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Community pitches in to help Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art with accessibility

Paris GibsonSquare Museum of Art
Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 17:07:03-04

GREAT FALLS — With the help from the Great Falls community, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art has officially unveiled their newly-renovated restroom. The restroom was built to better accommodate the museum’s visitors who may need assistance or have disabilities. When the Covid-19 pandemic first made its way to Great Falls, the art museum, like many other businesses, was forced to close their doors. During this time, some businesses came together to help fix the restroom that was in need of some updates and repairs.

The previous restroom was too small to provide assistance to others in need of help or to fit a wheelchair. It had only one working toilet and a broken, uneven concrete floor. The new restroom features expanded doorways and a raised countertop to fit wheelchairs and walkers with comfort.

“It’s super, super helpful for our students with disabilities,” said Sarah Justice, director of the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. “We do a lot of outreach and work with adults with disabilities from Easterseals-Goodwill, and special families, and also youth with disabilities and prior to this bathroom being renovated, students had to trek a really long way down a hallway, up an elevator, back down another hallway to get to the restroom and sometimes that was super inconvenient and if these students needed to use the restroom right away, it was too long of a journey to get there.”

“The restroom is very exciting for us at Easter Seals-Goodwill,” said Chelle Fried, community relations director for Easter Seals-Goodwill. “We work with a population of people with disabilities and some are in wheelchairs, some are not, but even people without wheelchairs sometimes needs extra assistance and when you’re trying to help in a tiny little stall, It’s very difficult, so a lot of times we tried to take care of their needs at our own center before art classes, because the people that we serve love their art classes so much. This is really exciting to have this large restroom where the wheelchairs can go in, the people who need extra assistance can go in, and have the dignity that we all deserve.”

Several businesses donated the materials and their time to renovate the new restroom during the museum’s shut-down.

“We just wanted to help out the community and help out the Square and people coming in to visit the Square,” said Mark Harant, owner of Harant Heating, Cooling & Remodeling, Inc. “The big thing is knowing that there’s a lot more that the Square has to offer than just the artwork here, there’s classes, pottery, painting and it’s great for the community.”

On Tuesday morning, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art unveiled their new restroom to their first art class since the shut-down.