Accessibility

HISTORY OF ABRONS ARTS CENTER
ARCHITECTURE AND VALUE STATEMENT

Originally named the “Arts For Living Center,” Abrons Arts Center is widely regarded as a case study for the role architecture can have in facilitating access to the arts for a diverse community. Breaking ground as an extension to the Henry Street Settlement’s Playhouse during New York City’s historic 1970’s financial crisis, the Center was designed by architect Lo-Yi Chan of the firm Prentice & Chan, Ohlhausen in collaboration with an intergenerational cohort of local residents. Together, they developed a design for a new kind of urban arts center for the 20th century⁠—one that would be of service to a wide array of needs and interests of local and visiting communities.

Today, discourse around accessibility has necessarily advanced, and as a community-based cultural organization, Abrons is committed to evolving alongside our neighbors. While radically inclusive in its design when the building first opened, we acknowledge that there are ways that our building is challenging to navigate for individuals with a range of mobility and access needs. We are committed to expanding upon our institution’s legacy of inclusivity by providing clear and welcoming points of entry for disabled communities to utilize our spaces. We also acknowledge that access extends beyond architecture, and we are committed to curating programming that is inclusive of the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, and neurodiverse communities. 

This accessibility information sheet serves as a guide for existing resources and will be continually reviewed and updated as we strive to create a more inclusive space. Abrons’ commitment to accessibility is a work in progress and we welcome input from our community members so we learn and evolve our capabilities and understanding of needs. 

Please email Abrons@HenryStreet.Org with your feedback and suggestions.


VENUE DETAILS

ENTRY POINTS

Front Desk
Abrons Arts Center has an accessible front desk entrance point at the center of the block at 466 Grand Street where our patron services staff is available to provide visitors support while at Abrons. All visitors should check in at the front desk and pass through our COVID-19 screening protocols and will be given directions to the space they are visiting. Patron service staff members predominantly speak English; if you need assistance in another language our patron services staff will ask you to select your preferred language and utilize Language Line’s on-demand translating service to assist you. There is also a dedicated i-pad at the front desk where visitors can use Google Translate for text and audio assistance.

Playhouse Theater Entry Point
Visitors attending performances in the Playhouse Theater should enter via the green door with the “Henry Street Settlement Playhouse” sign hanging above the sidewalk, located near the intersection of Grand and Pitt Streets for will call and ticket purchases. Ushers will escort patrons via a ramp to accessible seats at the front of the theater.

Other Entry Points
Visitors attending performances in the Experimental Theater, Underground Theater, or Amphitheater should enter via the 466 Grand Street entrance at the center of the block for will call and ticket purchases. To access the elevator, request access with the patron services staff member. They will then assist in navigating around the exterior of the building to the Garden entrance located on Willet Street via a 200 foot pathway with a small slope to the Garden entrance. 

The following spaces at Abrons Arts Center are only accessible via stairs: 

Playhouse Upper Lobby and Balcony, Playhouse Control Booth, Studio 1, Studio 2, Studio 3, Studio 4, Lower East Dressing Room, Lower West Dressing Room, Upper East Dressing Room, Upper West Dressing Room, Wardrobe Room, Playhouse Theater Pit, Playhouse Theater Trap Room, Underground Lower Level Seating, Underground Booth, and Upper Gallery.

 

THEATER SPACES

ASL interpretation is available for select performances and exhibitions and will be noted on event pages and ticket pages.

Assistive listening devices and hearing aid loops are available for all performances in the Playhouse Theater, Underground and Experimental theaters. They are not available for some events taking place in the Amphitheater. Visitors  can request these devices at the box office and will need to exchange an ID such as a driver’s license or passport to receive the device. At the end of the program, visitors should return to the box office to return the device and collect their ID.

Content advisories are published and announced for events as needed. Signage and notifications are published on our website, at points of entry, and emails are sent following ticket purchase. 

Playhouse Theater
The Playhouse Theater’s standard seating has a number of wheelchair or mobility device seats located at the front of the theater offering fully unobstructed views of the stage. When alternative seating is used onstage, the stage is still fully accessible via a ramp. Details on non-standard seating arrangements will be listed on the ticketing page.

Underground Theater
Wheelchair or mobility device seating is only available on the upper level of the Underground Theater. Views are fully unobstructed when standard seating is in use. For shows using alternative seating, more information will be listed on the ticketing page. The lower level of the Underground Theater, both seating and performance space, is only accessible via stairs.

Experimental Theater
The Experimental Theater is a flexible seating space. Wheelchair and mobility device seating locations change from performance to performance. Details for each performance will be listed on the ticketing page. The Experimental Theater is accessed via an elevator. 

Amphitheater
The Amphitheater consists of sixteen steps including four distinct landings. Patrons who cannot navigate stairs can only be seated on the upper landing. The Amphitheater can be accessed via an elevator. 

Dressing Rooms
Abrons Arts Center has one accessible dressing room in the rear of the Playhouse. This dressing room can be used by performers from any theater. Performances in other spaces may request an alternate room to be converted into a dressing room area, which will be provided if available.

 

GALLERY SPACES

Closed captioning is provided for all digital artworks featuring spoken word and ambient sounds. Captioning is done predominantly in English and in other languages when possible. Curatorial statements and checklists are available in English for each exhibition. Some exhibitions will have additional translated materials. 

