A national Internet guide to accessible art galleries has been launched online at http://www.goodgalleryguide.com, writes David Gilbert.
The Good Gallery Guide, funded by the New Audiences Programme, Lloyds TSB Foundation and the Scottish Arts Council, showcases venues that are leading the way in making art welcoming and accessible to exhibitors and audiences, whatever their needs.
Set up by the Art House, which campaigns for inclusive work and exhibiting opportunities for artists and craftspeople, the guide aims to feature 60 galleries by the end of this year. Its primary aim is to support and encourage truly inclusive use of galleries by highlighting those venues that are addressing access issues imaginatively and well.
In the guide we consider sensory and intellectual as well as physical access and ask questions such as ?does the gallery make use of sensitive interpretation strategies when presenting artists? work?" and ?is a gallery visit the pleasure it should be or do barriers to access make it a chore?" Often access can be improved with simple solutions, such as the provision of magnifiers or the installation of an induction loop at the reception desk.
The detailed reports on the website are based on anonymous visits by someone with a disability as well as a background in the arts. They give a personal view of each gallery. The guide is not a substitute for an access audit, but a visit from the Good Gallery Guide can help a venue to identify areas where improvements could help to cater for disabled visitors. In addition, it aims to give support to galleries committed to raising standards of access, by publicising progress already made and by networking to share advice, ideas and resources. In Yorkshire, where the Art House is based, a group of curators and gallery managers are brought together by the Good Gallery Guide every six months to share learning about access issues.
David Gilbert is Manager at the Art House. t: 01302 368555; Minicom: 01302 326187 e: firstname.lastname@example.org