Broadway Grand Rapids improves on accessibility

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Photo Courtesy of Broadway Grand Rapids

Access to the arts can be challenging for a variety of reasons. A new initiative – Broadway Arts Access – endeavors to break down barriers that prevent people from attending live theatrical events. 

“We are excited and proud to provide more accessibility to the community,” said Meghan Distel, president and CEO of Broadway Grand Rapids. 

The Broadway Arts Access program addresses economic, cultural and physical aspects that can limit access to the theater and will focus on three key areas: Seats for Kids, Seats for Families and Seats for Community. 

Seats for Kids is a scholarship fund already in existence. It’s aimed at introducing economically disadvantaged children to the performing arts, providing free tickets to children through community organizations and Title 1 schools. 

Seats for Families takes the Seats for Kids program a step further to provide financial assistance to entire families who wish to attend Broadway Grand Rapids events. 

“We’re giving opportunities to people who might not otherwise have a chance to experience Broadway,” Distel said. “We want people to feel welcomed and know that it’s (theater) not just an experience for the wealthy.”

The Seats for Community program will involve community partner organizations, like the Women’s Resource Center and Boys and Girls Club. Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are at the heart of this third initiative. 

Distel said Broadway Arts Access is taking steps to improve the audience experience for the hard of hearing and visually impaired. Funds will be used for outreach and services such as American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning and audio description for performances. 

Broadway Grand Rapids is partnering with Disability Advocates of Kent County to identify other areas of need.

Fundraising efforts are underway and more details will be available in the coming weeks. For more information, visit the Broadway Grand Rapids website or call Broadway Grand Rapids, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  at (616) 235-6285.

To make a donation to Broadway Arts Access, visit this link.

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