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Welcoming the 2021 Universal Participation Cohort

Charles Baldwin, Program Officer

two people wearing masks sit at a table in a gallery space decorated with a mural of faces with masks
New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! Curator Jamie Uretsky (left) and Executive Director Ashley Occhino create portraits in one of two new pop-up studios inside the downtown museum.

Through the Universal Participation (UP) Initiative, Mass Cultural Council aims to break down barriers and bring full civic participation in Massachusetts’ cultural sector. Both a movement and a designation, our UP Initiative creates opportunities for leadership, peer networking, and education in universal design principles, audience engagement strategies, and ADA compliance.

Kudos to the 10 organizations accepted into the UP Innovation and Learning Network (ILN) and the eight new UP Designated Organizations in 2021. These organizations are committed to embracing access as a system that anticipates and responds to our human diversity.

The UP Designation is a badge of distinction. Organizations with UP Designation work to ensure equitable participation is always front of mind.

2021 UP Designated Organizations

Arisia, Somerville
BalletRox, Boston
Community Music Center of Boston, Boston
Families Creating Together, Boston
Gnome Inc., Fall River
The Nature Connection, Concord
New Repertory Theatre, Watertown
Talking Information Center, Marshfield

The ILN includes a series of webinars, meetings, evaluations, and audits to steward the implementation of an access plan for participating cultural organization. Program activities, designed in partnership with the National Center for Accessible Media, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, and Open Door Arts, began in February and go through May 2021.

2021 UP Innovation and Learning Network

Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Monkey House, Malden
New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford
Theatre Espresso, Boston
The Trustees of Reservations, Boston
Umbrella Arts Center, Concord
Urban Media Arts, Malden
WAM Theatre, Lenox

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