Tuesday, September 28, 2010

National Endowment for the Arts announces new director of Office of Accessibility

From the NEA:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today that Beth Bienvenu (pictured) will join the NEA as the new director of Office of Accessibility.

Dr. Bienvenu will manage the NEA's technical assistance and advocacy work devoted to making the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults including veterans, and people living in institutions. This includes initiatives related to universal design, arts and aging, arts in healthcare, and careers in the arts for people with disabilities. She began her work Sept. 27.

Prior to coming to the NEA, Ms. Bienvenu worked for five years as a policy advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Disability Employment Policy. In that capacity, she analyzed federal laws and regulations, as well as public and private sector policies and practices related to all elements of employment for persons with disabilities. She created and delivered training sessions on recruiting, hiring, accommodating, and retaining individuals with disabilities and developed partnerships with other federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and business on behalf on those constituents.

In addition, since August 2005, Ms. Bienvenu was an adjunct professor at George Mason University teaching arts policy in the Master of Arts Management program.

"I am delighted to welcome Dr. Bienvenu to the NEA," said Chairman Rocco Landesman. "Her achievements and commitment on behalf of people with disabilities are significant and the relationships she has developed with other federal agencies and organizations will be particularly important as we forge ahead with this work."

Ms. Bienvenu said, "I look forward to working with the NEA staff and constituents in the field to ensure that everyone can participate in arts programs as audience members, participants, artists, or performers. I am honored to continue the Accessibility Office's excellent work in helping arts organizations become fully accessible, bringing the arts to underrepresented groups, and ensuring that these groups are served by NEA programs."

From 2000-2005, Ms. Bienvenu was a senior associate with TATC Consulting, a Washington DC-based firm providing management consulting services. One of her projects with TATC was to work with the Institute for Museum and Library Services, DOL, and the NEA on youth employment programs with arts organizations and libraries. Also, she has been a consultant with the Center for Nonprofit Management in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and program coordinator with the University of Oklahoma's Advanced Programs, Europe.

Ms. Bienvenu has a B.A. in Sociology and Music from Alma College in Alma, Michigan; M.A. in Sociology from Indiana University; M.A. in Arts Administration from Indiana University; and a Ph.D. in organizational leadership from the University of Oklahoma, Norman.

Ms. Bienvenu replaces Paula Terry who has served for many years at the NEA on behalf of populations often isolated from full participation in the arts. Ms. Terry has established leadership initiatives in Creativity and Aging, Universal Design, Careers in the Arts for Individuals with Disabilities, Arts in Healthcare, and Arts in Corrections. Under her leadership the Accessibility Office has helped form a nationwide network of accessibility coordinators in state and regional arts agencies and has produced a variety of reports and technical assistance materials for the field. In recognition of her accomplishments, the NEA has garnered national honors including the 1998 Universal Design Award, a 2002 award from the National Business & Disability Council. In 2006, the NEA was recognized for excellence in accessibility leadership by the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information on the NEA's accessibility programs and publications, please visit http://www.arts.gov/.