BACKGROUND AND POLICY STATEMENT
In service to its mission, Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) and parent organization, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota maintain compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Action of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. MCA is committed to the policy and practice of equal opportunity in education and employment for all qualified persons regardless of race, sex, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, disability, age or any other status protected by law. MCA recognizes the importance of serving persons of all abilities and has accommodated, and will continue to accommodate, all accessibility requests in the future. MCA actively explores methods and leadership practices to enhance arts participation opportunities by all people.
FACILITIES & SERVICES
MCA operates the Valéncia Arts Center, an arts facility compliant with the standards set by ADA. This venue offers street-level curb cuts for wheelchair access. With the exception of the Academy Theatre’s light and sound booth all public and non-public areas including the basement are accessible by wheelchair. Our entire front row of seating in our Academy Theatre can accommodate patrons in wheelchairs, their companions and or guide dogs in close proximity or adjacent spaces. Restrooms have also been equipped with step stools to ensure everyone can reach sinks. Additionally, room signs include braille.
Performances by MCA’s Dance Repertory Company take place at the Saint Mary’s University (SMUMN) Page Theatre. Information about the accessibility services available are published in the season brochure and are posted on SMUMN’s Performance Center website (http://pagetheatre.org/visit/accessibility/). The Performance Center features a handicapped accessible entrance, seating, parking spots, and bathrooms. Upon request the Performance Center offers sign language interpreters, a hearing assist system, large-print programs, Braille programs, TTD/TTY services, assisted listening devices, and a wheelchair. To request accommodations please contact the Performance Center Box Office at 507-457-1715.
All other classes, performances and or rehearsals conducted, sponsored or co-sponsored by MCA are held in spaces that are physically accessible to people with mobility disabilities. This physical access pertains to parking, entrance areas, movement to and through the activity areas and to restroom facilities.
MCA offers an adaptive dance class specifically for those with disabilities in collaboration with Home and Community Options, a local organization that provides support and residential services to individuals with developmental disabilities. We also welcome individuals with disabilities into any of our classes, provided the class is an appropriate fit for participants. An appropriate fit requires that the instructor is able to meet the curricular goals of the class for all participants. Teaching aides including the Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Visual Aid Kit and other teaching materials are used in dance classes to help enhance the experience of students with special needs as well as MCA owns headphones that can be used by students in any program who is experiencing sensory overload. Additionally, we are Dementia Friends. As a part of Winona’s Dementia Friendly Community initiative, we are committed to making MCA accessible and welcoming to individuals with dementia and memory loss.
MCA receives assistance from Saint Mary’s University Marketing department and utilizes a program called Siteimprove to help ensure that our Website content and printed materials meet accessibility guidelines. Additionally, MCA accessibility information can be found on the MCA website on the “About Us” section. MCA has the capability of producing large print materials in-house as needed.
All public and private spaces at the Valencia Arts Center are compliant with standards set by ADA. The entire university is required to meet these standards. Our institution does not have one ADA Coordinator; we have several area specialists who work in conjunction with one another to fulfill this role. James Bedtke is the Vice President for Facilities and monitors our university’s facility upgrades and compliance. Karen Hemker is the Director of Access Services and is responsible for coordinating services including ASL Interpreters, Braille services, and advocates for additional university accessibility services. David Miliotis, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources advocates for any university staff that might need university accessibility services. MCA collaborates with these individuals as need to ensure that our students and patrons have the resources necessary to participate in our programs. MCA’s Managing Director, Jamie Schwaba, serves as the main point of contact for patrons requesting accessibility accommodations.
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate and grow from participating in the Arts. Learn more about our scholarship program.
MCA staff continually evaluates the accessibility of its facilities and programs and ways to make improvements. MCA staff plans to submit a capital request Saint Mary’s University to have the front entrance doors equipped with automatic door activation control buttons to make entrance into the building easier. MCA has plans to upgrade the sound system at the Valencia Arts Center by 2022, including an Assistive Listening System. MCA will do a formal access review every three years.