The Arvada Center is focusing on the deaf community this year as a part of our mission to “Open Worlds to Everyone and Make the Arts Accessible to All.” A focus group, comprised predominantly of people who are deaf, was organized in July to help assess and offer input regarding current and future adult and children’s programming. “We want to know what the deaf community would like us to be doing to make the arts and the Arvada Center more accessible to them,” says Mickey McVey, education/accessibility director.
With its commitment to making the arts accessible to all
, the Arvada Center makes available several accessibility options for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing. All of the Center’s accessibility services are provided free of charge.
Presently the Center shadow interprets four shows of each children’s theater production as well as American Sign Language (ASL) interprets the summer children’s theater show in the amphitheater. The shadowing technique is unique in that instead of placing interpreters to the side of the stage, interpreters are on stage following the actors and echoing or “shadowing” their motions and emotions.
Thanks to a patron’s request, the Center ASL interpreted The Drawer Boy
, a regional premiere, on September 30, 2003. Rather than the usual format of one interpreter positioned at the side of the stage, there were two interpreters positioned in the moat in front of center stage that shared the interpreting responsibilities. “We hope this will be a stepping stone for more interpreted performances for our adult deaf audience to enjoy,” states Kathy Kuehn, performing arts director.
The Center also provides interpreters for the deaf to participate in any class or tour if arranged in advance. When possible, videos used as a part of gallery-museum exhibitions are captioned.
In 1991, the Center expanded its popular Arts Day
program by introducing Arts Days for students with visual disabilities or for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Arts Day is a fun, hands-on, educational arts experience usually in a three-hour field trip format that includes a theater performance, an arts workshop and a chance to meet the cast.
What kind of programming would you like the Arvada Center to offer? If you have a particular need or insight into programming for deaf or hard of hearing patrons, please contact Mickey McVey, education/accessibility director, at email@example.com
, TTY: 720-898-7203, or 720-898-7235.