Attempt to mitigate Somerville Health Department Inaccessible program. january, 2010.


Published on

When the Community Access Project of Somerville attempted to mitigate the City of Somerville's discriminatory planning for an inaccessible "Art on Emotion"exhibit and affiliated programs, we received a lovely response from the Somerville staffer directing the Suicide Prevention and Youth Program. However, she gave us incorrect information, possibly as a result of the Somerville Museum Director's falsehood. She said that the Museum was "seeking matching funds," as though this was to help with the accessibility barriers.
This letter and responses shows the good faith effort made by CAPS to help the Somerville Health Department's Art on Emotion program become integrated, accessible and equally provided to ALL residents.

Ignoring this good-faith effort, the City of Somerville decided to hold this program in a wholly discriminatory manner, from September 26 through December 17, 2010, at the inaccessible Somerville Museum.

SEE also:

Published in: News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Attempt to mitigate Somerville Health Department Inaccessible program. january, 2010.

  1. 1. 1. From: Community Access ProjectSent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 10:54 AMTo: Patricia ContenteCc: Sonja Darai; Gregory JenkinsSubject: "Making Connections" program planned at inaccessible venuesJanuary 30, 2010Patty Contente, LICSWCity of Somerville Health Department50 Evergreen Ave.Somerville, MA 02145RE: MAKING CONNECTIONS - ART ON EMOTION EXHIBITDear Patty Contente,The Community Access & Inclusion Project wants this new program to be successful, so we are writing quickly in hopes that this program immediately goes back to the drawing board to beredesigned so that it is inclusive.Compared to youth without disabilities, youth with disabilities are more likely to be bullied, harassed, feel depressed, attempt suicide, never or rarely wear seatbelts,drive after drinking alcohol, fight, and carry weapons at schools. These stats are being found nationwide, and for youth in both junior and high school.As it is currently planned, this "Making Connections" campaign will be completely unavailable to Somervilles youth with mobility disAbilities as well asmentor-artists with mobility disAbilities.   For example:  • Any portions of the program that are done on-site at the Somerville Museum, such as the community curatorial projects/exhibits program will be inaccessible. Both entrances, front andside, of the Museum have still not been made accessible, despite the major rehabilitation work done to that facility in the 80s. • The Boys and Girls Club at 181 Washington Street now has a doorbell at the only ramped entrance, but it is locked from the outside and unclear who hears this bell. In addition, there is nosafe and accessible route pathway to that ramped entrance since there is only a vehicular driveway, with excessive slopes, leading from the sidewalk to that back door. Solutions must becoordinated to ensure equal and integrated access for all youth at this facility. (for example, drop-off and pick-up transportation coordinated; staff coordination to ensure that the ramped entranceis open; wayfinding signage clearly indicating where all programs are located inside the building.) • Youth Artists with mobility disabilities may earn a place in the Community Exhibit, but they and their families will not be able to enjoy their works being curated and displayed, if theexhibit is at the Somerville Museum. • The skills, mentorship and relationships with adult Artists with physical disAbilities are completely unavailable in the current iteration of this program.For Somervilles Health Department and Arts Council to omit the potentials, enrichment and health needs of students, their families and adult artists and other mentors with disAbilities would beinexcusable! Please find alternate venues for any portions of this program that are currently planned at inaccessible locations. The venues should have accessible routes from sidewalks toentrances, all interior doors, halls and and rooms including bathrooms that are accessible, and all public amenities, such as counters, water fountains and phones, as are offered to the generalpublic.Please examine all aspects of these programs to ensure accessible communications and information formats are also resourced and provided from the start.I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance.I look forward to your response this week.Thank you.Eileen FeldmanCommunity Access & Inclusion ProjectSomerville, MAcc: Sonja Darai, Executive Director, Somerville Human Rights CommissionsGregory Jenkins, Somerville Arts CouncilRE: posted 1/29/2010MAKING CONNECTIONS - ART ON EMOTION EXHIBITThe Somerville Committee on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health is working with the SomervilleMuseum to create a youth exhibit "Art on Emotion" for September 2010. The Exhibit is part of thecommittees "Making Connections" campaign to promote positive mental health and reduce stigma. Artistsare needed to run community workshops to create the art with Somerville youth groups.WHAT"Making Connections" is a mental wellness campaign launched on September 9, 2009. The goal of thecampaign is to encourage youth to identify feelings and make healthy choices in coping with feelings.Often is can be difficult to put feelings into words, art can be a form of self-expression and also transcendsthe boundaries of language. Our goal is to make this program available to as many youth as possible and todo that we need your help! We need artists! You will be working with various youth groups in Somervilleto create