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“Is Your Residency Wheelchair Accessible?”

March 22, 2016
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I’ve attended and applied to a good many residencies that are wheelchair accessible. And I’ve wanted to apply to a good many whose websites didn’t say one way or the other. So I send a message asking, “Is your residency wheelchair accessible.” Here are some of the answers.

“My apologies for the slow reply. I’m embarrassed to admit I actually don’t know the answer to your question, but I will do my best to check over the next day or two and get back to you. If you would like to submit an application in the meantime, I’d be happy to waive your fee, and to review your application as long as it arrives within the next five days. ‪Thanks for bringing to our attention an issue that we didn’t clarify. This is our first year, so we’re still working out some kinks.”

I never heard from the above place again, despite sending a follow-up e-mail. 

“. . . welcomes applications from everyone. ‪However, the fellows residences are part of a historical, residential complex that have not been made wheelchair accessible.‪ Thank you for your inquiry.” 

Everyone? 

‪”I am sorry to tell you that we are currently not wheelchair accessible. Our board of directors has struggled to find a way to modify our historic 116 year old building. We do have temporary ramps for day use, but not a living space that is accessible. I am happy to say that we have embarked on a fundraising project to upgrade an adjacent cabin and intend to do that work in the spring of 2017  – I hope you will check in next winter to confirm that we will be fully accessible by the 2017 season.” 

“In response to your query, the Foundation is not actually equipped to receive wheelchair bound Fellows and guests.  However we are currently in the process of having architectural plans drawn up to make the necessary adaptations to the property to make it possible.  I am not sure that these works will have been carried out by Spring 2016, but we are certainly aiming to have them done for the following residency periods in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.”

“Hi Sandra Thanks for your email. Unfortunately it is not. I hope to change that in the future. all the best,

“Unfortunately they are not at the moment. This is something that we are hoping to be able to alleviate in the future. ‪Thank you so much for your inquiry!”

The future! I hear so much about “the future.” I’m always, by nature, despite experience, hopeful. 

“Hi Sandra.  We are not wheelchair accessible.  The cottages and the main building are situated on uneven, unpaved land.  To get to the main building there are wood stairs.  I’ve attached a photo.  I’m sorry if our design will keep you from applying, but this is how we are set up. ‪Best regards,”

This one right above is from a residency that was recently created from scratch. Here’s what they proudly have to say about themselves. “The Residency has been specifically designed, from the site selection to the architecturally specific building concepts, layouts, and materials, to combine the opportunity for solitude with the opportunity for daily community that fosters creative endeavor.”

 

P.S. Just a heads-up. Don’t tell me about all the residencies that are accessible. I know about and am glad for those. Don’t tell me to check out the Alliance of Artists Communities website which I already know has a category listed that forces residencies to claim their accessibility status with a clear “yes” or “no.” I think the Alliance is great for doing this. Perhaps someday, in this future that keeps promising to arrive, we will all be shocked that a “no” answer didn’t disqualify a residency from membership.


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