cultural Accessibility in Philadelphia, Part 3 – Andrea Kirsh, Donna Ellis, & Nathan Diechter
Artblog contributor Natalie Sandstrom returns for part three of her three-part Artblog Radio series on the topic of Cultural Accessibility. This 36-minute episode-- featuring Andrea Kirsh, Art Historian & Artblog contributor; Donna Ellis of Hands UP Productions; and Nathan Deitcher, Independent Autism Consultant-- builds off of parts 1 and 2, looking forward to a more accessible future, and how to get there.

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Nathan Deitcher, a young white man with brown hair, dressed in business attire, smiling; Andrea Kirsh, an older woman with curly gray hair, wearing a black shirt and earrings, smiling; Natale Sandstrom, a young white woman with brown curly hear, wearing a formal blazer and blouse, smiling; and Donna Ellis, a middle-aged white woman with red curly hear, wearing an all-black outfit, smiling
Left to right: Nathan Deitcher, Andrea Kirsh, Natalie Sandstrom, and Donna Ellis. Courtesy those pictured.

Today we’re thrilled to present part three of three-part Artblog Radio series ‘Cultural Accessibility in Philadelphia’ hosted by Natalie Sandstrom! In this episode, Natalie speaks with Andrea Kirsh, Art Historian, and Artblog Contributor; Donna Ellis, Co-owner of Hands UP Productions; and Nathan Deitcher, an Independent Autism Consultant! Each guest offers a diverse perspective on issues of accessibility, immediate needs within disability communities, and building an accessible future.

We highly recommend giving both ‘Part 1 – Kate Samson of Art-Reach,’and ‘Part 2 – Kate Fialkowski of Temple University’ a listen before diving into Part 3. These episodes cover a lot of valuable information, and highlight key issues of accessibility that inform this episode.

You can listen to Artblog Radio on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thank you to Kyle McKay for composing Artblog Radio’s original podcast intro and outro!


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Transcription

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:00:12] Hello, friends. And welcome back. You are listening to Artblog Radio in Philadelphia. My name is Natalie Sandstrom and you are here joining us for the final episode of Artblog Radio’s mini-series on Cultural Accessibility.

Today, we’re going to be doing some forecasting, exploring from various perspectives, how the arts can be more accessible in the future. This is particularly timely as so much has changed and continues to change over the past year with the COVID landscape. First of all, I am recording from my home in West Philly on the traditional land of the Lennappe people past present and future.

My name’s Natalie. I use she/ her pronouns and I am a white woman with curly brown hair. I’m wearing a black and white blouse with puffy sleeves, and I’m sitting in front of a white wall in my home.

Today I’m joined by a few of our excellent guests. First of all, we have Donna Ellis, co- owner of Hands Up Productions, an ASL interpretation company for theater productions here in Philadelphia. Hands Up has also recently branched out into some Museum Programming, so Donna brings a lot of knowledge to us today.

We’re also joined by Writer, Art Historian, and fellow Artblog contributor, Andrea Kirsch, and we have Nathan Deitcher, an Independent Autism Consultant.

These three represent an interesting cross section of the arts ecosystem, and are here to share their thoughts with us on where access might go next. So thank you all three of you for being here. And I think we should just go ahead and dive in by giving our attendees, our listeners, our viewers, a little bit of info about sort of what you’re all bringing to this conversation.

So. If you could each start just by introducing yourself, your work, and giving us a little taste of what you’re doing to think about access now, or in a past role.

Donna Ellis: [00:02:18] I’m happy to go ahead and get us started (laughs).
Thank you, Natalie, for the introduction. My name is Donna Ellis. I am a white woman with a curly red hair. Pulled back in a beret, and a ponytail. I have black glasses and a plain black long sleeve shirt. And behind me is a gray backdrop. As Natalie said that I, I’m a co-owner of Hands Up productions with my partner, Brian Morrison.

