A Statistics Canada study on hearing disabilities among Canadians shows that roughly 3.6% of Canadians with a significant hearing impairment use sign language. ASL, American Sign Language, is a language expressed by hand and facial movements used by Deaf communities in the United States and many parts of Canada. At the RCA, we foster a creative environment of accessibility for all, which is why we were excited to have The Oot n’ Oots bring an ASL interpreter for their performance at our 20th Anniversary Summer Patio Concert Series.
Registered sign language interpreter, Samantha Sawatzky, accompanied the JUNO award-winning band The Oot n’ Oots on August 2nd during our Summer Patio Concert Series. This series of performances from professional local musicians not only brought free, accessible entertainment to our community but also a chance for those in the deaf community to take part in the fun.
“It's wonderful when organizations take the time to consider accessibility by providing ASL interpreters to promote the inclusion of everyone,” says a representative from Sign Referral Services Inc (SRS), the network Samantha provides Sign Language interpreting services for. “Professional interpreters expertly fade into the overall production of an event and provide crucial access to what is happening for any attendees using ASL interpretation for their participation”
Providing ASL interpretation at events like these help to promote awareness around those living with hearing impairment in our community. The RCA is proud to provide different types of accessible programming, from free music for the public to enjoy, to free art and cultural learning events for the broader community on important issues such as the 94 Calls to Action reading circle held earlier this year. As we approach our 20th anniversary, we are looking forward to presenting more events like these that make Arts and Culture accessible for everyone.
Samantha Sawatzky photographed by Justin Hill