Monday, February 1, 2021

Full Line-up of Virtual “Access Thursdays” announced by the Cultural Access Network Project


WHEN: First Thursdays, February through May; Awards on June 24

The Cultural Access Network Project, a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance, is pleased to announce the 2021 Line-up of “Access Thursdays,” an annual spring series of monthly educational opportunities for the arts and culture field.

“Arts and culture organizations in New Jersey are national leaders in making programs accessible to individuals with disabilities,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance. “Part of what keeps New Jersey at the forefront of this work is the understanding that true accessibility requires ongoing learning and training. Access Thursdays bring the field together to learn from experts and peers about how to ensure the arts are accessible to all.”

“Ensuring accessibility to the arts for all New Jerseyans is a priority of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts,” said Program Officer and the Council’s Access Coordinator Mary Eileen Fouratt. “Access Thursdays provide ongoing learning for arts organizations to continually improve the accessibility of the arts for audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers. The Council is extremely proud of how the Cultural Access Network has been a national leader.”

The 2021 Access Thursdays Series will be fully virtual and hosted on Zoom, and will be closed captioned. The series will kick off on February 4th, with a session about making virtual events accessible with accommodations such as captioning and ASL interpretation. “The wealth of virtual programming offered right now makes it possible for people with limited mobility or challenging access to transportation to attend cultural events more than ever before,” said McEwen. “It is important that the accessibility of these events also extends to those with vision or hearing loss as well.”

Staff members form New Jersey arts and cultural organizations can register for one or all of the events HERE. 

The full lineup of Access Thursdays is below:

Thursday, February 4, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

How to Make Your Virtual Programming Events Accessible 

As cultural organizations are increasing their virtual programming offerings, this is a perfect opportunity to expand an organization's reach by ensuring that its virtual programming is accessible to those with hearing loss, those who are Deaf, and those with vision loss. Hear from a panel of cultural colleagues who will share their experiences and insights on how to make virtual arts events accessible. Guest Speakers: David Chu, Founder, C2 (Caption Coalition); Richard Denney, Director of Audience Services, The Public Theatre; Beth Prevor, Cultural Access Coordinator, New Jersey Theatre Alliance and Executive Director, HandsOn. 

Thursday, March 4,  10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Websites: An Essential Tool to Market Your Accessible Programs and Services

As we all know, websites are critical in branding our organizations and sharing important information with the public about our programs and services. Learn how to make your website accessible, especially to those with vision loss, and best practices in promoting your accessible accommodations and services on your website. Guest Speaker: Walei Sabry, Digital Accessibility Coordinator, New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication.

Thursday, April 1,  10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Advisory Boards — Access and Inclusion Advocates

As organizations move forward in ensuring that their programs and facilities are accessible and marketing their accommodations to the public, the Cultural Access Network Project has always been a strong advocate of advisory boards. Learn how to set up an advisory board, the characteristics of an advisory board member, and roles and responsibilities. The benefits of sharing an advisory board with other organizations in your community will also be discussed. This discussion will be moderated by Beth Bienvenu, Director, Office of Accessibility, National Endowment for the Arts.

Thursday, May 6,  10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Virtual Programming: A Continued Conversation on How to Plan for a Hybrid of Accessible Live and Virtual Events

Details and guest speakers to be announced.


Thursday, June 24,  10:30 AM — 12:30 PM

The Cultural Access Awards

Awards will be presented to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and innovation in making arts and culture accessible in their communities. The awards presentation will be preceded by a keynote speaker and panel on the intersection of disability justice and anti-racism.

The Cultural Access Network Project  is a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, and contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including Amazon, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Grunin Foundation, The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, City National Bank, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Investors Bank, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, Kessler Foundation, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, and The Union Foundation.