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Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability

2015 Conference and Training - Washington, DC


Pre-Conference Workshops:
August 3 & 4, 2015
August 5-7, 2015
On This Page:

Join us!

The LEAD® conference continues to be the one place where leaders and newcomers in the field of access to the cultural arts for individuals with disabilities and older adults can meet and mingle with peers, learn about the latest technological advances, get the straight talk on legal issues, and contribute to the collective knowledge base of how to reach and engage audiences, patrons, and visitors of all ages and abilities.

  • Basic to Advanced: No matter what level of experience you have, there’s always something to learn. The building blocks will give newcomers the tools and information they need to develop a successful accessibility program while the discussion groups and advanced track address accessibility for the most experienced.
  • Facilities to Programs: Sessions and discussions will cover all aspects of accessibility from the built environment to programs and communication.
  • Legal Obligations & Customer Service: Learn about relevant laws and regulations and explore accessibility from the customer service and business case perspectives.
  • Networking: Engage in conversations with colleagues who are enthusiastic about accessibility and eager to share their insights and learn from others.

Please join us to continue the dynamic dialogue to share exciting ideas and explore new and innovative ways to welcome everyone through the doors of our organizations.


Who Attends?

Whether your organization is big or small, your programming is indoors or outside, or if you come from a performing arts center, art gallery, zoo, museum, theater, or park, the networking and information offered at LEAD® can help you improve accessibility for all of your patrons and visitors.

LEAD® provides professional development for:

  • Accessibility Managers and Coordinators
  • Box Office and House Managers
  • Outreach and Education Coordinators
  • Patrons and Visitor Services Managers
  • Facilities and Operations Managers
  • Exhibition Designers
  • State and Local Government ADA/504 Coordinators
  • Marketing and Audience Development Directors
  • State Arts Commission/Council Accessibility Coordinators

Call for Proposals

Proposal Form


LEAD® is a professional network focused on exploring practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments and sharing resources and knowledge among professionals in the field of accessibility.

The annual conference addresses accessibility policies, procedures, and practices through the lens of customer service, often going above the minimums required by law.  Attendees come from a diverse group of organizations (performing arts, museums, parks, state arts agencies, etc.), and are seeking practical information to apply to their own settings and circumstances as well as the opportunity for discussion and engagement with colleagues in the field.

If selected, sessions will be offered at the LEAD® 2015 conference in Washington, DC.  Presenters should be prepared to cover their own travel costs, hotel expenses, meals, and applicable conference fees. 

The deadline to submit is November 3, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Topic Areas

The LEAD® network is seeking high-quality proposals that address one or more of the following topics relevant to the mission and purpose of the LEAD® program:

  • Accessibility Policy
  • Accessibility and Historic Properties
  • Accessibility Services
  • Cultivating Institutional Buy-In
  • Customer Service and Staff Training
  • Innovative Practices and Programs
  • Marketing, Outreach, and Community Engagement
  • Program Evaluation
  • Renovation and Retrofit
  • Research examining accessibility in the cultural arts and/or natural history settings
  • Social Media, Digital and/or New Technologies
  • Universal Design

Please Note: The LEAD® conference does not address professional development for artists with disabilities or arts education. For resources for artists with disabilities, please visit the VSA Programs page. For information on arts in education for people with disabilities, please visit the Intersections Conference page.

Session Format and Structure

Sessions are 75-90 minutes in length and must include time for discussion or Q&A and provide resources for further exploration of the topic. Experiential or hands-on learning opportunities are preferred.  Pre-Conference workshops are between 4 and 8 hours, must include time for discussions, Q&A, and interactive activities.

  • Lecture presentation: Position or best practice presentations that focus on a single topic or program, typically including a talk or media presentation.
  • Panel discussions: Panels of 2-4 speakers give presentations on different perspectives on a shared topic.
  • Experiential professional development sessions: Best or emerging practices on a particular topic that develop professional competencies and are presented in hands-on or experiential learning workshops.
  • Working Group/Best Practice Discussion Group: Session leaders or facilitators give brief presentations or ask questions to spark discussion among the larger group in order to identify best practices on a specific topic.

Submit a proposal:

To submit a proposal, please complete the online application form. Individuals may submit more than one proposal.

Proposals must be submitted by November 3, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Sessions will be selected by and at the sole discretion of the LEAD® content committee under the supervision of the Kennedy Center. 

For more information, to request proposal materials in a different format, or to discuss your proposal, please contact the Kennedy Center's Office of Accessibility at 202-416-8727


Registration Eligibility and Rates


Not all registrations will be accepted. Space for the conference is limited and preference will be given to paid staff at cultural arts organizations or cultural arts service or government agencies who are directly responsible for making programs and facilities accessible to people with disabilities. The Kennedy Center reserves the right to decline registrations. In the event that registration is declined, the Center will issue a refund for any fees collected.

Registration Rates:

Conference: August 5 - 7

Includes access to sessions Wednesday, August 5 through Friday, August 7.

  • Student Scholarships: $145 per individual (Application required. See Scholarship section for complete details)
  • Arts/Cultural Organization Staff: $245 per individual or $225 per team member
  • Federal/State/Local Government Staff: $245 per individual or $225 per team member
  • College/University Arts or Arts Administration Staff: $245 per individual or $225 per team member
  • Arts Service Agency Staff: $245 per individual or $225 per team member
  • Non-Profit Disability Service Organization Staff: $600
  • For-Profit Disability or Arts Service Organization Staff and Consultants: $775
Pre-Conference Workshops

Workshops will be offered concurrently on Monday, August 3 and Tuesday, August 4. Dates and times are subject to change.

  • $95 per person per workshop

Discounts and Scholarships

Team Registration Discounts:

If your organization sends more than one person to the full conference, the registration rate drops to $200 per person! Please Note: The team registration rate is only available to staff members of arts or cultural organizations; arts or cultural service agencies; university or college arts or arts administration program staff; and federal, state or local government employees.

Scholarships for Students:

Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in arts administration/management or museum studies programs can apply for a scholarship to attend the LEAD Conference at a reduced rate of $145. If accepted, student registration would include access to sessions Wednesday, August 5 through Friday, August 7. Additional fees apply for pre-conference and capacity building workshops as well as the Awards Dinner and any other special events.

To apply, please send a statement of interest along with your name, contact information, name and location of your university or college, degree expected, and area of study to

Applications must be received by May 30, 2015.


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