The Art Spark Texas April artist of the month is Sharron Rush and the not-for-profit organization Knowbility she founded. During this time of learning how to move everything in-person to online, many organizations are looking for ways to make their content accessible to as many people as possible. So why not go to the experts to learn more? Sharron and her multi-talented Knowbility team members are ready to help you with the thorniest of challenges!
In 1998, recognizing the need for training and resources to address the diverse challenges people with disabilities encountered on the rapidly developing internet, Sharron launched a city-wide project, AIR, or Accessibility Internet Rally. As with all good ideas, this onetime event has grown into a global phenomenon. This event, through a friendly competition, partners website developers with non-profit organizations, artists, and musicians, to create accessible and engaging websites. AIR is a win-win because developers gain the knowledge and skills to create
accessible websites for everyone, and non-profits, artists and other creatives gain professionally developed websites that showcase their talents!
But Knowbility does much more than help artists build accessible websites. It employs people with disabilities across the country to assess websites for their usability, remediate inaccessible documents, provide technical assistance, and lead topical seminars with some of the leading digital media companies today.
Through Knowbility’s ATSTAR online curriculum, teachers learn to use assistive technology, ensuring that their classrooms and lessons are accessible to every student. Now that many teachers have moved to online teaching and learning, Knowbility has launched what they call “Toolkit Tuesdays,” technical assistance for teachers and parents of special education students. Please go to https://knowbility.org/programs/atstar/k12-community/ to answer a few survey questions to be added to the mailing list. And while you are there, check out some of the other resources they have to share.
As Sharron said many years ago, “Knowbility builds curb cuts on the Internet highway.” What a great notion. She had a vision of an inclusive society, and she organized to make it happen. Because of the work she and Knowbility have done these past 22 years, we are proud to name them the Art Spark Texas April 2020 artist of the month.