Foundation Friday: Met Pays

A slightly belated congratulations to Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater on receipt of the Metlife Foundation Award honoring performing arts institutions for exceptional commitment to enhancing participation by people with disabilities.  Nothing could be further from a token effort: from a range of assistive services to "Crip Slam," a theatrical series exploring the experience of disability, Victory Gardens walks the walk of inclusion.  Bravo, and thanks to MetLife for recognizing the theater’s work! 

VICTORY GARDENS THEATER WINS METLIFE FOUNDATION AWARD FOR
EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION AND ACCESS

CHICAGO, February 13, 2008 – Leaders of Chicago’s Victory Gardens
Theater Access Project proudly accepted the MetLife Foundation Award for
Excellence and Innovation in Access at the Association of Performing Arts
Presenters national awards ceremony, held January 15 in New York City.

The MetLife Foundation Award for Innovation in Access, which included a
$10,000 cash award for the non-profit Victory Gardens, honored the
theater’s Access Project, a nationally recognized model outreach effort committed
to involving people with disabilities in all aspects of theater, both on
and off the stage. 

The Arts Presenters/MetLife Foundation Awards for Arts Access honors
those performing arts venues that demonstrate a depth and breadth of
inclusion that permeates every fiber of the organization – from planning and
evaluation to mission, leadership, budgeting, outreach and programming. . . .

Through the Access Project, Victory Gardens is Chicago’s #1 provider of
barrier-free theater for persons with disabilities.  Since taking over
the project 15 years ago, the Tony Award-honored Victory Gardens has grown
to be one of the nation’s earliest adopters of assistive services, including
providing Sign Language interpreted performances, captioned and
audio-described shows, large-print and Braille programs, pre-show Touch
Tours of the theater and set, TTY phones, and dedicated wheelchair
seating in the company’s new Biograph Theater mainstage.  The Access Project
also presents Crip Slam, a popular series of performances, readings, films
and other events that promote, explore and celebrate disability culture.
For more information, go to http://victorygardens.org/access

Specifically, the MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence and
Innovation in Access honors "an organization that has been constantly dedicated to
the implementation and evolution of its arts access strategies by the
creation of programming or an organization-wide tool or practice that has been
developed as a response to new technologies, recent demographic changes
to a community or an on-going dialogue with audiences concerned with arts
access."

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