Not all venues at ArtPrize are handicap accessible

Posted at 10:06 PM, Oct 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-05 00:58:12-04

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.