Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium celebrates abilities by making arts, culture more accessible

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local organization is making cultural spaces accessible for all.

For many like Beth Finke, enjoying major events, cultural spaces and theater was not always an option.

"I used to feel like walk into a theater or a museum and I'd get the feeling like oh no what are we going to do with her, she can't see," said Finke.

That is exactly what the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC) is working to change.

The volunteer organization is partnering with cultural spaces across the city offering training, educational resource and accessible equipment.

"If someone is looking to maybe open caption a performance, maybe it's new to them, maybe it's their first time, they don't necessarily have the equipment in house maybe they can borrow it," said Hillary Pearson of the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium. "There is no cost for them to use to borrow for that engagement."

Theater on the Lake hosted programming to showcase accessible options to a greater community.

Recently, a play titled "Project Potential" was held to show use of ASL audio description narration and captioning.

"We're the park district, the park district is for everyone and that commitment to access requires some real intention," said Theater on the Lake Managing Director, Angelique Grandone. "This has been years figuring out how to make a newer space that was intended to accessible not only in physical ways but in ways for all kinds of different abilities."

Finke says she was able to use CCAC to attend this year's historical mayoral inauguration.

An event she initially thought was not an option for her.

"I wouldn't have gone and I thought about going thinking there's going to be a crowd and how am I going to get through I'll just listen to it on the radio but then CCAC contacted us and let us know that they we going to have this team," said Finke.

"Like so many other people it was a pretty diverse crowd and there we were, I was with a disability and I was there too. It means the world to me," Finke added.

The Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium keeps an access calendar to showcase upcoming events that are inclusive.

"It's all about the things that you can do day to day to make access for everyone better," said Pearson.

You can find more information about CCAC's upcoming events, here.

Credits:
Video: Foxhole Productions

Play: "Project Potential"
by Isaac Gomez
Directed by Laura Alcalá Baker

Lizzy Rangel - ASL Interpreter

Susan Elizabeth Rangel - Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)*

* ACDI is a person who is deaf who is licensed as an interpreter. Makes for a more nuanced and fluent level of translation.

Leslie Perez - actor

Erica Cruz Hernández - actor

Lindsay Drexler and Matt Bivins - caption design

Beth Finke - author, teacher and expert user and consultant for audio description - identifies as a person who is blind

Jack Miggins - audio describer
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