Arts Access Chautauqua draws broad constituency, invites public participation

The Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts, always overflowing with energy, will be more than ever bursting with artistic spirit on Friday and Saturday, September 25-26, when the state’s vast community of artists with disabilities, arts administrators and arts participants will gather for the Minnesota Arts Access Chautauqua.

The Arts Access Chautauqua marks the first time since 1992 that all the players will come together to identify challenges, explore opportunities and, most of all, to “recognize and show artistically the emergence of people with disabilities as active members of the Minnesota arts community.

Sponsoring organization is VSA Minnesota which now makes its home in the Hennepin Center for the Arts, the Education Wing of the Cowles Center.**

The Chautauqua agenda features a huge array of forums, presentations, showcases for participants and occasions for exchange of ideas and hopes. There are presentations on arts access in Greater Minnesota, on theatrical interpreting, and a host of others including one on “Making your website accessible” that should certainly have appeal to a broad audience. All are listed and annotated, with background information on presenters, on the Chautauqua website. Learn more by clicking on http://vsamn.org/join-us-for-the-minnesota-arts-access-chautauqua.

There will also be a public performance involving Minnesotans with and without disabilities who will speak, perform, exhibit and discuss as musicians, actors, storytellers, dancers, writers, visual artists, arts administrators and audiences. Tickets for the public not attending the Chautauqua are just $15, students/seniors $8. There is also a visual art exhibit and sale with artwork by more than 30 Minnesota artists with disabilities.

Registration costs are minimal. A day’s registration includes breakfast and lunch. Friday’s registration includes the 7:30 p.m. performance and reception. Registration for both days is $60 after September 16, $70 at the door. Friday only $40, Saturday only $30. Questions about registration? Contact shelia@vsamn.org or info@vsamn.org or call 612 332 3999 or 800 801 3883.

Funding for the Arts Access Chautauqua is made possible by a grant from the State Arts Board with funds from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

** Note for out of touch readers like me, VSA Minnesota is now the official name of the organization once known as Very Special Arts Minnesota. The name change reflects the fact that “words such as special, very special and handicapped do not reflect language trends in the United States and many other countries”.)

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