We have sought to provide high quality ASL interpreted, performance opportunities throughout the Philadelphia region, primarily in theater settings, but as Natalie has said in anything that might be considered a performance setting, including Museums and other Arts Institutions. We’ve been, very grateful to partner with many arts organizations throughout Philadelphia.

And we look to bridge that gap to make the arts accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing and primarily use American Sign Language as the mode of communication.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:03:18] Thank you. Andrea, You want to go next?

Andrea Kirsh: [00:03:23] This is Andrea . I am a white woman, as the French would nicely say “of a certain age,” meaning my hair is gray (chuckles), I’m wearing a chartreuse blouse and sitting in my study, which is colorful. It has purple walls, and books, and postcards behind me. I have a broad experience of a lot of positions in museums and then taught Museum Studies where I spent a lot of time thinking about the institutions and how they were, positioning themselves relative to all sorts of visitors.

Knowing Natalie has been a learning curve for me, because the museum world is much more consciously addressing issues of accessibility now than it did historically. Although I think those of us who were in the art museum field, in particular, have always been aware that art offers an opportunity for some people to respond– who would not respond to reading, would not respond to hearing about things– that the art itself is a language that offers an alternative for a lot of people.

And my own concerns with the museums would tend to be more with what they show than with the programming. And a lot of what I’ve read about accessibility is focused on programming, on lectures, on tours, things like that.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:04:45] Thank you. Yeah, Andrea, you pointed to so many great points there, both from a programmatic as well as a curatorial standpoint. So I think there’s clearly rich grounds for us, after Nathan introduces himself as well.

Nathan Deitcher: [00:05:02] Hello, I am Nathan. I am a Caucasian male with thinning brown hair, and it’s a five o’clock shadow. And as Natalie mentioned, I am an Independent Autism Consultant. But in my day job, I’ve been working, I have historically worked, with museums as a Guest Service Associate. So I’m kind of a hermetic figure, I’m mediating between the general public and cultural, and educational, or artistic institutions.

So because I’m on the spectrum, I think I’ve usually given advice, you know, related to autism-related, and just, autism- or disability- related issues that, you know, confront, you know, educational museums, museums, and other similar institutions.

Although I’ve been increasingly kind of interested in branching out from that and kind of understanding museums as learning spaces, where people joyfully participate in learning about paralanguages through a sort of experiential learning. It’s a bit, the little bit more high concept. But yeah, but it’s, certainly been inspired by my work- working for my current job at The Barnes.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:06:34] Thank you. I love the phrase you just used “joyfully participate.” I want that like in a banner that’s that’s just such a beautiful note to start us on. So thank you.

So I think clearly we have a great group here with lots of different knowledges and experiences to bring to this table. And so I think I’d really love to just open up a free form dialogue thinking about, where are we at in the arts right now with accessibility, particularly after the past year, working from home, doing programs from home, et cetera. And maybe from there, we can sort of start to build our wishlist of what would people like to see change. Anyone want to take that one for a spin first?

Andrea Kirsh: [00:07:30] I will, a bit. One of the things that people who study museums have found is that the overwhelming number of people don’t attend museums on their own. They attend it with a friend or family member. So the interaction is already there between the visitors. Certainly with COVID, once we’ve been let into the museum again, they’re much quieter spaces. That certainly, professionals enjoy, on the other hand that doesn’t keep the institutions going.

That being said, other than the major museums in New York, unfortunately, most museums are quiet a lot of the time. And in that sense, have a lot of flexibility as to what they offering. And have gotten good about making people comfortable who mightn’t be comfortable because, let’s say, their six month old baby is there and cries. So that actually a number of museums have specific days encouraging people with small children to come.

