By Eleanor H. Oakley
President and CEO
With this newly designed website, United Arts enters the first year of a new, three-year strategic plan and new round of programming. Just a month into our new fiscal year, we jump right into our Artists in the Schools program with the booking fair on August 15, and are working on launching several new programs over the coming months.
One has launched this summer: a collaboration with the City of Raleigh Arts Commission on a new capacity-building program — a yearlong arts learning community around the topic of ADA inclusion that will run through June 2016.
How does an arts organization include people with disabilities in its programming? While organizations have been working to develop better accommodations, they still face obstacles to making improvements and questions about the what, why and how of getting things done. The learning community has been created to address these issues. The endeavor seems appropriate on this 25th anniversary year for the ADA legislation.
This month, 10 folks from Raleigh and Wake County are traveling to the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference hosted by the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Eight are staff members from the following: Arts Access; Arts Together; Artspace; CAM Raleigh; Cary Visual Art; PineCone; Raleigh Little Theatre; and the Visual Art Exchange. The Raleigh Arts Office and United Arts will each send one staff person, as well.
Also, representatives from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh's Sertoma Arts Center, and the City of Raleigh's Manager's office are to attend the conference. The total number of attendees from Greater Raleigh will be 14 – one of the largest contingencies from a single community to attend this national conference. We are excited to see what changes the next year holds for the arts and their audiences in Wake County.