WESTAF is committed to making our programs and services accessible to all communities. While we do not generally hold public events, we do serve a wide array of constituents through our arts technology tools. In addition, as a Regional Arts Organization, WESTAF encourages all grantees and member states to ensure all programming is fully accessible as outlined in the American Disabilities Act and the National Endowment for the Arts Section 504 Self-Evaluation Handbook.

Accessibility Resources

The following resources are divided by organizations, publications, web design, and education. We are always looking for great additions to this list of resources. If you have an idea, please let us know.


ARTABILITY: Accessing Arizona's Arts
ARTability is an informal consortium dedicated to bridging the gap between Arizona's arts organizations and the disabled community. They strive to create an accessible environment for those with special needs in the art world. Please explore their website for information on upcoming accessible events, ARTability meetings, resources and quarterly ARTability newsletters.

AXIS Dance Company
AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities, will change the way you think about dance and the possibilities of the human body forever. Founded in 1987, AXIS has become a jewel of contemporary dance and disability culture. AXIS has paved the way for a powerful contemporary dance form--physically integrated dance--performing in over sixty cities nationwide, as well as in Europe and Siberia.

Coalition for Disabled Musicians
The Coalition for Disabled Musicians (CDM) is a Bay Shore, NY-based group of musicians with various disabilities who have developed creative ways to make music together. Some of their strategies have been technical; an "Adaptive Equipment" link on their site shows various stands that allow musicians to play instruments without supporting the weight of them. Other strategies include a "tag team" approach that allows musicians to spell each other when they become fatigued. Sound samples and profiles of the musicians are included on the site.

Full Radius Dance
Full Radius Dance is a modern dance company that presents mature, choreographically complex works celebrating technique and physicality. The company's focus is on skill and artistry; that some of the dancers use wheelchairs is secondary. The wheelchair may lend additional movement possibilities to the choreography, but is not the focal point of the work. Founded in 1990, Full Radius Dance, originally known as Dance Force, Inc. is one of only a handful of physically-integrated dance companies in the United States.

Infinity Dance Theater
Infinity Dance Theater is a non-traditional dance company committed to expanding the boundaries of dance by featuring dancers with and without disabilities. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kitty Lunn, who founded the organization in 1995, Infinity achieves parity in the world of dance while maintaining high standards of artistic quality. The company aims to inspire people with and without disabilities, encourage their artistic and other professional aspirations, and empower them through the organization's educational and performance programs.

NEA Office for AccessAbility
The National Endowment for the Arts' Office for Accessibility is the advocacy-technical assistance arm of the Arts Endowment to make the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people living in institutions.

National Federation of the Blind
National Federation of the Blind (NFB), an organization created by and for blind individuals, lives wholeheartedly by its statement, "If a blind person has proper training and opportunity, blindness is only a physical nuisance." This belief extends to the arts, particularly the visual arts. A site search for the word "art" turns up Angela Sasser's description of her experience as "an artist who happens to be blind" in a life drawing class, and Blake Gopnik's article on research suggesting that lack of vision may have little or no bearing on the ability to create and appreciate drawings. Other articles include Richard Taesch's report on Braille music instruction for blind students.

The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League (PHAMALy)
PHAMALy is a theatre group and touring company that performs throughout the greater Denver area. PHAMALy was formed in 1989 when a group of former students of the Boettcher School in Denver, Colorado, grew frustrated with the lack of theatrical opportunities for people living with disabilities, and decided to create a theatre company that would provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to perform. As a not-for-profit membership organization, PHAMALy is dedicated to producing traditional theatre in nontraditional ways.


Beyond the AP Stylebook
In 1987, the Associated Press published a list of guidelines for writing about people with disabilities. In the following years, the "Ragged Edge" collected guidelines developed by disability organizations and distilled them into this document. "Beyond the AP Stylebook" primarily contains general tips applicable to any media portrayal of disability, regardless of disability type or article focus.

Disability World
DisabilityWorld is a semi-monthly web publication focused on the worldwide Independent Living movement. Every issue covers arts and media.

Enabled Online
Enabled Online is an attractive online disability publication that's been around since June of 2000. The "Real Lives" section of interviews frequently features artists (a profile of Van Gogh was the cover story in February 2001). Reports from art exhibits and invitations for artists to participate in various shows are also featured; use the "Search" function to look for topics of specific interest.