And I think that being less formal about how we enter the museum is a possible thing for the future. And something that… Having looser expectations, I think, is one of the things that accessibility is involved with. Particularly in terms of expectations of the other visitors at institutions.
Natalie Sandstrom:[00:08:57] Hmm…. Andrea, that’s a really interesting point.
Sort of thinking about maybe in some ways, some museums haven’t been as impacted as far as attendance in the last year, and thinking about the flexibility of those spaces.

From a performance standpoint, you know, that reminds me of a lot of– maybe theaters, or theater groups– will do something called relaxed performances. You know, Donna, I’m not sure if you have any experience interpreting for that sort of space, but maybe that could be something that we build upon here.

Donna Ellis: [00:09:37] Yes, we definitely have provided interpreters, in some settings where they had done relaxed performances. That’s been a very popular option that many theaters have decided to offer.

My thinking went in a little bit of a different direction when you were posing your initial question, if that’s okay.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:09:54] Yeah, please!

Donna Ellis: [00:09:55] In our world, it’s been interesting to see how zoom in some ways has narrowed opportunities, but also expanded other opportunities. And for us, many of the arts organizations pivoted as many of us have to zoom programming, or virtual programming options. It took us a while, I’m sure like everybody else, to get our footing and see how we could contribute to that. But it did give us an opportunity to further explore what I think we’ll talk about later in terms of a wishlist, but we did really get to tap into: there’s a difference between access and representation.

So we provide access, but representation is really having deaf people present their own art and even present their own interpretation using their language.

So zoom gave us some interesting creative opportunities, which we took advantage of. So when there were digital programs, we were able to reach out to some deaf talent that we know in New York and otherwise, and be able to bring them in as the interpreter, as opposed to us providing that bridge and access.

We were able to use deaf talent, deaf artists. And one of the reasons that was available was because many of these virtual programs were prerecorded and therefore captioned. So the captioning was available as the source language for deaf performers and deaf artists to become those interpreters as you’re accustomed to seeing on the screen.

So that was really an interesting and exciting opportunity that we’d like to see, continue as we’re looking toward building our new season and seeing what develops now that we have both of these, resources available virtual as well as onsite. That’s where I was thinking.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:11:31] Yeah, I think that’s a great expansion, thinking about this word that maybe we’re all starting to come across a little bit more, of “hybridity.” Now that we’ve had this opportunity to have in-person experiences, virtual experiences, what will the arts community do going forward to maybe not have to choose, which could be really exciting.

Nathan Deitcher: [00:11:52] Sort of going off, a little, what Donna said- that, how Covid forced them to adjust, and, you know, by having a lot of these virtual things, we’ve been able to include more people, and performers, and artists, that would have not normally been able to, participate, you know, in normalcy..

I definitely think that the institutions that will prove most resilient, will be ones that’ll have… Well, that will be much more diffusive, and also have a much more experimental approach. And curational environment. So being able to have, you know, pop-up exhibits, you know, being able to display information to audiences, maybe outside the physical space.

I think those will prove to be the most, I think the most resilient, and also antifragile kinds of institutions. Because it’s a constant, ongoing learning process rather than they, than the fixed, rather than a fixed installation. So similar to the, kind of like the Kunsthalles, that, you know, the ICA has, where there’s no permanent exhibits.

I definitely feel that that more experimental and fluid approach– not only will, I think, it may be more accessible to people– I actually think it’ll actually make for a much more interesting museum experience.
So I think we actually can kind of kill two birds with one stone by moving to a more experiential, process oriented, view of museum installations, and curation.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:13:37] Yeah. Andrea, I think this sort of speaks to your wheelhouse a little bit, or maybe more than a little bit (laughs)

Andrea Kirsh: [00:13:47] Museums have done outreach in that sort of the way you’re talking about, in various ways.

It’s never Yeah. going to be the same as going to the museum. If it’s with art, unless it starts, and you commission things, by living artists and that’s what they want to do. And that’s certainly offers the richest possibility. A number of them have disabilities of various sorts that they are already working with, or friends, or family members, sensitive to those issues.

