For leaders and newcomers in access to cultural arts for people with disabilities to meet and mingle with peers, learn latest technology, get straight talk on legal issues, share knowledge
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 in Chicago 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 LEAD®?
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
State and Local Government ADA/504 Coordinators
Marketing and Audience Development Directors
State Arts Commission/Council Accessibility Coordinators
This series of sessions is designed for those who are new to accessibility or who need a refresher on the building blocks of a successful accessibility program. Presenters will cover everything from physical access to planning; programmatic access to marketing.
Doing Access Justice: Legal Issues for Arts Administrators
Always one of the most popular sessions at LEAD®, this forum is a dynamic, participant-driven Q&A session with experts from the U.S. Department of Justice and Disability Business and Technical Assistance Centers.
Curbside Assistance on the Road to Accessibility: Accessibility requirements and resources for state and federal grantees
State and federal agencies offer unique partnership and funding opportunities, but with these opportunities come added legal and fiscal requirements, including compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In this interactive workshop, state arts agency (SAA) accessibility coordinators and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) staff will help workshop participants navigate the state and NEA grant application processes, the legal requirements for accessibility, and the resources available for cultural organizations. After a brief panel presentation and group discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with SAA and NEA representatives in a "meet your arts agency" session.
Exhibition Accessibility in the 21st Century
Museum experiences in the 21st Century are changing rapidly as our institutions seek to become more participatory, experimental, immersive, and technology-based. Innovative new exhibition forms may require equally innovative approaches to accessibility, to ensure that visitors with disabilities aren't left behind as museum practice moves forward. This Insight session will use examples from contemporary art and science museums to spark a large-group discussion about changing exhibit formats and new approaches for access and inclusion. Join us to share your own examples and help generate a working list of principles, guidelines, and recommendations to better address these challenges at our home institutions.
Website Accessibility Consultations
Space is limited.
Meet one-on-one with an expert on accessible web design and get practical, useful recommendations on how to make your website more accessible. Not the web developer for your organization? No problem! During the consult, you'll receive a detailed report that you can take back to your IT department. Sign up when you register!
This is your opportunity to talk about new, current, or recent accessibility-related projects or initiatives! These talks are short and sweet – each presenter will get four minutes max! – to share the work that they are doing with everyone at the conference. Sign up when you register!
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.
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.
Illinois Arts Council Agency Scholarships
Scholarships are now available through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)! Applicants are required to be Illinois not-for-profit organization staff at cultural arts or cultural arts service organizations, or government agency staffs who are directly responsible for making programs and facilities accessible to people with disabilities.
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 $125. If accepted, student registration would include access to sessions beginning at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 4; all day Tuesday, August 5; and all day Wednesday, August 6. 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.