Shorter name, bigger impact

Group Photo. Sixteen attendees gather together and smile for the camera COVID style (with masks) at a Cultural Access Collab event.
3 rows of triangles 3 rows high that are black and different colors. To the right is text: Cultural Access Collaborative.

Dear friends and supporters,

For ten years we have been proud to support the incredible expansion of accessible arts and culture in Chicago. To continue to build on our impact and our collective successes, it’s time for a brand new name and a larger vision. We’re excited to unveil our new name: Cultural Access Collaborative.

Since we began in 2013, we have been evolving. First, we started as a volunteer-run group called Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC), becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization 5 years later. In 2020, we launched Illinois Cultural Access Network (ICAN) with funding from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. ICAN was connected to and run by some CCAC representatives, but it was considered a separate offshoot.

The pandemic has blurred geographical boundaries as much of our programming has moved online. Starting on January 3, to streamline and strengthen our mission, CCAC and ICAN are joining together into one entity: Cultural Access Collaborative. This change reflects our commitment to all of Illinois, including Chicago. When our Steering Committee renews in the fall of 2023, we will be recruiting state-wide to ensure representation across Illinois, and growing to collaborate with cultural organizations around the state of Illinois! 

In other words, this shift means a shorter name, and a bigger impact.

Our commitments remain the same. We will continue to empower cultural spaces to be more accessible to visitors with disabilities by facilitating:

  1. free professional development workshops for cultural administrators, 
  2. an accessible equipment loan program for Chicago-area theaters and cultural spaces,
  3. a calendar of accessible events,
  4. community-building across the local region and beyond.

What does this name and mission change mean for you? As our work grows to include all of Illinois, we are expanding to:

  1. engage statewide efforts by adding representation to the steering committee, and hosting professional development programs across the state.
  2. a new domain: Beginning January 3, traffic to our current website will be redirected. You’ll know you’ve landed at the new website when you see our subtly changed logo and our revised name.
  1. a new extension for our email addresses: Emails addressed to folks with our former name will still be received. 
  2. say our full name, Cultural Access Collaborative or Collab, rather than an acronym. 
  3. an adjusted social media presence of: CulturalAccess. Our accounts with CCAC will be renamed, and ICAN accounts will be deactivated after this announcement.

Thank you for your support of our organization for the past ten years, and for celebrating with us as we usher in the next decade with our expanded focus. Together we will create a more accessible and inclusive future for cultural spaces across Chicago, Illinois, and beyond. 

Yours in Accessibility,

Cultural Access Collaborative Board & Steering Committee

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