Commissioning things is the challenge. You don’t know what you’ll get. You agree to take it, and the artist comes up with something. So that’s… Certain kind of institutions are willing to do that, and certain kinds of institutions are in the financial position to do that.

I think to an extent with our pre-existing institutions– that would be, say a general art museum, with a general collection that covers a range of periods, and covers a range of cultures– their collection is the reason people go, ultimately. And figuring out ways to allow people to go to the museum and interact differently with those objects sounds to me like something they may be thinking of. So that there would be certain rooms that have things that have sound going on, and less emphasis on texts, there would be certain rooms where people are encouraged to touch things.

Some museums have experiences of that sort, but it’s always as part of a group. And I think that offering people to come on their own to the institution and make their own way, in certain spaces where you really loosen the way in which people are expected to behave, is probably a more reasonable thing for the large community museum.

Nathan Deitcher: [00:15:43] Hmm.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:15:44] Some of these sort of, maybe “alternative presentation methods” seems to be a theme that’s arising.

Andrea Kirsh: [00:15:52] It’s done for chil– People think about this for children.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:15:56] Yeah, I think that’s often the case.

Andrea Kirsh: [00:15:58] I find it interesting for adults. I like to touch (laughs). And the only things I’ve ever seen, or exhibits to touch, are oriented towards children. So, you know, they assume children want to know what chainmail feels like. So if it’s an exhibit- I went to an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art on Arms and Armor and outside, you were allowed to handle the chainmail.

Well, I am sure they were not doing that for me, but it was terrific. The same thing at the Museum of Natural History in New York. The Natural History Museums have some sense that people like to touch, and of course, when you have things like mineral collections, it does no harm to them, for people to touch them. So they encourage you.

And, yes. I really think we need to explore [this]. We’re much more flexible with children, and we understand that children learn in multiple ways beyond issues of disability. Every child has their strength as to the way they learn. Well, so does every adult. And I think that that’s the kind of thing institutions can emphasize.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:17:04] Yeah, I’m trying to think. I think the last time that I was in a museum that had a touch component, maybe it was like three or four years ago. It was at the Denver Art Museum, and it was a Jeffrey Gibson exhibition. And he is an artist who, you know, uses lots of very tactile, beading, and leather components, and he’s an Indigenous artist, and so a lot of his work takes inspiration from those craft and art and dance histories. And there was this whole wall outside the exhibition space that had little samples of each item, material, that he used. And it was amazing. It was the coolest.

And I think having these different options, as you said, is great for different learning styles, but also if we’re thinking about disability access, that’s a wonderful option or a wonderful tool as well. You know, I even think about the different approaches that local Philly institutions are taking. Like, The Mütter makes raised maps that you can check out from their front desk. That’s amazing. You know, they have… I think Donna, maybe you worked on these! The ASL videos that are on their website, that I just love.

Donna Ellis: [00:18:33] That’s actually a good example of what I was talking about before. For those ASL videos, we were able to bring in a deaf professional. He actually produced the ASL interpretation and that was used at- There’s a school for the deaf in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, that’s very nearby, and many of those students got to view and understand those artifacts, in really native, natural way before they were able to go in and then enjoy the museum in person. That was very effective.

Nathan Deitcher: [00:19:00] I think that it’s interesting that we allow this privilege of experiencing… having this, almost this synesthesic experience, or this multisensory integration of touching things, listening to audio…

Or even like, I remember I went to the African-American History Museum. I remember they actually served us soul– In the cafeteria, it was actually exclusively like traditional African-American cuisine– even eating like soul food is very much part of the experience.

Like, we grant… Usually we grant that kind of flexibility, and this much more holistic approach with children. Because they think, “oh their minds are like, very plastic, you need, you need to sort of, you need to teach them in a very experiential way.” But I think it strikes me like: Why don’t we have that same approach with adults?

