Big Changes at Art Access

Friday, 03 April 2020 21:29
Published in Blog

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Art Access

Big Changes at Art Access

Dear Friends of Art Access,

Covid-19 is fundamentally changing the world and how we all operate. Organizations, businesses, and individuals everywhere are finding themselves in difficult situations and having to navigate unprecedented challenges and decisions. Art Access is no exception.

Due to Covid-19 we anticipate losses that will make returning to normal impossible. Given the uncertain and challenging economic times that we will face even after the period of social distancing ends, we need to make drastic changes to adapt. In order to keep Art Access going during this pandemic and recession, we will not re-open our gallery and office space and will halt most of our programming.

Beginning in August, Art Access will be a one employee organization, with Shandra Benito staying on as the Executive Director part-time. We will continue our Breaking Barriers education and advocacy work; ensuring Utah’s cultural sector is more accessible for people with disabilities. We will also continue our Partners Artist Mentorship Program. These are unduplicated programs that we are uniquely positioned to facilitate and therefore are most important to preserve.

By making these difficult and painful cuts and decisions now, we will be able to weather the challenges ahead and then work to grow our work and programs again in a sustainable way. 

From now through the end of July 2020, we will be concentrating our time and resources to making this transition in the best possible way while continuing to honor both our mission and work. We will be moving out of our gallery and office mid-April and will go down to one staff member beginning at the end of July. Now until July  we will be working diligently to complete our programming for this year. We will work with community partners to potentially adopt and adapt some of our programming. In addition, we will work with these partners and others to attempt to find alternate exhibit opportunities for our canceled shows. 

We are moving forward with 300 Plates  - as an online auction in May. More details to come. We are working hard to find a way to make it almost as exciting as waiting to have your wristband drawn! We have also decided to offer the artists a larger commission on plate sales, 50% instead of 30%, as we know many artists are experiencing losses of jobs and income at this time. We already have a large number of amazing plates and we are working with artists to provide safe ways to submit the rest. We hope that you will join us and find the perfect plate(s) to add to your collection!

We want to acknowledge the heartache that comes with these changes to Art Access and the collective anxiety and grief that comes with this public health crisis generally. Despite the challenges of this moment, we are resilient and our artists, disability community, and cultural sector will be instrumental in leading us through this pandemic and coming up with creative solutions to meet the needs of everyone while also finding reprieve, hope, and joy. 

Sending you love,

Shandra Benito

Art Access Executive Director

We will be in touch more soon, and please do not hesitate to reach out to us:

General questions about the changes being made at Art Access, media inquiries, and 300 Plates: Contact Shandra Benito -  or 206-412-2973

Questions about Art Access Programs: Contact Kerry Carlson - 

Questions about the Art Access Gallery: Contact Joy Davidson - 

Image description: Photo of wall of 10 inch by 11 inch artwork from 2019 300 Plates event.

Help Art Access provide inclusive arts programming for Utahns with disabilities and those with limited access to the arts.

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Our 300 Plates Fundraiser and Exhibition takes place the third Thursday in May each year.