Reach for Resources invites all individuals with disabilities, ages 13 and older, to a holiday jamboree, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Fri, Dec 13, at St. Louis Park Recreation Center’s Banquet Room, 3700 Monterey Dr. S. Attendees will enjoy hot chocolate while making holiday-themed crafts, listening to great music, and playing winter Bingo. Make new friends, win prizes and bring in the holidays with festive cheer. Cost is $10 by 12/9 or $15 at the door. Online registration available.
A Christmas Carol
Guthrie Theater presents the beloved Christmas story, at Guthrie Theater, Guthrie Theater, Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 2nd St. S., Mpls. ASL offered 7:30 p.m. Sat, Dec. 28. Relaxed performance offered 1 p.m. Sat, Dec. 28. Tickets reduced for accessible performance (regular $15-93). FFI: 612-377-2224, www.guthrietheater.org
Save the date for PACER
PACER Center’s annual gala always features a well-known performer and 2020 is no exception. Guests will spend the evening of April 25 being entertained by Motown legend Smokey Robinson, who has been called the reigning genius of Top 40 and America’s greatest living songwriter.” He is best known for more than 30 chart-topping hits, including “Tears of a Clown,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and “I Second That Emotion,” all performed in his amazing high tenor voice. The spectacular evening celebrates PACER’s work on behalf of families of children with disabilities and all students who are bullied. It includes delicious food, live ands silent auctions and more., Tickets start at $75: Purchase online.
Sensory Friendly Sundays at the Walker
Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls, hosts Sensory Friendly Sundays, 8-11 a.m. Sun, Jan. 12. It is a monthly, free event for kids, teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities and their families, offering the opportunity to make art together, explore the galleries, watch a short film, or just hang out in a different setting. The galleries will be closed to all other visitors, allowing guests to enjoy the museum in a safe environment where accommodations such as quiet spaces, headphones and fidgets can be provided. In order to ensure an optimal experience and avoid crowds, reserve space ahead of time online. This program was created in consultation with AuSM and the University of Minnesota’s Occupational Therapy Program. Upcoming dates Nov. 10 and Dec. 8. FFI: 612-375-7610, www.walkerart.org
Bakken Museum Sensory Friendly Sunday
Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave S, Mpls. offers Sensory Friendly Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. the second Sun of every month. Next date is Jan. 12. The days allow people with autism spectrum disorders and sensory processing differences to have an enjoyable and interactive learning experience in a comfortable and accepting environment. Events will include modified programming for diverse sensory needs and specialized staff training. Bakken Museum is the world’s only library and museum devoted to medical electricity. Its SF program was developed in consultation with AuSM. The museum will continue be open to the general public from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sun. Activities are free with museum admission, which starts at $10 for adults and includes discounts for children and seniors. http://www.thebakken.org/
Gallery tours in ASL
Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls, offers free gallery tours in ASL. Next dates are 6 p.m. Thu, Jan. 16. No reservations required. A different exhibit is viewed each time. FFI: 612-375-7564.
Science Museum Sensory Friendly Sundays
Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, hosts Sensory Friendly Sundays, 9 a.m. Sun, Jan. 19. Early access to galleries, and a lights-up, sounds-down Omnitheater show, which starts at 9 a.m. Tickets $8.95 to $24.95. Discounts for individuals, families and groups with limited incomes and free for working direct support staff when visiting with a client. Other tools for making a museum visit successful for visitors with autism and other sensory processing issues include pre-visit social narratives available for download online, SF companion scripts for Omnitheater films, noise-dampening headphones, SF visitors’ guide, and a renovated wellness room designed to give visitors a private, out-of-the-way space to nurse a child, pray or simply recharge away from the hustle and bustle of a busy museum.
Located on Level 4 near the Native American exhibition, the room is outfitted with soft lighting, a door that locks, a changing table, rocking chair, and other seating. Ask at the exhibits entrance for sound dampening headphones, a timer, or a kit containing headphones, fidgets, gloves, and sunglasses. It is available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. The program was created in consultation with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AusM). FFI: 651-221-9444 or 800-221-9444. www.smm.org
Tour for People with Memory Loss
At 10 a.m. on the first Tue of every month the historic James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, offers a sensory-based tour designed for people with memory loss and their caregivers. Each themed tour, usually an hour or less, highlights three rooms and is followed by an optional social time until 11:30 a.m. with pastries and coffee. Private group tours available for care facilities. Next tour Tue, Jan. 7. Free but reservations required. FFI: 651-297-2555, www.mnhs.org
Open Flow Forum
The Artists with Disabilities Alliance meets the first Thursday of the month, 7-9 p.m. at Walker Community Church, 3104 16th Ave. S., Mpls. Upcoming dates Thu, Jan. 2. Join artists with disabilities and supporters to share visual art, writing, music, theater and artistic efforts or disability concerns. Informal, fragrance-free, with shared refreshments. Facilitators are Dan Reiva, Tara Innmon, Andy Sturdevant and Kip Shane. The church is fully accessible. Anyone needing special accommodations should contact Springboard for the Arts, 651-294-0907. Springboard took over the forum from VSA Minnesota and will be distributing the Open Flow notices and Artists’ Pipeline newsletter this fall. Current subscribers will still get information. There may be some small format changes to the look of the newsletter, but otherwise, it will cover the same news and information about artists with disabilities and making the arts accessible to people with disabilities. Submit listings via the Springboard for the Arts website, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Changing of the guard
Looking for a play, concert or musical with accommodations? Although VSA Minnesota has closed its doors, other resources are available to plan that arts outing. Minnesota Access Alliance, which is affiliated with the Minnesota State Arts Board, has an online calendar listing online activities. Find the calendar and other resources at www.mnaccess.org
Minnesota Access Alliance was formed after a group of arts and cultural administrators met through attendance at a Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference put on by the Kennedy Center. After an initial information session at the Bell Museum drew more than 20 organizations- it was clear that there was interest in sharing knowledge and resources about accessibility. In the spring of 2017 a formal steering committee was formed, articles of incorporation drafted – and the group settled on a name: Minnesota Access Alliance.
Other programs have been rehomed. Services for artists with disabilities, including the Open Flow Forum gatherings, will be provided by Springboard for the Arts. Andy Sturdevant will be the contact, at 651-294-0907 or www.springboardforthearts.org
School arts residencies for students with disabilities and teaching artists will be handled by Julie Strand at COMPAS, www.compas.org, 651-292-3249, 651-292-3254
Access Improvement Grants are now in the hands of the Metro Regional Arts Council: www.mrac.org, 651-645-0402; or Scott Artley, Accessibility Program Director, 651-523-6384.Accessibility assistance can be found through the Minnesota State Arts Board (www.arts.state.mn.us, 651-215-1600 or 800-866-2787), regional arts councils and disability organizations such as the Minnesota Council on Disabilities (www.disability.state.mn.us, 651-361-7800, 800-945-8913).
The Enjoy! Calendar will be evolving. Questions can be directed to Managing Editor Jane McClure at email@example.com
A few tips
Here’s a few tips for arts lovers with disabilities, especially as some families plan to attend holiday shows. Make reservations as early as possible and confirm that the accommodation needed is available at the time and date desired. Ask about the run time of a show, so that transportation or a pickup time may be scheduled.
Plan for parking and any walking distance to and from the venue if plans are made to drive there.
It’s always OK to ask if an accommodation can be offered, if one has not been advertised. Again, it’s best to make a request as far in advance as possible.