Cultural Voice of North Carolina (CVNC.org), a North Carolina online arts journal, received the Emerging Leader Award. Last year, Raleigh Arts sponsored the attendance of CVNC.org’s Executive Director Andrea Luke and Editor in Chief Maggie Pate at The Kennedy Center’s 2022 LEAD® Conference held in Raleigh. Since then, CVNC.org has begun a massive website redesign to implement more thoughtful accessibility features throughout. CVNC.org receives funding through the Raleigh Arts Commission’s Raleigh Arts Partners Program.
Arts attorney and accessibility advocate Dan Ellison received the Community Asset Award for sustained success in improving arts accessibility for individuals with disabilities. In addition to founding the Durham Audio Described Art Project, Ellison has chaired NC State University’s Gregg Museum of Art & Design's accessibility committee for many years and has taught at Duke University, including working with its musical theater program to incorporate accommodations like audio description and sensory friendly performances into its shows.
Ellison is also an alumnus of the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access and CNVC.org executive director Andrea Luke is a current member. A collaboration between the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, the program brings together like-minded arts and cultural administrators to improve their organizations’ engagement with Deaf and disability communities.
“The Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability Conference has been a key component of Arts Learning Community for Universal Access curriculum,” said S.A. Corrin, arts grant director for Raleigh Arts. “And the program’s impact can be seen in the growth of accessible arts programming across Raleigh, like sensory friendly performances by Raleigh Little Theatre and the North Carolina Symphony, First Night Raleigh’s Silent Disco, and Artspace’s Universal Access Artist Residency for disabled artists, among other initiatives.”
The Arts Learning Community for Universal Access was well-represented at this year’s LEAD® Conference, with both current members and alumni leading sessions. LEAD® Emerging Leader Award honorees Jamie Katz Court (2017) of the North Carolina Arts Council and National Women’s Theatre Festival’s Johannah Edwards (2022) presented respectively on how arts councils can develop accessibility cohort programs and facilitated performing arts affinity group sessions. North Carolina Art Museum’s Manager of Interpretation, Diversity and Accessibility Felicia Ingram and Accessibility and Inclusion Coordinator Molly Hill led a session on creating an accessible museum park experience.
About the LEAD® 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 of granting these awards is to increase awareness and focus on the importance of accessibility in artistic venues, cultural institutions, and natural history settings.