MacLaren Access Art: our commitment to accessibility

Jan 6, 2021

Portrait of MacLaren Art Centre volunteer Jocelyn Hay

Image: Accessibility Coordinator Tyler Durbano

With generous support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the MacLaren Art Centre is excited to announce the development of MacLaren Access Art: accessible exhibition-related programs and interpretive tools designed in consultation with our community. By partnering with ten organizations who are experts in reducing barriers to access, our goal is to increase access to our exhibitions and collection for audiences who are partially sighted and blind, who are hard of hearing and deaf, and who are living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This funding has, in part, allowed us to hire an Accessibility Coordinator to oversee the necessary consultations with partner organizations and craft accessible programs that are responsive to the needs and feedback of our community. The role has been filled by Tyler Durbano, who led our Education department from August 2019 to August 2020.

We are excited to begin to address the physical, intellectual, emotional and environmental barriers that guests with disabilities may face when experiencing our exhibitions, either in the galleries or through exploratory artmaking. We invite you to follow along with us on social media to see MacLaren Access Art take shape.

The MacLaren would like to thank our community partners for their time, support and feedback, without which this pilot project would not be possible: DeafBlind Ontario, CNIB Simcoe Muskoka, Deaf Access, the Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf. Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County, COPE Service Dogs, Brain Injury Services, Empower Simcoe, Camp Hill Communities Ontario and Autism Ontario.

The MacLaren would also like to thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for their financial support. OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. They awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.