Posts Tagged With: LEAD

It’s time for us to LEAD

Last September, I wrote a blog post about my amazing trip to San Diego to take part in the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference and training. I can point to this experience as the single most helpful event in my professional training as an accessibility coordinator. Although I’m sure we all wouldn’t mind a trip to the beach, Kentucky’s cultural administrators are lucky to have this same opportunity brought directly to us by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. LEAD will be hosted by the Kentucky Center from August 17 – 20, 2011.

Attendees have great things to look forward to according to the LEAD website. Conference session topics include access basics, audience building through access, legal issues for arts administrators, emergency evacuations, access technology updates, web accessibility for administrators, social media with accessibility in mind and more.

If you are responsible for access services at a museum, nonprofit gallery, theater, arts and cultural center, state park, library or any other place with art for the public, then LEAD is the perfect training opportunity. If your organization does not have someone assigned to access services, now is the time to train someone!

The Kentucky Arts Council is deeply committed to access in the arts, and we recognize that this is a rare opportunity to have LEAD so close. We have partnered with the Kennedy Center to make available some special offers to arts and cultural organizations in Kentucky. For more information, contact

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Arts Organizations | Tags: , , , ,

LEAD, follow or go to the zoo

Many of us who are responsible for accessibility at our arts organizations never thought we would be assigned such tasks. It may be one thing in a long list of job duties. Sometimes it’s even hidden at the bottom of that list in fine print.

Luckily, few of our job duties provide such reward or put you in contact with more amazing people. Furthermore, being an expert in access for the arts only requires a little intellectual curiousity, the ability to make good friends, and a lot of common sense and sensitivity.  If you are an “arts person,” you already have these skills at hand. Even better, there is a place to go and learn all of the things, like the “letter of law,” that don’t come instinctively.

Proof that I was in San Diego for a conference 🙂

This year was the tenth anniversary of the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD), an annual conference hosted by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This is the conference to attend for access coordinators, directors, liasons or whatever your boss calls you. The conference was held in San Diego from August 25-29. And yes, we did go to the zoo. The Kennedy Center’s director of accessibility, Betty Siegel, reminded us that  every ten year old’s dream is to go to the zoo for his or her birthday.

We ate dinner whit elephants.

The sessions were full of information on assisstive technology, changes to the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), panels featuring patrons with disabilties, seminars on universal design, Q&A sessions to ask those scary and difficult questions, great partnership models between arts centers and disability advocacy groups, funding sources for equipment and programs, and much more. The most important aspect of this conference is being able to meet face-to-face with others from around the country who work in our field, struggle with the same challenges and can share some keys to success. We met in affinity groups every evening to brief each other about what we learned during the day’s sessions.

Affinity group. We had more in common than we realized.

Kentucky should be proud that The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts is one of the founding members of this conference and network. Furthermore (drumroll please!) the LEAD conference is coming to Kentucky next year. Plan ahead. If you work for or with an arts organization (whether you work directly with access or not), you should plan to be in Louisville in August.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Arts Organizations | Tags: , ,

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