R. David New founded Power Access, Inc. in 2010 in response to the lack of cultural programming for and by people with disabilities. An all-volunteer 501(c)3 not-for-profit, dedicated to presenting cultural and educational programming that shines a spotlight on the abilities of people with disabilities as defined by the American Disability Act, and to offer viable solutions to their challenges.
Power Access has been presenting activities through its Ability Explosion® beginning in 2010. They launched the first Ability Explosion® with the Miami Beach Disability Access Committee as a Disability Awareness Day, which featured disability simulations and awareness about audio and tactile crosswalks at new traffic signals. After that first year, they expanded the project to be a weeklong event featuring a Resource & Technology Expo at the Miami Beach Convention Center, a 5k run, a business luncheon in conjunction with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, and “Lights out Miami Beach”—dining in the dark citywide attended by almost 1000 people. In subsequent years, Ability Explosion® expanded to include; wheelchair basketball, “Taking It to the Streets” featuring music on Lincoln road, a Comedy Explosion, a water sports exhibition, and “Cooking Without Looking,” a television show of cooking classes by and for the blind.
Disabilities can be obvious or in many cases not readily apparent. According the American Psychological Association: “A disability is present when activities usually performed by people (such as walking, talking, reading, learning) are in some way restricted. Thus, someone with congenital blindness has a disability, as does someone who must use a wheelchair for mobility purposes. Other disabilities are not necessarily apparent, for example, acquired brain injury or chronic depression.”
As such, many people with disabilities have those that are not recognizable from the outside–they could be diabetic, or have some kind of a birth defect, or even alcoholism, or attention deficit disorder, all classified under the ADA. Power Access’s approach is to provide the community with an enhanced experience of people with disabilities that will create tolerance and mutually beneficial relationships.
Power Access presented its first festival in December 2016, featuring jazz superstar Diane Schuur who has been blind since birth. The musically vibrant 5-day festival reached as many as 1,700 people thanks to our extensive marketing campaign and our producing partner, KCC Productions.
The second year, this past January, saw a greater expanse in programming and audience with Branford Marsalis being a huge success with a sold-out kick off. We witnessed how the music forged bonds between listeners and performers, but more importantly, how the sheer talent of the artists promoted the festival’s primary goal: enabling the musicians to be defined by ability rather than disability. To further this goal, at least one member of each musical group had a disability, therefore, creating opportunities for those individuals while educating the community.
The Administration reached out to the Committee Liaison to discuss funding and the committee request, to better understand the ask. The Committee Liaison recommended an approval of $20,000 from the Miami Dade County Parking Fines Reimbursement Fund/ADA fund in order to fund further disability awareness.
Pursuant to Sec. 12-7(a) of Chapter 12 (Arts, Culture and Entertainment) of the City Code, any request for City Sponsorship of $25,000 or more for an event shall only be considered through the City Commission's annual budget process. All other requests for City sponsorship, pursuant to 12-7(b) shall require "(I) an advisory recommendation of the Finance and Citywide Projects Committee; and (ii) by a five-sevenths (5/7th) vote, of the City Commission," and 12-7(c) states that 'in considering approval of a Sponsorship for an event, "the City Commission may consider (i) whether the event organizer has exercised good-faith diligent efforts to apply for grant funding that may be available from the City's Visitor and Convention Authority ("CVA" or Cultural Arts Council ("CAC"); (ii) the Event organizer's history and performance in delivering quality Events, (iii) any benefits being directly provided to the general public with respect to the Event, such as free or discounted tickets to persons residing in the City of Miami Beach, seniors, veterans, or member of disadvantaged groups; (iv) whether the event is accessible to the general public (either as a ticketed event or otherwise); (v) the demonstrable economic impacts associated with the Event; (vi) the demonstrable media commitments secured by the Event organizer for the Event; or (vii) the efforts undertaken by the Event organizer to mitigate any quality of life impacts associated with the Event, including noise, littering, traffic or parking impacts associated with an Event."
The event consideration for sponsorship would meet the guidelines in the following manner:
1. Has the event applied for CAC or VCA? N/A
2. How many years has the event been active on Miami Beach? Three (3)
3. Does the event generate significant room nights on Miami Beach? N/A
4. What is the public benefit provided by the event? Disability Inclusive Events and Awarene