No Limits: An Arts Series Focused on Access for All
The Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation (IBCF), in partnership with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI), was awarded the Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation Grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. in December, 2018 to create, launch and sustain the No Limits Arts Series over a three year period.
The No Limits Arts Series is centered on strengthening accessibility not only in arts organizations throughout Marion County, but also at ISBVI. However, the approach to improving access is unique as it integrates the No Limits Leadership Club, comprised of ISBVI high school aged youth, as the leading voices for change. Student leaders attend weekly after-school Club sessions throughout the school year to build and strengthen students’ voices, increase knowledge surrounding advocacy, develop leadership skills, and connect to their community. These student leaders work alongside staff at the Eiteljorg Museum, Heartland Film, Capital City Chorus, ArtMix, The Phoenix Theatre, and Dance Kaleidoscope to address the inequities for access in each arts organization, create and implement solutions together that dissolve physical and social barriers to inclusion, and widen doors for all people with disabilities as increased access evolves in each partner organization and beyond. The meetings, trainings, and engagement with the arts partners each year provide real world training in which students put their knowledge and strategies learned from the Leadership Club into action.
Check out the Leadership Club in action at the Eiteljorg Museum!
This video features student leaders working with Eiteljorg Museum staff and volunteers from February, 2019 – May, 2019. The access strategies provided by students were included in the Please Touch! Sculptures of Michael Naranjo exhibit on display at the Eiteljorg Museum through July 26, 2020.
No Limits funding provided for the renovation of ISBVI’s 1930’s 400 seat auditorium, which now houses all new audio, lighting, video technology, and accessibility features for every No Limits performance or event. IBCF launched its first concert on July 26, 2019 (the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law), reminding attendees that while many physical barriers have been removed social barriers still exist. These updates allow the auditorium to be open to the public as a venue for more professional events such as concerts, plays, musicals, movie viewings, presentations and so on. The updates focused on access for all, so individuals of all abilities are provided a safe and comfortable environment with the necessary equipment and technology, such as audio description devices and captioning, for a comprehensive artistic experience.
The auditorium will continue its reach and serve as a learning laboratory for ISBVI students to engage in creative experiences throughout the school year as the No Limits arts partners extend their reach and impact on numerous students of all ages through dance workshops, choir practice, script writing, and acting.
As we look forward to the next year and a half of this grant, we’re excited about seeing more growth in our student leaders as well as our Arts Partners throughout the Indianapolis community. The Indiana Blind Children's Foundation hosts an annual No Limits Celebration and Kick-Off event on the anniversary weekend of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law. Each year, an artist takes the stage that mirrors the strengths and abilities of the children we serve.
Join us this year on Friday, August 6, 2021, for the first virtual No Limits Celebration featuring Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton.