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The Kennedy Center

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability header

Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®)

2017 Conference and Training - Austin, TX
Capacity Building Workshops: August 6-7
Conference: August 8-10

Join us!

Every year the Kennedy Center's Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) conference brings experienced and new professionals together to explore practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments.  A LEAD® we share resources and knowledge, develop best practices, and experience accessibility in action.

  • 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.

Join us to continue the dialogue, to share exciting ideas, and to explore new and innovative ways to welcome everyone.

Who Attends?

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.

Call for Proposals

The 2017 LEAD® Conference call for proposals is now closed.

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, 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 8 – 10

Registration Type Individual Rate Team Rate
Arts/Cultural Organization Staff $280.00 $255.00
Federal/State/Local Government Staff $280.00 $255.00
College/University Arts or Arts Administration Staff $280.00 $255.00
Arts Service Agency Staff $280.00 $255.00
Non-Profit Disability Service Organization Staff $655.00 N/A
For-Profit Disability or Arts Service Organization Staff and Consultants $815.00 N/A
Student Scholarships
(Application required. See below for complete details)
$180.00 N/A
Only available to Arts/Cultural Organizations,
Federal/State/Local Governments, College/University Arts,
and Arts Service Agencies.
$150.00 N/A
Presenters $50.00 N/A
Capacity Building Workshops Varies by workshop N/A

Scholarships for Students

Applications for the 2017 LEAD® Conference Scholarships for Students is now closed.

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 $180. If accepted, student registration would include access to sessions Tuesday, August 8 through Thursday, August 10, 2017. Additional fees apply for pre-conference and capacity building workshops as well as the Awards Evening and other special events.

If you have questions about the application, please contact the Kennedy Center's Accessibility Program at or 202-416-8727.

Team Registration Discounts:

If your organization sends more than one person to the full conference, the registration rate drops to $255 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.

Hotel Accommodations:

J.W. Marriott Austin

110 East 2nd Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 474-4777

We are pleased to announce that the Kennedy Center’s 2017 LEAD® Conference will take place at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Austin, TX.  The hotel is located in downtown Austin and is walking distance to many shops, restaurants, and the beautiful Colorado River.

Regular Single and Double Rooms are $189/night. 

  • If reserving and accessible hotel room online, please check the "accessible" box on the guest information page located under the "other options" section.  Please indicate any accessibility accommodations in the "additional requests" text box.  
  • If booking by phone, please make sure to mention to the agent that you are with the block reserved for The Kennedy Center or LEAD Conference.

Amenities include:

  • Complimentary Internet access in guest rooms
  • Fitness Studio (fitness room and outdoor pool)
  • Onsite Spa (massage and facials for additional fee)
  • Accessible rooms are available

Please note that these special rates are only available before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017.  Some amenities such as free internet access may only be complimentary if booked under our conference block.  Reservations at this rate are limited – we encourage you to book as soon as possible. For more information about the hotel, visit the hotel website at

Past LEAD® Conferences:


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