The Ragged Edge
The Ragged Edge (formerly Disability Rag) has been around for 20 years as a powerful voice from the disability rights movement, tackling difficult issues -- such as appropriate language -- that some other disability publications may avoid. Recognizing that the arts are an important means of communication within the disability community and with the outside world, the Edge regularly features book reviews, poetry and the works of major artists with disabilities. While the online version is abridged from the printed publication, it has the advantage of being able to feature news flashes as they happen.

New Mobility
Slicker than Ragged Edge, but no less sincere, New Mobility focuses primarily on topics of interest to wheelchair users. The magazine periodically covers arts-related topics. A particularly good issue on art and disability that profiles several graphic artists came out in August 2000.

American Printing House for the Blind
American Printing House (APH) provides materials in a variety of accessible formats, including Braille, large print, audio recordings, computer-readable formats and tactile graphics. This web site includes a searchable database of other providers of alternative-format publications. APH sponsors InSights, an annual juried art competition for blind and low-vision artists. Recent competition winners are featured on the site.


Visit this web site to gain access to accessibility tools such as the table and form builder, Dreamweaver 4 modifications, and the form element generator. This little library will help you to build accessibility strength in any site you develop. Before you play with the tools, you might read some of the articles and tutorials located on this site, too.

An Introduction To Accessible Web Design
SitePoint's introduction includes discussion about concepts surrounding accessible web design, the current initiatives to increase the accessibility of websites, and the guidelines that you can use to make your site more accessible.

This link will take you to the JuicyStudios “services” page, where Webmasters and others can find six tools hosted by this site. Among them you’ll discover the readability test that analyses a web page to determine how readable it is, and the Colour Contrast Analyser that tests whether the contrast between the background and the foreground is sufficient. JuicyStudios also provides links to other accessibility tools that users can download, including Firefox extensions. External tools linked to this site include Jens Meiert’s collection of validators. You might visit the Juicy Blog as well to stay on top of news about best practices for web developers.

National Center for Accessible Media
The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) has pioneered many important multimedia access initiatives, not only with regard to web accessibility but also the accessibility of CD-ROM programs, digital television, and motion pictures. The NCAM web site contains information about its initiatives and links to resources on media accessibility.

The Paciello Group
Mike Paciello, a noted author and expert on web accessibility, provides for-profit services, but also this selection of resources based on his years of experience in accessibility.

Standards Schmandards
Peter Krantz works diligently on projects designed to make the web more accessible. Some of his activities include work on Fangs, a screen reader emulator (Firefox Extension), and RAAKT, the Ruby Accessibility Analysis Kit. Krantz’s attitude is that once web accessibility is no longer an issue, then the businesses that charge for the ability to make those Web sites accessible can be eliminated. Browse around to realize the full extent of the tools, articles, and comments offered here.

Ten Tools for Evaluating Web Design Accessibility
Testing for web accessibility is an often neglected part of web design and development. Web accessibility is important not only because your content will reach a wider range of audience, but also because correcting web accessibility issues have secondary benefits such as cleaner and more semantic code and better indexibility on search engines. This resource includes information about 10 free tools to help you evaluate and correct issues which decrease your website’s accessibility. There was a high emphasis on the ease-of-use during the selection of these tools.

Viewable with Any Browser
The campaign behind this site is to support the use of one universal means to view web pages, rather than to create web sites specifically for one browser. The author has created an Accessible Design Guide, and provides example letters to send to web designers who design specifically for one browser only.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) supports the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), including the WAI-ARIA, or the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite. The latter tool defines a way to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. Readers can learn about accessibility initiatives from the WAI and use tools provided by the WAI-ARIA. Of special note are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which provide the basis for many accessibility tools available today.

This site aims to expand the web's potential for people with disabilities, so they provide a guide to web accessibility and numerous evaluation tools and papers on design and delivery. A good portion of their content is online and freely available, but they also offer tools that, for a reasonable price, can help businesses and individuals gain a leg up on a site’s accessibility problems. The site is active in incorporating developers to beta test new accessibility tools such as their WAVE 4.0, a web accessibility evaluation tool that exposes errors and highlights content where accessibility considerations require human judgment.

100 Killer Web Accessibility Resources: Blogs, Forums and Tutorials
This page features accessibility resources for developers in every area.


Gallaudet University
Gallaudet has been around since 1864 and remains the only university in the world specifically designed to meet the needs of deaf and hearing-impaired students.