The Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities (MOPD) and the New York Yankees celebrated Disability Awareness Night as part of the MOPD’s commemoration of the 21ST Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Before the Yankees took on the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, MOPD Commissioner Matthew Sapolin presented Certificates of Appreciation on behalf of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to Art Beyond Sight/Art Education for the Blind and IDEAS.
“As we do every year, I am pleased to present Certificates of Appreciation on behalf of the Mayor to New York City entities that help improve the lives of people with disabilities. This year, we are delighted to honor two outstanding organizations, Art Beyond Sight and I.D.E.A.S., both of which have shown a dedication to the inclusiveness of people with disabilities in culture and the arts,” said Commissioner Sapolin. “I would like to thank the New York Yankees for continuing our partnership in their Disability Awareness Night, which continues to provide a platform for our message of inclusiveness and diversity for people with disabilities, and look forward to continuing this endeavor in the years to come.”
The New York Yankees are one of the most successful and popular sports franchises in the world. Each year, the Yankees host Disability Awareness Night at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, at which MOPD is invited to present awards to organizations and individuals who have made a difference in improving the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities. The Yankees and MOPD, along with other private and public organizations, worked together to ensure accessibility for disabled visitors to the new Yankee Stadium.
For 25 years, Art Beyond Sight (formerly Art Education for the Blind) has been working to make art and culture accessible for all. The Manhattan-based nonprofit organization has created teaching methods and materials that are used by museum educators and special education instructors here in New York, as well as across the country and around the world. Art Beyond Sight’s methodology, initially created for people with vision loss, has proven equally effective with people with developmental and emotional disabilities.
In addition to the wide variety of programs offered by Art Beyond Sight, one in particular has a Yankee connection: New York Beyond Sight (www.nybeyondsight.org), a program which makes NYC landmarks accessible to blind and sighted New Yorkers through recorded visual descriptions. It received a Jodi Awards “Commendation for Compelling Content,” presented at the 2010 European Conference on E-Inclusion in Brussels, where the program was featured. Among the recordings on this Website is Yankees’ announcer Michael Kay’s verbal description of Yankee Stadium.
Other Art Beyond Sight programs include:
Multi-modal Approaches to Learning International Conferences, cosponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and hosted at the museum.
Art Beyond Sight Laboratory for Learning, which offers a unique hands-on multimodal program for children and teens with visual impairments, developmental and emotional disabilities.
Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month, an international initiative and a network of over 250 institutions that works to bring public attention to the need for and benefits of making art and visual culture accessible to all.
Interactive Drama for Education and Awareness in the Schools (I.D.E.A.S.) is being recognized for their work in theater arts with youth with disabilities, both in-school and after-school. Founded in 1999, I.D.E.A.S. was established to offer drama programs at the heart of a well-rounded education that focuses on the individual, using drama as a teaching and learning tool. The populations of youth I.D.E.A.S. works with include those with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities, ages 5-21, providing equal access to participatory drama opportunities. I.D.E.A.S. has an office in Brooklyn, though teaching artists bring programs to the youth wherever they are throughout the city. I.D.E.A.S.’ drama programs were designed for experiential learning, where youth with disabilities are not just audience members, but actors themselves, learning directly from theater professionals in the following areas:
Creative Drama. Students learn the basics of improvisational drama techniques: thinking quickly, listening to each other, using their imagination and working together. Youth learn creative drama practices and structure, including how to create theatrical scenes without a script, cooperative group interaction and ensemble-building, as well as learning new vocabulary specific to drama as well as expressive literacy.
Sociodrama. Students are offered an emphasis on handling social situations such as bullying, gossip, peer pressure, violence, and more. I.D.E.A.S. strives to instill a confidence in youth with disabilities that is a "can do" attitude, which starts from learning who they are and focusing on their abilities and strengths.
The Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities, established in 1973, serves as a liaison between city government and disabled individuals, as well as organizations dedicated to improving the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.
Contact: Evelyn Erskine 212-788-2958