Not all venues at ArtPrize are handicap accessible

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Out of 174 venues at ArtPrize, 138 are handicapped accessible.

However, the 21 percent that’s not handicapped accessible could have some of the top finalists in their buildings, and people like Mike Magniant with mobile disabilities won’t be able to catch a look.

The wheels on Magniant’s chair are the only way he can get around one of his favorite events. “I think ArtPrize is a good thing, I thoroughly enjoy it,” Magniant said.

However, Magniant is frustrated and disappointed by venues that don't have ways around steps that make it impossible for him to view the pieces he wants to see.

Still, he's been to all the venues he can go to.

Even families with young kids in strollers like the Andersons had to skip a few venues. “A lot of places don't really accommodate for a stroller,” said Jeremy Anderson, father to two young children.

ArtPrize official Amela Pegman says it's not a requirement for venues to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. “It's not something we as an organization are regulating at this point in time," said Pegman. "just by the nature of the open platform and how we want to be welcoming to all the open spaces and different types of venues at ArtPrize.”

ArtPrize has filter online where you can see which venues are handicapped accessible and which are not, and ArtPrize even has a new partnership with Ascent Care to accommodate the disabled.

Ascent Care offers rides to and from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and places for people to park and charge electric wheelchairs.

But that doesn't change the fact that people like Magniant can't physically get into the venues.

“We wanted to make ArtPrize more accessible for people who struggle with handicap disabilities,” said Russell Whitaker from Ascent Care.

“They shouldn't offer it to venues that aren't handicap accessible," said Magniant. "It’s just not fair to the handicapped people or people with strollers and such. They can't get in there”

ArtPrize says they encourage their venues to be ADA compliant, but ultimately they leave that in the hands of the venue itself.

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6 comments

  • Jean Silbar

    I am sorry to hear that Mr. Magniant had difficulty accessing the Women’s City Club. Please advise him that the City Club’s Art Prize venue is indeed accessible. There is a lift available for both floors of the exhibit. The entrance to use is from the rear of the building. If he needs additional assistance please have him contact the Women’s City Club directly. Many of the families with whom our agency works have taken their family members who need mobility assistance enjoy that facility

    Even before the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, the City Club was accessible.

    It is a shame that Fox 17 did not check the facts with the Women’s City Club before publishing an erroneous article. You might wish to issue an apology to both Art Prize and the Women’s City Club.

  • thebroker

    If one were to check ALL of the exhibits many are not accessible to the handicapped and hence: Means Art Prize and the City should be held in violation and be fair game to be named in a law suit.

  • Diana Annibali

    As Manager of the Women’s City Club, I am very upset about this story. We are handicap accessible. I apologize to Mr. Magniant who had trouble accessing our venue. Ms. Arsenault should have verified the facts before producing this story as it gives us as a venue and as a business a bad rep. If she would have just stepped into the Women’s City Club, one of our many volunteers would have gladly helped show her and Mr. Magniant to our handicap accessible entrance. I hope that an apology and retraction of this video will be shown.

    • Diana Annibali

      Glad that the story has been changed online to not include the Women’s City Club, but doesn’t help all the people that saw the story live on tv last night and this morning.

  • Polish Princess

    They must have done some editing because I see no mention of the Women’s City Club now. Jean and Diana, you are right, though, that the reporter should have checked it out herself.

  • Heather

    I hope in the future all the venues strive to provide access to EVERYONE. Makes me feel like the voting is rigged in a way because if a handicapped person can’t see an art piece, they certainly won’t vote for it and that’s a shame for the artist.