News Briefs: Deaf-Friendly Access and Cultural Arts Grants

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A deaf friendly tablet at a location in Newport Beach.  — Photo courtesy city of Newport Beach ©
A deaf friendly tablet at a location in Newport Beach.
— Photo courtesy city of Newport Beach ©

City Provides Deaf-Friendly Access

To help individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speak a different language connect with city services, Newport Beach recently installed tablet devices available to visitors at several city facilities during regular business hours.

“We are excited to use this technology to better communicate with our residents and visitors,” Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon said in a prepared statement. “With a simple touch of a button we are making city services more accessible for those who communicate in American Sign Language or speak different languages.”

Muldoon set a goal of providing access to government for every citizen, including the deaf community. City staff discovered the Language People, Inc., which offered an on-demand interpretation service through an easy-to-use mobile application.

The city has installed tablets at the Newport Coast Community Center, OASIS Senior Center, Marina Park, the central library and mariners branch library, and at city hall in the city clerk’s office and the permit center.

According to the Language People, Newport Beach is the first, municipal government agency to provide American Sign Language services for its deaf community members.


Cultural Arts Grants Awarded

The Newport Beach City Arts Commission has voted to award a total of $40,000 to nine of the 16 organizations that applied for 2016-2017 arts grants.

City Council policy I-10 recognizes the importance of promoting culture and the arts within the city and establishes a reserve fund for culture and arts.

The $40,000 is provided annually for specific cultural or artistic planning or projects as approved by the City Council. The Arts Commission has the responsibility to review all programs and requests for support from arts groups and make recommendations for funding to Council for final approval.

The grants help the organizations to provide free cultural arts programming for the Newport Beach community.

Grant recipients this year:

  • Backhausdance: $4,000
  • Balboa Island Improvement Association: $1,000
  • Balboa Island Museum: $1,500
  • Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar: $2,500
  • Festival Ballet Theatre: $5,500
  • Newport Beach Film Festival: $8,000
  • Orange County Museum of Art: $10,000
  • Pacific Symphony: $4,500
  • South Coast Repertory: $3,000
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