Arts and Culture Accessibility Unveiled in New Arts Cleveland report

For Immediate Release
Friday, October 9, 2020

CLEVELAND—Today, Arts Cleveland released “Open Caption: Rethinking Accessibility in Cleveland’s Arts and Culture.” The report uncovers what organizations do well, experiences of people with disabilities in the arts and cultural community, where improvement is needed, and the challenges to achieving accessibility goals. The report was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Open Caption” provides a solid snapshot of how individuals with disabilities access arts and culture throughout Cuyahoga County. The study looks at 2019 data yielded from 16 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in Cuyahoga County and a survey developed to capture feedback directly from people with disabilities. The research culminates in a set of concrete, actionable recommendations, intended for arts and cultural organizations, facilities, event-planning teams, institutions or any arts and cultural group or individual seeking enhanced accessibility practices.

Several major findings from the study include:

  • People with disabilities want to see themselves as a more intentional part of diversity, equity and inclusion conversations and planning at arts organizations and institutions
  • People with disabilities are active arts consumers, with almost 50% of survey respondents taking part in arts and culture offerings once a month or more at a wide variety of locations
  • Arts organizations want to strengthen their cultures around greater accessibility, but are often challenged by staff capacity, physical infrastructure limitations and financial resources

The report also boasts original artwork by Cleveland comic artist and icon, John Greiner (John G.). The Path to Access is a “tear-out” poster created by the artist, which takes the viewer visually through some of the recommendations coming out of the research. Readers are invited to hang the poster in their arts spaces as a visual reminder of accessibility practices.

Path to Access illustration of recommendations by John G.
Illustration by John G.

Laura A. Gold, J.D., Community Services Specialist at Services for Independent Living has been an unwavering thought partner with Arts Cleveland on this study. “I am thrilled to see this research come to life in response to a productive partnership with Arts Cleveland focused on facilitating and elevating disability rights in arts and culture,” she says.

Arts Cleveland board chair, Tony Panzica, says, “People with disabilities in Cuyahoga County need the same level of access to arts and culture as the rest of the community. This report can help our arts sector make that happen.”

View the full report, executive summary and poster art at

Read The Plain Dealer article, Cleveland’s arts and culture sector needs to ramp up access for people with disabilities, report says, by Steve Litt.

About Arts Cleveland
Arts Cleveland is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing arts and culture in Cuyahoga County. Through advocacy, research, connections and cross-sector investigations, Arts Cleveland has driven change in the way the community interfaces with and embraces arts and culture. Learn more at and at

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