Making Art Accessible

From offering free admission to expanding barrier-free spaces through a recent lobby renovation, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is always looking for ways to make art accessible to as many people as possible. The Gallery introduced Sensory Friendly Saturdays in 2020, where, on the first Saturday morning of every month all galleries and public spaces in KWAG are programmed with reduced light and volume levels to provide a more welcoming environment for Autistic and neurodivergent individuals and any others who require or prefer environments with less visual and auditory stimuli.
While KWAG has a long-standing policy of accommodating the special needs of our visitors by adjusting light and sound levels accordingly, these new standard hours create dedicated time and space for our guests to experience a welcoming environment that is already suited to their needs.
As KWAG continued to work closely with the Autism Ontario and through research, we discovered the benefits of a Sensory Room specifically designed for children with Autism. A Sensory Room provides a quiet environment with additional elements that have a soothing effect with sensory-friendly activities.
The Kitchener Rotary Club’s contribution made this possible! Every time we have a Sensory Free Saturday, the Community Access Space will be transformed into a Sensory Room that has the following:
  1. Sensory tiles
  2. Tactile rug
  3. Sensory Mood Cubes
  4. Sensory lamp with integrated sound effects
  5. Lights strips
  6. Fidget toys
  7. Mats
  8. Wiggle seats /sensory chairs
  9. Sensory Liquid tiles 
  10. Backpacks with selected items recommended by Autism Ontario
Every time the space is set up, we will have a special made poster with acknowledgement of Rotary Club of Kitchener.

Submitted by Bryn Jones 
Rotary Club of Kitchener