As published in the Windsor Star July 23, 2022.
Re: Amherstburg gets a closer look at Group of Seven artwork, by Dave Battagello, July 2
Not everyone will get a closer look.
The exhibition was being hosted in a downtown bookstore owned by Richard Peddie.
Victoria Little, chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Art Windsor-Essex, stated recently, “AWE regrets hosting this exhibition in a space that is not accessible in Amherstburg.”
In her letter, Ms. Little explained: “AWE also undertakes partnerships when our overarching goals for a program align with those of community visionaries, such as Richard Peddie.”
But if the goal was to bring this exhibit to Amherstburg, AWE could have selected accessible locations like the downtown Gibson Gallery or the Libro Centre.
The livability of communities cannot be improved if persons with disabilities continue to experience discrimination because of attitudinal and physical barriers.
AWE needs to adopt an accessibility policy and align its goals with legislation that ensures every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities without discrimination.
Ms. Little asked for my “patience and understanding that the organization operates within the broader systems of obligations that may conflict with our overarching accessible vision.”
I have been more than patient as I have advocated for improved accessibility for over 30 years. There’s the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, the Human Rights Code, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, along with the goal of a fully accessible province in 2025.
Yet, a public art organization decided it was okay to exclude persons with disabilities with this recent exhibition. Linda Saxon, Amherstburg