art on emotion. We are hoping to include a variety of mediums including photography, sculpture,poetry painting, sketching, and collage. Bostons Childrens Hospital has donated the use of a curriculum todevelop the art or you are welcome to present your own idea. The basic requirement is that the projectfocuses youth on creating art that expresses an emotion and that each submission also includes a brief (nomore than 1-2 paragraphs) narrative describing the feeling expressed.All workshops will be run with the support of a staff person from the Committee on Suicide Prevention andMental Health and art supplies will be covered through funding from Tufts Tisch Scholars Program.For volunteering your time and promoting healthy expression of emotion, Michael OConnell, curator ofthe Somerville Museum, is offering to work with artists who are interested in gaining valuable experiencein community curatorial projects/exhibits. Artists are also invited to submit their own works to beconsidered for the Community Exhibit at the Somerville Museum in September 2010.WHOAll types of artists-art students, community artists, etc-are encouraged to volunteer for this rewardingexperience. All you need to have is creativity and enthusiasm.WHENMost of the programming will take place after school between 2:30pm-6:30pm, Monday through Friday.We will also offer a couple of Saturday programs if that works better for you. The commitment will be towork with at least one group over a 2-3 week period to create the art, for example you may agree to workwith the Boys & Girls Club for three Tuesday afternoons from 3pm-4:30pm. If you have time and wouldlike to work with more than one group or would like to become involved in other ways please let us know.WHERE
  2. 2. Somerville, MAARTISTS ARE NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!PLEASE CONTACT PATTY CONTENTE ASAP:Patty Contente, LICSWCity of SomervilleHealth Department50 Evergreen Ave.Somerville, MA 02145617-625-6600 ext. 4325857-221-0942 TRN Cellpcontente@somervillema.govRESPONSE:On Feb 1, 2010, at 11:57 AM, Patricia Contente wrote:Eileen – thanks for bringing this to our attention. I would welcome your assistance on this project. The Committee on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health will be meeting next Tues. February 9 th from 8:30 –9:30 at 50 Evergreen Ave. Somerville, MA. I would like to invite you to attend – if not this month a meeting in the future. The Committee meets the 2 nd Tues of the month from 8:30 – 9:30am.I will put this on our agenda and look to how we might resolve some of these issues. The way the project is organized is to bring the art workshops to different groups in the community serving youth afterschool– which is why we targeted the boys & girls club. However the workshops are open to anyone serving youth please let me know if there are groups that might be interested in hosting a workshop, I would behappy to set that up. I look forward on collaborating to work toward accessibility and inclusion for this project as well as future projects.Thanks so much for your input. Please let me know if you will be able to attend the upcoming committee meeting on Feb. 9th 8:30 am at 50 Evergreen Ave. Look forward to hearing from you.PattyPatty Contente, LICSWClinical Youth SpecialistCity of SomervilleHealth Department50 Evergreen Ave.Somerville, MA 02145617-625-6600 ext. 4325857-221-0942 TRN  2. From: eif []Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 7:02 PMTo: Patricia ContenteSubject: Re: "Making Connections" program planningPatty,Thanks so much for your lovely response.Unfortunately, I wont be available for the Tuesday meetings until perhaps May or June... but will let colleagues <snip> know about contacting you if they are able to host a workshop inSomerville.In the meanwhile, let me know how I can be helpful via email!One venue that may work is the Central Library (i believe the accessible first floor meeting room has tables available), another idea might be to have intergenerational arts groups (and art shows)at the housing authority sites and at the VNA Community Rooms.ill keep my eyes and ears open for ideas, and <snip>.All the best to you Patty,EileenRESPONSE:On Feb 4, 2010, at 11:43 AM, Patricia Contente wrote:Hi Eileen – thanks for your suggestions! – I really like the idea of the housing authorities and will also look into the Library as an additional venue.We are committed to an exhibit with the Somerville Museum as they did receive grant $ to assist us with this project. When I shared the concernsabout accessibility they mentioned that they did receive a Cultural Facilities Grant from the MCC however it requires a match of funds which they havenot been able to secure and they are at risk of losing those funds if a match is not found. I will get more details about projected amounts but if youhave any leads on where the Museum might pursue matching funds that would be greatly appreciated.Also I would love to have you involved in the art workshops and I look forward to meeting you. Keep in touch.Thanks Patty3. From: Community Access projectDate: February 4, 2010 1:06:46 PM ESTTo: Patricia Contente <>Subject: Re: "Making Connections" program planning/ email contactThanks Patty, Please give the Museum Director our groups email contact, well think about how to help.It is:<snip>  EileenUPDATE DECEMBER 2010:The Museum Director informed BCIL and CAPS, on December 16, 2010, that these MCC funds are to be used for a new slate roof- NOT for accessibilityimprovements. Also see:Somerville Museum Seeks Donations; Renovation Project At RiskThe replacement of a leaky roof and other preservation improvements are at stake.By Katie Lannigan | December 12, 2010