Ramp it Up : Adam Cohoon
Ramp it Up
This video was created by Adam Cohoon. He is a young man, with a disability, an accomplished artist, photographer and videographer. He is also an accessibility activist.
I have been working with Adam on several initiatives – including the blogs at enables.me as well as the artwork created by Artists Without Barriers.
The ramp seen in the video is the invention of Luke Anderson, an engineer and accessibility consultant. The product has been named STOPGAP as it is meant to be a quick solution, while long term renovations like permanent ramps or elevators may take time.
My chat with Adam:
He is 35 and lives alone in Toronto. He was born in Kincardine Ontario. He has been in Toronto for 18 years, spending more than a decade in his current apartment. He was always interested in the arts and had some difficulty availing the full benefits of his School Arts Programme.
His profession as well as hobbies are Photography, Videography, Visual Arts. He has to travel to many locations all over the city where work takes him. Generally speaking, his mobility gets curtailed when there is snow on the ground. He has documented his issues about winter outings in several videos. He prefers the buses and wheel trans to theb subway and has been a Wheel Trans customer since 1998.
The reactions to his video were all favourable. Some shop owners do not yet understand the need to provide access to all possible customers. In fact, one tradesman stood at the top of a flight of steps and said, ”never had any complaints from disabled customers”, not realising that those very steps were turning away dozens of potential wheelchair users.
Regarding the actual process of making the video, Adam says he wrote down a script. The main issue was the editing which was done by a friend. Since then, he has purchased the necessary software and now can do the editing from home. A day’s shooting generally needs a day’s worth of editing. Similar videos of other neighbourhoods is possible, however funding has to be available.
Over 2015-16, it is hoped that the STOPGAP product will become increasingly popular.
Here is piece Adam wrote about the art gallery scene in Toronto.
Adam Cohoon is one of Toronto’s many emerging artists hoping to get his work shown in one of Toronto’s small, hip galleries. Problem is, he can’t actually get inside most of them.
“A lot of the storefront galleries in the city aren’t wheelchair accessible because they usually go in older buildings which have one or two steps,” he said. “The gallery owners aren’t looking to renovate.”
Cohoon has created a photography series called You Can’t Get In, showing some of the man inaccessible doors of Toronto’s art scene.