I mean, increasingly neuroscience is showing the human beings are capable of forming, like new pathways; new connections. And why shouldn’t museums and other like institutions that feed the public learning, kind of, reorient themselves to that kind of model?

When I was at The Franklin [Institute]– I don’t know if their brand strategy has changed because of COVID– one of the ideas that they were having was, they would have different exhibits. Some were core exhibits, like the giant heart or the train down stairs, which were key facets of their identity.

But then they have a bunch of varying levels of exhibits. Like evergreen exhibits, flexible exhibits, pop-up exhibits, that would be of different durational, they would have different durations. And so, visiting the museum every year would be a slightly different experience, you’d be forming different connections between different elements, different aspects of science and technology and ….

And that to me, seems like a much more fruitful and genuinely novel way of interacting with the exhibits. Not by sort of rectifying your already sort of ossified way of looking at the world, by going to Renaissance gallery or the Modern Art galleries. You know, kind of seeing the formal paralanguages that are similar between all of them.

I think that is- that SHOULD be the goal, I think, of museums going forward.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:21:23] Well, Hmm. Yeah. I like this sort of flexible, experiential, theme that keeps coming up. And it kind of makes me wonder about the breakdown of how to enact these kinds of shifts.

And so I’m wondering, you know, maybe Nathan, Donna– I mean, any of you could speak to this, but– does it look like to be a contractor or a partner for an organization, maybe starting on their access journey (or maybe further along), versus being, maybe more ingrained as part of that organizational culture?

And are there differences? And what might those differences cause?

Donna Ellis: [00:22:14] I just want to respond real quick, to answer that question, but also just listening to this conversation, it makes me think about… Sometimes, when we come into a space as a contractor, changes need to be made because our population is visual. And so there’s sight line issues or there’s lighting issues or things like that that have to be addressed.
But, I would say almost every time, what benefits– like you’re talking about children– what would benefit this particular group that I’m more familiar working with, really is Universal Design. You know, better lighting is better lighting; and better sight lines are better sight lines. And a variety of access to material just benefits everybody.

So one of the things that we found, even though we might be coming in as outsiders- often our needs, or the needs of our community, end up really being closer to Universal Design, than for one specific limited group of people, to access that space.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:23:09] Hmm. Yeah.

Andrea Kirsh: [00:23:12] I had the benefit, when I was working for a museum, of an aging father who was a very good critic and representative of what, as your eyes change, he could or couldn’t read in the labels. He also was a wonderful person to watch in terms of his exposure.
I took him at the very end of his life when he was quite ill, to the Miami Art Museum to see an exhibition. And I wanted to run upstairs and see the Agnes Martin exhibition. I said, “Dad, this is rather severe.” And he said, “You could say that again.” When we got there, I said, “Just sit on the bench and I’ll go around and I’ll pick you up at the end.” Well, when I got there, he said, “I feel like I’m sitting by the sea.”

So for him sitting there with the art, with the access, spending the time, no one’s saying anything about it, nothing to read. And in my case, not even intending it. It was just going to be, I knew it wouldn’t hurt him and it was an opportunity for me.

So one of the things to be aware of is that all of us will have less vision, probably worse hearing, may move less spryly, and those of us who like to go museums will like to continue that. So, you know, the more that these services, and these issues, are not seen as something separate from the mainstream museum planning, the better.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:24:45] Yeah! (nodding)

Donna Ellis: [00:24:46] Yes. And when you’re asking me how a contractor– as opposed to a person who’s like an onsite member of the staff, I assume you mean– might contribute: I would always just encourage the museum, or the artistic space, to go into the community. Not to make assumptions about what “accommodations” are or what changes might be appropriate, but to go into the community.

I can speak, obviously, most closely to the deaf and hard of hearing community, that there are often assumptions about, “Well, they’ll want captioning or they’ll want ASL”. But it’s a very diverse community even within that sub community. So one of the strongest things that I would say is really go out and ask. Don’t make assumptions, but go out and ask the community members that you’re looking to bring into your museum, what their needs are.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:25:30] Yeah. Nathan, you looked like you wanted to jump in there.

