Recipients of the 2022 Cultural Access Award announced

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts announced the recipients of the 2022 Cultural Access Awards with a day of learning and celebration on June 30, 2022.

“The Council was proud to partner with the New Jersey Theater Alliance to support this important work,” said Mary Eileen Fouratt, access coordinator at the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “Since the launch of the Cultural Access Network Project, New Jersey cultural organizations and artists have made tremendous strides in creating inclusive events and opportunities for people with disabilities. We are honored to celebrate a 30th Anniversary milestone for the Network. and this year’s Award recipients. Their work to create a more inclusive arts community for all has been so vital, especially in the past two years, and we applaud their creativity and innovation. “

The recipients are part of the Cultural Access Network (CAN) project, formed 30 years ago. CAN provides a wide range of services and programs to assist theaters and cultural organizations in making their programs and facilities accessible to seniors and people with disabilities. The program is led by a steering committee of volunteers representing art patrons, state and county officials, art administrators, and managers of organizations that serve people with disabilities.

“This year’s award winners exemplify what it means to be accessible to all. Their programs are models for all and put cultural accessibility at the forefront of their organization,” said John McEwen, executive director of the New Jersey Theater Alliance. “We are proud to reward them for all their hard work.”

Recipients are rewarded based on their work in accessibility and offering equality and opportunity to all individuals with disabilities. Award recipients include:


New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired

“It is a great honor for the Commission to be recognized for our efforts to promote accessibility and inclusion for blind, deaf and partially sighted people,” said Dr Bernice Davis, Executive Director of the Commission for the Blind and the Visually Impaired, a division of the NJ State Department of Human Services. “We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to establish and maintain a profitable partnership with the Cultural Access Network for many years and look forward to continuing to serve as a resource in support of the all-important work they do.”


DeafBlind Community Access Network of New Jersey, Inc.

“We are honored and honored to be recognized by the Cultural Access Network for our work in creating accessible films. Feeling Through was particularly unique to our community because for the first time ever a deafblind actor was cast in a role by protagonist, and some of the people in our community knew him. Also, the film is set on the streets of New York City, which many of them know, and therefore was extremely familiar. Our community wanted to see this film and with their guide, insights and feedback, we adapted the film to a version accessible to deafblind people on a virtual platform, ”says Katherine Gabry, President / Board of Trustees of the DeafBlind Community Access Network of New Jersey, Inc.


Kaleigh Brendle

“I am so honored that you have chosen me as the recipient of this prestigious award. Supporting blind and visually impaired students is an immense privilege and I am exceedingly grateful that I was able to undertake the task of defending our rights. The blind people. and the visually impaired around me continue to inspire me with their resilience, compassion and courage in the face of adversity. Being part of this community and being able to ensure that everyone gets the housing they deserve is a blessing, “says Kaleigh Brendle.

Winners will receive statewide recognition plus a $ 1,000 Leadership Award recipient grant and a $ 500 Innovator Award recipient grant to assist their organization or an organization of their choice in advancing cultural access.

This year’s awards will also provide an opportunity to meet industry leaders to discuss marketing best practices and engage audiences with disabilities.


About the New Jersey Theater Alliance

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theater Alliance was the first statewide service organization for nonprofit professional theater companies in the United States and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen and cultivate professional theater. in New York Jersey. Funding from the New Jersey Theater Alliance, a nonprofit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, and grants of individuals, corporations and foundations including Amazon, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Grunin Foundation, The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, City National Bank, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Investors Bank, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, Kessler Foundation, The FM Kirby Foundation, EJ Grassmann Trust and The Union Foundation.

About the New Jersey State Council of the Arts

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the New Jersey State Department. The Council was established to encourage and promote public interest in the arts; expand public and private resources dedicated to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct funding from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated and renewable hotel / motel occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about the Council, visit