SMAC Seeks Accessibility Consultant: Request for Proposals

SMAC logo. Two curved blades of grass to the left with three blue dots above them. The words "Southwest Minnesota" are written in black, "Arts" is written in blue and is bigger than the other words and all capital letters, "Council" is in black under.

Accessibility Consultant
Request for Proposals

(click here for the pdf of the RFP)

The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC), one of 11 regional arts councils in Minnesota, seeks to engage an accessibility consultant (short-term contract) to perform a comprehensive accessibility audit of the SMAC gallery with the goal of expanding access and inclusion across organization programs and operations. This will include audit of physical and digital accessibility of SMAC spaces and forms of engagement, develop a comprehensive ADA plan, as well as the preparation of a report with recommended priorities for ongoing and future practices. This audit is part of a larger effort of SMAC to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all areas.

Areas to be evaluated include:

• gallery, meeting rooms, lobbies, other public spaces, and employee areas;
• parking and pathways into the building;
• exhibitions, interpretation, marketing & communications, and programming;
• website and virtual programming;
• internal accessibility planning practices.

The scope of work will require in-person and/or virtual visits to the SMAC facility as well as a report on each aspect of the areas evaluated. The visits should take place before June 30, 2021. The consultant hired through this request for proposals will be compensated. SMAC encourages responses from BIPOC, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals or owned enterprises. If you/your agency’s ownership represents one or more of the above, please note it in your proposal.

RFP Sent: March 26, 2021
Responses Due: April 23, 2021
Budget: $3,000-5,000

Questions and Proposals to:

Nicole DeBoer, SMAC Executive Director or 800-622-5284 | 507-537-1471

Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC), PO Box 55, Marshall, MN 56258


About the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council:

The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC) is a non-profit organization committed to promoting and encouraging the development of the arts in the eighteen counties of southwestern Minnesota by serving as a source of funds and technical services which enable local organizations, educational institutions, and individuals to sponsor and/or create and promote the arts in their communities.


History and State of Accessibility:

Established in 1974, the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC) merged with SWAFAH, a similar regional arts organization which had been in operation in the area since 1968. SMAC is part of the statewide system of eleven regional arts councils (RACs) that receive a legislative allocation for the arts in an effort to increase access to and participation in the arts, increase arts awareness and ensure equitable distribution of legislative arts funding, the regional arts councils work on a statewide basis in partnership with the Minnesota State Arts Board. Each regional arts council is designated to assess arts needs, develop programs and services to meet those needs, and distribute grants to fund arts programs in their region.

SMAC is governed by a volunteer board of directors who are elected by the individual and organizational members of the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council. The board members, one from each of the 18 counties, meet monthly to work on policy, planning activities, discussing new ideas, and evaluating past projects. Daily activities are managed by a staff of three full-time employees.

SMAC recognizes we can build increased connectivity and economic strength through supporting cultural and artistic expression of all social identities including race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, socioeconomic background and the intersectionality of these identities.

As stewards of public funds, SMAC embraces the unique opportunity to ensure that all residents of our designated eighteen-county region have access to quality arts experiences.

Participants and Visitors:

SMAC provides funds and services to promote and support the arts in the 18 counites of southwest Minnesota. SMAC received funds from the Minnesota State Arts Board general fund and Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature, the McKnight Foundation and others to redistribute to individual artists, local arts organizations, non-profit organizations, units of government and schools for arts production and sponsorship activities. In 2019, a total of 109,591
people served (includes 21,792 youth and 2,929 artists) through 114 grants awarded to nonprofit organizations, units of government (cities, schools) and artists.

An art gallery in the SMAC office space provides an opportunity for regional artists who have received an artist grant through the council to have a solo exhibit in an accessible space. Six regional visual artists have their work exhibited in the gallery each year. Exhibits are advertised via press releases, email, direct mail, social media and the SMAC website. Other on-loan artwork by regional artists is on display in the meeting room, offices, and hallway. When possible, regional musicians are invited to perform during the exhibit receptions.

Services provide by SMAC to SW Minnesota are information and referral services to promote the growth and development of artists, staff and volunteer assistance of the organizational and leadership development of local arts groups, and presentation of technical assistance and networking conferences for artists, cultural organizations and schools. Information provided via phone, email, mail, website, social media, and in-person contact. SMAC staff travels throughout the region to meet with constituents on request. SMAC staff also works with statewide arts organizations to coordinate workshops and meetings within the SMAC region that will benefit SMAC region residents. The e-newsletter Voices contains feature articles, calendar events, and announcements to readers. It is sent via email and is also posted on the SMAC website.


Project Objectives:

The accessibility audit will inform all aspects of SMAC activities and spaces (physical and virtual), as well as inclusion strategies across organization plans and practices, methods of ongoing evaluation.

The evaluation will include interfacing with SMAC staff and may include interacting with SMAC Board and communities in the region.


Description of Possible Services and Outputs:

• Evaluate the organization’s current accessibility accommodations, supports, and services.

• Conduct community evaluation, both currently engaged and those not engaged, to receive direct feedback on accessibility accommodations, supports, and services already utilized and where improvements can be made.

• Provide a checklist of accessibility considerations for event/program planning.

• Evaluate integration of inclusion efforts into project development; public
engagement; social media and digital platforms; marketing and promotion; and other organizational policies and practices.

• Develop an ADA plan and advise staff on priorities.

• Author a report detailing findings from audit, including comparison with peer institutions, a list of exemplary models and leading practices, and actionable recommendations for greater accessibility and inclusion at SMAC.


Respondent Requirements

Applicants are encouraged to review the SMAC’s main website ( and the SMAC FY22-23 biennial plan in advance of submitting a proposal.

1. Background Information
A cover letter or executive summary with the name, contact information, brief history, and description of the agency or individual applying. Include resumes or bios of those who will be providing services. The Southwest Minnesota Arts Council is an equal opportunity employer.

2. Your Experience
Describe your experience or the experience of your agency and its consultants in providing similar services to those requested here. Please give details on what kinds of accessibility audits you have conducted and outline your experience in the three areas of: (1) physical accessibility audit, (2) digital accessibility audit, and (3) cultural/intellectual/learning accessibility audit. If your greatest expertise is in one particular area, please note that. Please include at least two relevant examples and describe demonstrated outcomes as a result of the work performed for clients.

3. Additional Experience
Describe any experience you might have had with any of the following types of organizations:
– Art galleries, or museums in general
– Non-profit institutions

4. Approach and Timeline
Describe the approach you/your agency uses for accessibility audits and for consulting with organizations on inclusion, a proposed timeline, and estimated number of billable hours. If you anticipate being unable to visit the SMAC gallery in person, please describe how you would conduct the entirety of the audit remotely. Please include a breakdown of your desired fee for each of the services requested.

5. References
Provide names and contact information for three previous clients.

6. Proposal Submission and Project Timeline:
Please submit your proposal as a single PDF with your name / your agency’s
name included in the file name.

Proposals must be submitted by email to: Nicole DeBoer, SMAC Executive Director on or before April 23, 2021.

Submission Deadline: April 23, 2021
Selection of Consultant: April 27, 2021
Project Start Date: May 1, 2021

First Phase Completed: No later than June 30, 2021
**Services and Output/Deliverables may carry over into FY22 (beyond July 1, 2021)

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