The New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Cultural Access Network is partnering with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and VSA Arts of New Jersey for Building Bridges for EmployABILITY in the Arts: A Forum for Artists with Disabilities and Employers.

Christine Bruno, actress and disability advocate for Inclusion in the Arts says, “Forums like Building Bridges for EmployABILITY are vitally important, not only because they give a face, voice and platform to disabled artists, but perhaps more importantly because they bring awareness to industry professionals and potential employers that disabled artists bring to the table a wealth of talent, accurate storylines, authentic characters, and shared humanity that audiences of all abilities are hungry to see.”

Three different events are being held — one in north, central, and south Jersey — with programs to benefit artists, performers, and arts administrators with disabilities, and employers. The central New Jersey event takes place on Monday, April 20, at Grounds For Sculpture.

Steve Runk, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, says, “Achieving universal access to the arts for all people is central to the Arts Council’s mission so that everyone may participate in and benefit from the many ways the arts enhance our lives.”

Cultural employers and artists of all abilities will have an opportunity to network and participate in a series of sessions that will provide them the tools and resources to heighten the awareness of the artist abilities and the employers’ needs. Sample sessions include: working through the Social Security maze; Success stories — role model partnerships between artists with disabilities and employers; Planning ahead: tips for employers/ vocational counselors — how to provide accommodations within your budget, how best to interview/audition someone with a disability, how to recognize talent and support it; Technology — how to make it work for you, and how to market yourself; The Basics — auditioning, interviewing skills, copyrighting, getting an agent, and/or working with a curator

Performances and visual artwork by artists with disabilities will be featured at each forum.

Maria Clark, actress and author, says: “The statewide forums will be a very valuable opportunity for artists with disabilities and the casting agents, directors, etc. who will be working with them. It will offer much-needed education to those directors and casting agents who may tap this resource.”

Building Bridges for Employability in the Arts, New Jersey Theater Alliance and VSA Arts of New Jersey, Monday, April 20. Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton. Forum for artists, performers, and arts administrators with disabilities. Performances and visual artwork by artists with disabilities will be featured. Speakers include Mark Roxey, Roxey Ballet; Stephanie Moore, Visual Arts for VSA Arts; Christine Bruno, Inclusion in the ARts; Paula Terry, National Endowment for the Arts; and Steve Steiner, Surflight Theater. Register. 973-731-6582 or www.culturalaccessnetwork.org.

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