Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Awards
The Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Awards recognize outstanding arts administrators and cultural arts organizations whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility. The goal in granting these awards is to increase awareness and focus on the importance of accessibility in artistic venues, cultural institutions, and natural history settings.top
Award for Emerging Leaders
The LEAD® Award for Emerging Leaders was created in 2008 to acknowledge arts administrators who are motivated by the LEAD® conference to become an advocate for accessibility within their own organizations and communities. These individuals have successfully applied what they learn at the conference to open doors to and shape opportunities that are inclusive of people with disabilities and older adults in the cultural arts.
Recipients must have attended a LEAD® conference within the past two years and implemented a new access initiative or project as a direct result of their attendance. These new initiatives can include any efforts to improve accessibility, such as conducting a docent, staff, or volunteer accessibility training; providing materials in alternate formats; interpreting a lecture or performance; reviewing and revising organizational policies; forming an access advisory committee; etc.
Please visit the
submissions page for full details and to submit an application.
Applications for the 2017 Awards for Emerging Leaders must be received by May 16, 2017. Applications will be reviewed by committee and recipients will be selected in June. Applicants may be contacted for an interview.
Applications must be submitted online. Please contact us at 202-416-8727 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or require an alternate format.
The Awards for Emerging Leaders have been granted to the following individuals for making the cultural arts more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities and older adults:
- Emma Allen, Visitor Services & Museum Store Manager at the Bell Museum of Natural History
- Caroline Braden, Guest Accessibility/Special Needs Assistant at The Henry Ford
- Brittany Pyle, Director of Audience Services at the Chicago Humanities Festival
- Emmanuel Von Schack, Coordinator of Access Programs at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
- Amy Coombs, Director of Operations for the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University
- Christena Gunther, Evan Hatfield, and Lynn Walsh, Co-Chairs of the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium
- Lew Michaels, Associate Director of Theater Operations
- William Coleman, Director of Arts Access for the Tennessee Arts Commission
- Rebecca Bradley, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
- Kris Johnson, Access Indy
- Marit Majeske, Hylton Performing Arts Center
- Traci McGrath, Children's Museum of Denver
- Jamie Bosket, George Washington's Mount Vernon
- Alyssa Herzog Melby, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
- Danielle Linzer, Whitney Museum of American Art
- Matt Saurusaitis, Miami City Ballet
- Al Rodibaugh, Vanessa Braun, and Eric Thomas, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
- Jim Amberg, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- Radawna Wallace, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- Tammy Ebben, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
- Courtney Egg, The Lesher Center for the Arts
- Judy Litt, The Playground Theatre
- Garry Novick, The Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Community Asset Awards
The LEAD® Community Asset Award recognizes the achievements of cultural arts administrators or organizations that continually demonstrate success with access initiatives, improving accessibility in their organization, city, state or region.
Recipients must be an individual or team on staff at a cultural arts organization or a cultural arts organization that has demonstrated success improving or providing access for individuals with disabilities for a minimum of 5 years. The body of work will be a comprehensive accessibility initiative that recognizes the diversity within the disability community.
Please visit the submissions page for full details and to submit an application.
Nomination packages include the following information:
- Name and contact information of the person submitting the nomination
- Name(s) and contact information of the nominee(s)
A statement or list (1000 words or less) that provides the following information about accessibility initiatives, processes, or programs:
- What is in place;
- When they were established and whether they are completed (such as a construction project) or ongoing;
- Who they are designed to serve; and
- Why they continue to be or were successful.
- Two letters of support from members of the community that describe how they have been impacted by the work of the individual, team, or organization.
- Nominees may also submit up to three supplemental materials. These materials can include accessibility brochures; a list of access programs and services; press materials highlighting accessibility programs and services; etc.
Applications for the 2017 Awards must be received by May 16, 2017. Submissions will be reviewed by committee and recipients will be selected in June. Applicants may be contacted for an interview.
- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
- Anne Mulgrave, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
- Lee Brown, Mesa Arts Center
- Robert Carr, New Jersey Theatre Alliance
- Bob Dillon, San Diego Zoo
Awards for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership
The LEAD® Awards for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership were created in 2004 to recognize a lifetime of achievement in arts and accessibility.
Recipients are selected for having sustained accessibility efforts over a significant period of time, demonstrating either an individual or institutional commitment to the inclusion of all people with disabilities. This pertains to incorporating accessibility into organizational programs, projects, and environments. Other factors considered in selecting award winners are the breadth of impact and how the person or entity has served as a role-model or leader within the cultural arts community and in areas such as business, social service, and government.
Individuals who have attended the Kennedy Center's LEAD® Conference within the past five years are eligible to nominate arts organizations or individuals for the LEAD® Awards for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership.
Please visit the submissions page for full details and to submit an application or nomination.
The nomination includes a written statement (500 words or less) describing how long and in what way the individual or organization has been a leader in and made important contributions to the field of cultural arts access.
Nominees may also submit up to three supplemental materials. These materials can include letters of support from patrons, visitors, or staff; accessibility brochures; a list of access programs and services; press materials highlighting accessibility programs and services; etc.
Nominations for the 2017 Awards must be received by May 16, 2017. Submissions will be reviewed by committee and recipients will be selected in June. Applicants may be contacted for an interview.
Past Recipients of the LEAD® Award for Excellence in Accessibility Leadership
- Mimi Kenney Smith for nurturing the cultural community to embrace inclusive performing arts
- Beth Prevor for unwavering commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the performing arts across the New York Metropolitan region.
- Renee Wells for her inspiring dedication to and mentoring of cultural arts administrators in the art of inclusive practices.
- Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and New England ADA Centers for exemplary support, guidance, and direction to others striving to achieve accessibility in the cultural arts.
- John Wodatch for exemplary advocacy at the national level on behalf of the rights or people with disabilities to participate in and access the cultural arts.
- Rebecca McGinnis for exemplary dedication and commitment to bringing together academic and cultural communities to improve accessibility for people with disabilities in museums and the cultural arts.
- Ray Bloomer for championing and fostering accessibility for people with disabilities in our nation's parks, historic sites and museums.
- Media Access Group at WGBH for innovative contributions and outstanding commitment to advancing technology in the field of accessible media.
- Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl for her lifetime commitment and enduring advocacy on behalf of audio description: and
- Paper Mill Playhouse for its long-standing commitment to accessibility in the cultural arts for people with disabilities and older adults.
- Linda Jane Austen for unwavering dedication to promoting opportunities for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities and older adults in the cultural arts.
- Elly Rubin for pioneering a comprehensive approach to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the field of museum accessibility:
- Hannah Goodwin for steadfast expansion of access and inclusive practices in museums for people with disabilities and older adults; and
- The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts for exemplary leadership and abiding commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the cultural arts
- Theatre Development Fund's Theatre Access Project for sustained efforts to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in theater audiences in both the for-profit and non-profit theater communities
- Special Recognition: Paula Terry on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts for outstanding efforts to encourage the national arts community to be accessible to people with disabilities
- Mickey McVey for her steadfast advocacy in the creation of accessible cultural programs and facilities for people with disabilities in the Arvada community
- Wheelock Family Theatre for exemplary leadership in the inclusion of people with disabilities in the performing arts.
- John McEwen for dedication and pioneering efforts in the field of cultural accessibility for people with disabilities
- The Smithsonian Institution Accessibility Program for dedication and leadership in providing access for museum visitors and staff with disabilities, creating museum accessibility guidelines that are in use around the world, and establishing a model of institutional change through its policy, guidelines, and practices.