Content advisories are published and announced for works as needed. Signage and notifications are published on our website, at ticket purchase, and at points of entry. 

The Culpepper Gallery is on the first floor of the building and can be reached via the front doors of the building and has a level pathway.

The Main Gallery is on the second floor of the building and is accessible via the Garden gate and an elevator. To access the elevator, visitors should request access with patron services at the front desk and they will assist in navigating around the exterior of the building to the Garden entrance. The Garden entrance is located on Willet Street via a 200-foot pathway with a small slope to the Garden entrance. 

The Upper Gallery is only accessible via three steps and artwork in that space may not be accessible to visitors with mobility issues or those who use a wheelchair.

The Garden is located on Willet Street (between Grand and Broome Streets) and there is street-level gate entry. Visitors will need assistance from patrons’ services at the front desk for access.

 

EDUCATION SPACES

Our education spaces are located on the second and third floors and are accessible via an elevator as well as stairs. Entry is via the front doors of the building and through our Garden entrance located on Willet Street which has a level pathway.

Dance Studios: Studios 1-4 are only accessible via seven steps from the third floor and this space may not be accessible to visitors with mobility issues or for those who use a wheelchair.

 

STUDIO SPACES

Studio Rentals: G05, 206, 209, 302, 314
For renters using Studio G05 (ground floor), Music Studios 206 and 209 (second floor), and Studio 302 (third floor), there is an accessible entrance located through our Garden entrance on Willett Street (between Grand and Broome Streets). To access the elevator, request access with patron services at the front desk, and they will assist in navigating around the exterior of the building to the Garden entrance located on Willet Street via a 200 foot pathway with a small slope to the Garden entrance. 

Dance Studios 1, 2, 3, 4
Dance Studios 1, 2, 3 and 4 are only accessible by seven steps on the third floor, and therefore may not be accessible to renters who use a wheelchair or have mobility issues.

 

RESTROOMS

There are ADA-compliant, all-gender bathrooms located throughout Abrons. 

Ground Floor
There are multi-person ADA-compliant, wheelchair accessible, all-gender bathrooms on the ground floor accessible via and next to the elevator. 

Playhouse Theater
A single-occupancy ADA-compliant, wheelchair accessible, all-gender restroom is available directly off the lobby, adjacent to the Playhouse Theater entrance.

Underground Theater and Garden
Multi-person ADA-compliant, wheelchair accessible, all-gender restrooms are on the ground floor. 

Experimental Theater and Amphitheater
ADA-compliant, wheelchair accessible, all-gender restrooms are accessible via elevator one floor below ADA seating level.

Second Floor
All-gender restrooms and same-level restrooms are available. They are multi-stall, with no wheelchair accessibility. For wheelchair-accessible restrooms, take the elevator to the ground floor.

Third Floor
All-gender restrooms and same-level restrooms are available. They are multi-stall, with no wheelchair accessibility. For wheelchair-accessible restrooms, take the elevator to the ground floor.

Studios 1- 4
There are no same-level restrooms available for Studios 1- 4.

 

SIGNAGE

There are wayfinding signs throughout Abrons Arts Center and at the front desk patron services can assist in navigating the space. Signage is predominantly in English with some translations in Spanish, Mandarin, and braille. All restrooms have braille signage outside the door.

 

SENSITIVITIES TO BE AWARE OF

Abrons Arts Center is a multi-use space and is not a scent-free environment. Abrons has fluorescent and LED lighting. Certain studios and offices can be adjusted to meet individual needs upon request. Strobe lights, fog/haze, and other special effects may be used in certain events or performances. Warnings for effects specific to an event or performance will be written in programs, posted outside the performance space, and stated audibly before an event begins.

 

DIGITAL AND IN-PERSON ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES

Some of our online events feature live ASL interpreters and/or live captioning, which will be indicated on individual event and ticketing pages. If you have any questions or access needs, please contact JFaircloth@HenryStreet.Org. If you are hoping to attend an event and would like us to engage the services of an ASL interpreter or audio describer, please let us know with as much notice as possible and we will do our best to provide these services.

Abrons Arts Center will be creating a new website in 2022 that will have greater digital accessibility capabilities for a variety of our community members. All videos online are captioned. All digital newsletters and social media content is designed with digital accessibility at the fore. 

If you require greater access to any of our online content, please contact Abrons@HenryStreet.Org and we will be happy to assist you the best we can.

 

IN THE CASE OF AN EMERGENCY

Wheelchair Users and Mobility Disabilities: In the event of an emergency, if the visitor(s) cannot exit the building via stairs, staff members will escort them to a fire stairwell or the nearest street exit, whichever is closer, and wait with them until the fire department, paramedics, or other authorities arrive and can help escort them out of the building.

Hard of Hearing and Deaf People: In case of a fire, fire alarms will flash bright white lights until the emergency is over. For all other emergencies, follow the visual directions of venue staff or signage to the nearest exit.

Blind and Low Vision People: In case of a fire, fire alarms will sound loudly until the emergency is over. For all other emergencies, follow the spoken directions of venue staff and request guidance to the nearest exit.

At all times staff will do their best to clearly communicate what is known and what patrons should do next to be safe.