Nathan Deitcher: [00:25:34] Yeah. I mean, I think for me, it is interesting because I think I’ve kind of been speaking much more to my own personal experience being on the spectrum, and advising, institutions on how to individuate. You know? Or customize, you know, their environments to make it more accessible to people of that community.

But one thing, I– this is just from my own perspective as being autistic– I don’t, I kind of feel like the discourse around talking about disabilities needs the kind of shift from one of just simply like negative rights, to like, you know, you’re free from obstruction, you know, or sensory overload…..

You know, there’s sort of a discourse of access, which I think is good, but I think it can also be a little limiting. Because it almost, I think in the… done by the wrong speaker can kind of sound patronizing, you know? That’s why I’m increasingly kind of focusing on the sense of like, of , spaces that allow people to realize some potentials, or capacities.

And I think obviously that’s what that looks like is obviously going to be different depending on the community you’re serving. If it’s the deaf community, it’s going to be, you know, increasing, you know, visual language. With the blind, it’s audio or tactile information. There’s not one size that fits all, but I just feel that simply just trying to focus on access? I think kind of obscures the vital good I think, that museums and arts institutions are offering.

I. Don’t think we should get too bogged down with that discourse. Or I think at least, at least we should be able to evolve beyond it.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:27:44] Yeah, I’d really like to kind of pick up some of these threads here. So much good content (chuckling). I mean, I think first of all, Nathan, you bring up this great point of- this is such a huge group, it’s a changing group. It’s a group that people enter and exit throughout their lifetimes, as Andrea pointed to.

And, you know, maybe something that fits well with the needs of someone who’s part of the deaf community might be the total opposite of what another person needs. And so having these Nathan, you said one size fits all “solutions,” you know, that’s not necessarily, a solution. And so I think that what Donna was pointing to about Universal Design, and thinking about these processes very holistically, is kind of a great structural move for arts organizations, individuals, to consider moving forward.

I recently got to talk to, Lisa Sonneborn from Temple University. And in our conversation, you know, we were talking about kind of what this access landscape looks like during COVID. And she said something to me that I loved.

She said, “Access is the flour, not the frosting. You have to bake it in from the very beginning.”

And I think that everything that has been said so far, you know, you all really have captured that spirit of, we can’t back into something like this. So this might be kind of a nice chance for us to think a little bit about our wishlist. And I think a lot of these points have come up already, right. With multimodality, and representation, and commissioning.

But are there other ideas, either from the standpoint of supporting staff, or supporting scholarship, or supporting visitors… what else might we want to have changed?

Andrea Kirsh: [00:30:03] The obvious thing would be to have staff with disabilities so that everybody is aware all the time about what it means to interact with someone who can’t see or someone who can’t hear. I learned why those parking spaces are important, (laughs)

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:30:20] Accessible spaces.

Andrea Kirsh: [00:30:21] with my elderly father. They didn’t make as much sense to me before.

And I think the, I would love to see museums that don’t have a separate section on accessibility for people with disabilities. That that should be part of a general audience. Everyone. And so that you’re not segmenting off people by the census that they have problems with. And what you’re saying is we offer a variety of ways to interact.

And if you want the following things, this is where you’ll find them. Or you can call ahead and make reservations.

Donna Ellis: [00:31:02] I would just add to what Andrea was saying, I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes. My first thought too was to diversify your staff. To have A staff that can bring internally all of these points of view. But I also encourage you to bring in– in my world, I think of deaf people and deaf artists– but artists, who are creating the work from their own perspective as well, not just bringing access, but having the artists, their art, also speak to what you’re asking as well.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:31:30] These points of sort of staff representation makes me think of maybe some organizational barriers, right?

