Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities

The Arts Endowment seeks to address barriers and advance training and career opportunities in the arts for individuals with disabilities-- in the strong belief that inclusion must be ever present in our vision and that all Americans have the opportunity to create and participate fully in the arts.

Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities National Online Dialogue Brief
"What ideas do you have to increase the career preparation and employment for people with disabilities in the arts?" This question was posed to participants in an online discussion hosted by the NEA in partnership with the National Arts and Disability Center (NADC) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in June 2016. Using ODEP’s ePolicyWorks online dialogue platform, this conversation engaged 390 participants representing artists, arts administrators, arts organizations, arts educators, arts employers, and disability organizations, who shared feedback from their own experiences and offered ideas about how to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in the arts. This brief provides a summary of these ideas and recommendations for the field. Careers in the Arts Dialogue

NEA Roundtable: Creating Opportunities for Deaf Theater Artists
This report summarizes a roundtable conversation hosted by the NEA on creating opportunities for Deaf theater artists. More than 50 artists, administrators, academics, and funders gathered in New York City in January 2016 to discuss barriers, needs, and opportunities for American Deaf theater artists. The primary focus of the discussion was the development and production of plays 1) written by Deaf playwrights, 2) featuring themes focused on the lives of Deaf individuals, and 3) that can expand meaningful employment opportunities for Deaf artists (e.g., actors, designers, directors, sign masters). See blog post "Creating Opportunities for Deaf Theater Artists"

National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities (pdf)
On July 22-24, 2009, more than 130 decision makers in the arts, education, government, disability, and research fields convened to address training, education, and employment for people with disabilities who are pursuing arts careers. The National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities was organized and presented by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with nine other public and private groups. Summit participants developed recommendations by arts discipline which should provide a framework for planning and further action by the partnership and the field at large.

National Forum on Careers in the Arts for People With Disabilities
On June 14-16, 1998, the first-ever National Forum on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities was convened at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to formulate strategies for addressing barriers faced by people with disabilities pursuing arts careers. The National Endowment for the Arts initiated and developed a series of agreements with four other agencies to sponsor and participate in this working forum, whose guidance continues to promote alliances between the arts and disability communities for advancing access to the full spectrum of arts careers.

Links

National Arts and Disability Center
A resource, information and training center dedicated to promoting the full inclusion of persons with disabilities into the visual-, performing-, literary-, and media-arts communities.

The National Disability Arts Forum
Established in 1990 to foster equality of opportunity for disabled people in all aspects of the arts.

VSA art
Formerly Very Special Arts, VSA arts is a private, non-profit, international organization that provides programs in creative writing, dance, drama, literature, music and visual arts for individuals with physical or mental disabilities. The Kennedy Center maintains a list of accessiblity resources.

SSA logo

Ticket to Work
The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program is an employment program for people with disabilities who are interested in employment. The Ticket Program is part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 – legislation designed to remove many of the barriers that previously influenced people’s decisions about going to work because of the concerns over losing health care coverage. The goal of the Ticket Program is to increase opportunities and choices for Social Security disability beneficiaries to obtain employment, vocational rehabilitation, and other support services from public and private providers, employers, and other organizations.