Access to the Arts, Inc.

An arts and disability advocacy organization




Who We Are
Access to the Arts, Inc. is an all-volunteer arts and disability advocacy organization.



For years arts and disability advocates have been involved with removing architectural barriers. This did not increase the number of disabled patrons of the arts. We wondered why. We found some barriers are hard to "overcome" with advocacy. We found few disabled people have financial resources or experience with an inaccessible environment and most have a fear, an apprehension, of trying something new.

In 1989, The Advocado Press, Inc. developed the Access to the Arts Project to "overcome" the final barriers between people with disabilities and art. The Advocado Press, publisher of The Disability Rag/Ragged Edge magazines, originally funded the program from a grant from the Kentucky Arts Council.

In 1991, Access to the Arts (A2A) incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Board of Directors and volunteers for Access to the Arts include artists, persons with disabilities, and community volunteers. We have taken people with disabilities to art; we advise art groups on access and relevant disability issues; and we assist disabled artists by providing them with information on exhibits, classes, fellowships, etc.


What We Do

Our programs have included:

1. The Audience Development Project, which raised money, provided tickets to events and provided "peer" volunteers to escort people to art. Participants reacted positively by continual participation--often paying part of their way--and by volunteering as peer escorts.

2. The Pratt Project, which trained volunteers/peers (other disabled people) to escort people to activities/events and provides them with arts advocacy training. It also provides information about accessible arts events.

3. The KYDAD Project, which provides information about arts opportunities to artists and promotes disability art in Kentucky.

A2A has received local, state and national grants, and donations from individual contributors. We're a small organization of volunteers and we realize we can do as much as our resources and energies allow.

Special events

Since 1990 Access to the Arts Inc. has joined with others to bring disability art to the community.

In April 1990 A2A and Artswatch co-sponsored Jean Stewart reading her poetry and from her novel, The Body's Memory, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

In April 1993 A2A and Artswatch, co-sponsored Cheryl Marie Wade performing from her work, A Woman with Juice, Disability Style, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

In August 2002 A2A organized a reading of disability writers for our first evening of disability readings. The readers were: Fred Otto, Julie Shaw Cole, Cass Irvin and special guest reader, Barry Bernson. That same evening, Access to the Arts, Inc. and the Advocado Press co-sponsored a book signing and sale of books from the Advocado Press, publisher of The Disability Rag and Ragged Edge magazines.


Access to the Arts, Inc. promotes access art, especially American Sign Interpretation, and Audio Description of performances.
For more information contact:
Actor's Theatre of Louisville
316 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202-4218


The Kentucky Center
501 W. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 562-0100

A2A provides scholarships to arts access ADA workshops.
For more information contact us or

Stacy Ridgway
Director of Access Services
Kentucky Center
(502) 562-011
TTY (502) 562-0140

Recent activities


As you may know, Access to the Arts, Inc. (A2A) has been on a bit of a hiatus while our director took time off to work on a major writing project. We are happy to announce that Cass Irvin, our Executive Director, has written a memoir, Home Bound, published by Temple University Press.

home bound book cover If you have read much of Cass's work in The Disability Rag and Ragged Edge magazines, you will find some of this book familiar.

In Home Bound, Irvin tells of the remarkable journey that transformed her from a young girl too timid to ask for help to a community activist and writer who speaks forcefully about the needs of people with disabilities. This book also is testimony to the importance of community building and organizing as well as the story of one woman's struggle for independence. MORE.



Arts funding

The National Endowment for the Arts

Very Special Arts (disability art/artists)

VSA of Kentucky

The Kentucky Arts Council (Go to this site to find other state arts councils)


To contact us:

Access to the Arts, Inc.
304 East Kenwood Drive
Louisville KY 40214-2842

© Copyright 2004 A2A, Inc.

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