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Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability header Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability

2016 Conference and Training - Pittsburgh, PA

Join us! August 1-5, 2016

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.


Call for Proposals

The LEAD® program is seeking high quality proposals to address on or more of the following topics relevant to the mission and purpose of the LEAD© program

  • Accessibility Policy
  • Accessibility Services and Programs
  • Cultivating Institutional Buy-in
  • Customer Service and Staff Training
  • Marketing, Outreach, and Community Engagement
  • Program Evaluation or Research
  • Renovation, New Construction, or Retrofitting
  • Technology
  • Universal Design

LEAD© serves arts administrators who are working to make their programs and facilities accessible to people with disabilities of all ages. The conference addresses accessibility policies, procedures, and practices through the lens of customer service, often going above the minimums required by law. Attendees are looking for practical information to apply to their own settings and circumstances as well as the opportunity for discussion and engagement with colleagues in the field. LEAD© conference session are between 75 and 90 minutes in length. Pre-conference workshops are between 4 and 8 hours in length.  Experiential or hands on learning opportunities are preferred. Please note: If you proposal is a case study, we will be looking for discussions of wider principles or application using the case study as an example. Presenters should be prepared to cover their own travel and hotel expenses, meals, and applicable conference fees. The LEAD© conference does not address professional development for artists with disabilities or arts education. For resources for artists, please visit the VSA Programs page. For information on arts in education, please visit the Intersections Conference page.

Submit a Proposal

Proposals must be submitted electronically by November 16, 2015 by following the link below.

For more information or to discuss your proposal, please contact the Kennedy Center’s Accessibility Program at or by calling 202-416-8727 (voice)

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

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.

Registration Eligibility and Rates


Not all registrations will be accepted. Space 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 3 - 5

Arts/Cultural Organization Staff $275.00 $250.00
Federal/State/Local Government Staff $275.00 $250.00
College/University Arts or Arts Administration Staff $275.00 $250.00
Arts Service Agency Staff $275.00 $250.00
Non-Profit Disability Service Organization Staff $650.00 n/a
For-Profit Disability or Arts Service Organization Staff and Consultants $800.00 n/a
Student Scholarships
(Application required. See below for complete details)
$175.00 n/a
Only eligible for Arts/Cultural Organizations, Federal/State/Local Governments, College/University Arts, and Arts Service Agencies.
$150.00 n/a
Presenters $50.00 n/a

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 $175. If accepted, student registration would include access to sessions Wednesday, August 3 through Friday, August 5, 2016. 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, 2016.

Team Registration Discounts:

If your organization sends more than one person to the full conference, the registration rate drops to $250 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.


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