Nodes of Access: Perspectives on Inclusive Cultural Practices

Nodes of Access: Perspectives on Inclusive Cultural Practices
Thursday, July 26, 2018
3 to 6pm

Location: Wave Hill, 675 W 252nd St, Bronx

Carly Mandel. Images courtesy of the artist.

Carly Mandel. Images courtesy of the artist.

In honor of Disability Awareness Month, the Rubin Foundation presented, in collaboration with 2018 grantee Wave Hill, Nodes of Access: Perspectives on Inclusive Cultural Practices, a wide ranging panel discussion on accessibility featuring: Elizabeth Guffey, author and art historian whose most recent book Designing Disability: Symbols, Space, and Society was published in 2017 by BloomsburyAnnie Leist, artist and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs External Affairs and Disability Inclusion Associate; Alberto del Moral, AXS Map Latin America Ambassador; and Carly Mandel, an artist whose practice explores the vulnerability and trauma of bodies in pain and is a 2017 recipient of the Kennedy Center’s grant for artists with disabilities.

Beginning with a panel discussion on how to develop and implement cultural programming that is inclusive, presenters discussed approaches to expanding access for organizations and artists working on a variety of scales and with a range of resources. The discussion was followed by a writing workshop led by Annie Leist on how to craft promotional and educational materials that address accessibility for organizations looking to incorporate inclusivity and address the needs of audiences with disabilities in their curatorial, educational, and programmatic work.


Elizabeth Guffey is the author of numerous books on art and design history. Her most recent, Designing Disability: Symbols, Spaces and Society (Bloomsbury, 2017), argues that designs like the International Symbol of Access or “wheelchair symbol” can alter the environment, making people more disabled or less, depending on the design’s planning and use.  She is also Founding Editor of the academic journal Design and Culture. Guffey currently heads the MA in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism and Theory at the State University of New York, Purchase College.

Annie Leist is an artist, born and raised in North Carolina, and currently based in New York City. Her paintings, inspired by her limited visual perception of light and life in urban spaces, can be seen in numerous public and private collections. In parallel with her artistic career, Ms. Leist is an advocate in the accessibility field, specializing in enriching the cultural experiences of people with disabilities. She has consulted with and facilitated staff development workshops at several arts organizations and cultural institutions in NYC and across the United States. She currently works in external affairs and disability inclusion at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Carly Mandel is an artist working in Brooklyn, NY.  Mandel grew up in St Louis, Missouri, and received her degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2015.  Mandel has shown sculptures and videos nationally and internationally.  Mandel received an artist’s grant from the Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program in Washington, DC in 2017.  Additionally, Mandel was interviewed by BOMB Magazine with Kerry Doran in 2018.

Alberto del Moral is AXS Lab’s multilingual interpreter, who brings a deep passion for foreign languages and cultures. He’s also a powerful advocate for human rights and people with disabilities. Physically disabled by multiple sclerosis, he’s a courageous fighter who’s fully committed to helping create a more inclusive world for everyone. Born in Mexico City, he migrated to the United States at age 19, where he was a big influence in the fashion industry, advertising and hospitality. He’s also a well sought after authority on art, films, documentaries, and travel. Today, he calls New York City home, after living many years in Los Angeles and San Francisco.