The Maryland State Arts Council will move to Baltimore's newly renovated Greyhound Bus Terminal in March to comply with federal rules regarding disabled accessibility, the agency announced yesterday.
The move to the Howard Street building was initiated by complaints that the council's headquarters in a historic rowhouse on Mulberry Street was inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. In August, the National Endowment for the Arts said it would suspend the arts council's funding until the agency agreed to renovate its headquarters or move into a facility that NTC was fully accessible.
The renovated building, also the site of the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments, will house all arts council employees -- including the Maryland Film Commission -- and the council's slide registry of visual artists. There will also be parking spaces for the handicapped.
Marilyn Phillips, the disability rights activist from Carroll County who filed the original complaint to the NEA, said she was pleased that the entire building is accessible to the disabled.
"Now the arts council is open to receive not only the public, but anyone with a disability who might apply for a job," she said. "But I'm still confused and perplexed and frustrated that the state allowed this non-compliance for 20 years. As individuals with disabilities, we can't spend our entire lives reinventing the wheel."
After the move, the public can still obtain the council's printed information at the Baltimore League for the Handicapped, the site it has used during its search for a new home.