Questions that I see, or qualifications on job posts that are like must be able to lift 20 pounds. Like… there’s probably somebody else who can lift 20 pounds if it comes to it, you know? And sort of, even thinking about structurally, what are the ways in which language in job posts might be a barrier, you know? And I think that’s something that Art-Reach, and their trainings, is kind of helping to remind people of this sort of language. Those are some things I would like to see on maybe a, a larger, like, structural level, I guess.

Donna Ellis: [00:32:17] thinking about how, because of zoom and because of COVID, big arts organizations and organizations in general have had to pivot in a direction that prior to this, they would’ve said they couldn’t do. That you couldn’t work from home, that people with disabilities couldn’t have virtual access when necessary. Clearly we can. Clearly we can.

So I think this is really becoming an opportunity now, post-Covid, to see what some of those descriptors, as you were talking about, maybe you don’t have to be able to use a phone. Maybe you can have virtual access. Like it’s a broader definition now, that can bring in a lot more people. continues.

Nathan Deitcher: [00:32:51] Yeah, sort of adding to that. I mean, I think we’ve seen in so many aspects of our society, that Covid– pardon me for using this word, it’s overused by so many Silicon Valley trust funders, but– it has been a source for like, creative disruption. It has fundamentally, like, I think you’re also like seeing this, you know, what the back that, you know, workers are now, especially people in the restaurant and hospitality industry, are like demanding, you know, they get higher wages for their jobs.

And now that they’ve had a taste for, you know, actually being paid more on, you know, unemployment insurance than they did at their actual jobs. And then I think a similar thing, I think, for museums, for a lot of other institutions that had to like, pivot, to you know, distanced work or remote work.

I think there are many people, especially those who are disabled and for whom commuting to a physical location is incredibly difficult. And now as businesses are trying to return to business as usual, I think a lot of people are saying, “no, wait! This doesn’t make sense!” you know, even outside, where I live in South Philly, there’s so many restaurants that like moved outdoors. And especially in urban environments, to not, you know, to not have cars, you know, dominated by streets and for people to be, you know, having dinner outside.

I think there’s so many aspects of Society that we’ve now realized are arbitrary. And in some ways, very, almost like stumbling blocks or people who are really disadvantaged, so… And I I think we can’t return to business as usual. And when we really have to learn from the kind of forced changes that a lot of institutions had to make.

Natalie Sandstrom:[00:34:41] Yeah, Nathan, I think that’s such a great point to wrap us up here. That we can’t return to business as usual. And I think for me, being part of this conversation with you all, there’s been so much generative brainstorming that’s taken place, and thinking about what a new business model, arts model, community model, could look like that’s not “as usual” is a great challenge for everyone who’s tuning into this.

So, with that, we’re gonna wrap up today. And as we close this conversation we’re actually also closing this mini-series on Cultural Access. Thank you again to Nathan, Donna, to Andrea, and to everyone who has joined me previously for these conversations!

It’s just been a couple of short episodes, but I think it’s been a great taste for a huge topic with so many other players involved, and I hope that the series has given you a good introduction to some of these conversations happening in the fields. I know that I’ve learned a lot and I hope that you have to.

Remember that there’s gonna be some recommended resources, on the page with which this will be posted. So feel free to follow up with further information, learning tools, links to organizations like Art-Reach and Hands up, and more.

So thank you for tuning in! Thanks to Artblog for being such a great hub, and advocate for Philly’s arts and culture scene. And thank you again to today’s speakers!

Hi. Bye!

Tags

andrea kirsh, apple podcasts, Art Historian, art reach, ASL interpretation, covid-19, Cultural Accessibility, Cultural Accessibility in Philadelphia, cultural equity, Donna Ellis, Hands UP Productions, Independent Autism Consultant, Kate Fialkowski, Katie Samson, Natalie Sandstrom, Nathan Deitcher, Spotify, temple university, the barnes foundation, The Mutter Museum, universal design

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