July 24, 2015
Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center
850 South Fifth Street
Allentown, PA 18103
for more information, visit
July 24, 2015
Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center
850 South Fifth Street
Allentown, PA 18103
for more information, visit
|Lehigh Valley arts and cultural organizations will be welcoming patrons with intellectual, sensory and physical disabilities as a result of the effort of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council (LVAC) and the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community (Partnership).
They will host an “Arts & Access” reception on July 24, 2015, to launch the yearlong plan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through the lens of the arts. The event will be held 4:30-6 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center, 850 S. 5th St., Allentown. It is open to the public, particularly to anyone with a disability.
“Access to the arts is more than just building a ramp,” said Randall Forte, LVAC Executive Director. “To be truly accessible to those with disabilities, performing and visual arts groups need to make important changes in the way they have always done things.”
With the guidance of VSA PA, LVAC has developed staff training and promotional programs to help local arts organizations learn how to remove the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from enjoying their offerings. More than 30 arts organizations have already agreed to move toward greater inclusion and make accommodations for people with disabilities.
Workshops will continue this year on implementing open captioning and audio description for people with vision and hearing loss. Open Captioning provides the audience with an electronic text display to the side of the stage, displaying lyrics, dialogue, and sound effects in real time. Audio Description is a form of audio-visual translation, using natural pauses to insert narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.
Together, the arts council and partnership hope to accomplish the following goals:
For more information, visit ArtsandAccess.org
Addressing a need
The 2012 U.S. Census estimated that more than 12 percent of the Valley’s non-institutionalized population lives with some kind of disability. That’s a potential arts audience of about 81,000 people. “Arts groups should realize that in the community with disabilities there is an untapped market for performing and visual arts,” said Forte.
Members of the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community, a coalition of organizations that serve the diverse disabled community, asked the LVAC to involve arts groups in addressing this issue. To date, more than thirty arts and cultural organizations have agreed to participate, including ArtsQuest, Allentown Art Museum, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, SATORI, and Williams Center for the Arts.
Arts & Access is already responsible for important changes in the way the arts are presented. For example, this fall the Lehigh University Art Galleries will debut a tactile description program in their teaching gallery, which uses technology to create a three-dimensional relief of a portion of the image for the person to explore through touch. Many local service providers, such as Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living and the Center for Vision Loss, are offering customer service training free-of-charge. For instance, the staff at Center for Vison Loss will work with ushers and box office personnel on how to interact with a person with vision loss. In addition to providing them audio-description, theatres may offer a pre-show sensory tour, where patrons arrive early, meet cast members and handle props and costume accessories.
The LVAC can connect presenters with affordable professionals who do American Sign Language interpreting, audio describing, and open captioning for live events and exhibitions. The council also offers audio-describer training and equipment for organizations who wish to train their in-house personnel. In addition, participants may apply to the council for a Greater Inclusion Grant, a matching grant for up to $300, to help fund a new initiative that meets the approved criteria.
The Americans for Disabilities Act, passed on July 26, 1990, prohibits discrimination against the disabled. It set in motion a frenzy of activity designed to prevent discrimination against those who have difficulty navigating modern life, particularly in employment, transportation, and public buildings. But the act did not specifically address the facilities used by the arts such as theaters, galleries, and auditoriums. http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor62335
L.V. Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community is a diverse network of more than 75 people and agencies in the Lehigh Valley united in the goal to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Their vision is to be a catalyst for change in making the Valley a disability-friendly community which is inclusive, accessible, and welcoming. http://disabilityfriendlylv.com/
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council acts as both advocate and catalyst to create new gateways, and bring people together to find solutions that advance greater arts participation. It promotes the arts, supports the development of artists, assists arts organizations, facilitates communication among its constituencies, and conducts research to measure the economic impact of the region’s cultural industry. http://www.lvartscouncil.org/
VSA ARTS in Pennsylvania shares its knowledge of inclusive arts education across Pennsylvania and works with artists with disabilities to develop professional careers.
Schedule for July 24 Launch Party
Free, wheelchair accessible parking is available in the Good Shepherd parking deck across from the Health & Technology Center on South 5th St.; it is connected to the center via a bridge on level three.
A Partial List of Arts Organizations participating in Arts & Access
Allentown Art Museum in collaboration with Via of the Lehigh Valley and artist Jill Odegaard
Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Raker Lecture Series
SATORI in collaboration painter William Christine at the Colonial Intermediate Unit #21
Williams Center for the Arts/ Lafayette College
|The 2015 spring membership reception, Art is a Verb—Let’s all do it, embraces the excitement and promise of greater cultural accessibility in the Lehigh Valley. On Tuesday, June 9, 2015, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council introduces the community-wide plans for the upcoming Arts & Access celebration, which commemorates the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act through the lens of the arts.We are pleased to announce that JohnKristel, MBA, MPT, President & CEO of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital is our host for our annual membership event. Join us for a reception at Good Shepherd’s Health & Technology Center and learn more about the number of participating cultural organizations andindividuals who have signed on toparticipate in Arts & Access. This annual get-together is a popular occasion for members to renew their connection to the arts and to each other.Three prominent cultural leaders and their respective organizations will be celebrated for their vision in expanding cultural accessibility: Jessica Bien, General Manager at Muhlenberg College Theater & Dance Department; Nora Suggs, Executive Director of Satori; and Ricardo Viera, Director/Curator of Lehigh University Galleries and Museums.
“We chose to recognize these members in the arts community for their leadership in reaching out and accommodating people with various disabilities,” says Randall Forte, executive director. “Their commitment to greater inclusion is about being pro-active, not re-active—there is much we can learn from them!”
Festivities will include the creation of a “Word Cloud“,” as arts professionals, patrons, and guests will collaborate in visualizing the future of the arts in our community. Members and their guests will also enjoy a tour of the Health & Technology Center.
Generously underwritten by PPL, light food will be provided. Members attend for free; nonmembers pay $10. Reservations are encouraged so please call the Arts Council at 610-437-5915 or register online at http://www.LVArtsCouncil.org. Parking is available in the garage located at 850 South 5th St., Allentown. Access to the Health & Technology Center is via the third floor of the parking garage.
February 20 & 21, 2015
|As the Lehigh Valley Arts Council prepares for the 25th anniversary and yearlong celebration of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are offering a two-day audio-description training workshop to the performing arts community. By becoming more disability-friendly, a cultural venue can also increase its capacity to attract a larger audience. Theatre practitioners from all walks of life—actors, students, volunteers—are invited to enroll in the upcoming audio-description training session and acquire new performance skills. The training also prepares performing arts groups to participate in the Arts & Access Celebration and to receive recognition and promotion in the Lehigh Valley for creating a more inclusive region.
Audio description assists patrons who are blind or low-vision to access the visual elements of stage productions through live narration provided by trained describers. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description.
The Arts Council has contracted Mimi Smith, Executive Director of VSA Pennsylvania, and Steve Smith to provide the training over the course of two days, February 20 & 21, 2015. The Smiths have been describers for more than two decades, and are the founders of Amaryllis Theatre Co., a professional Philadelphia theatre that regularly includes artists with disabilities. They will introduce the class to the foundational skills—Observe, Analyze and Communicate— necessary to audio describe a play.
Typically, this workshop would cost $590. Thanks to the underwriting support of an anonymous donor, the Arts Council is able to offer it at a very reasonable price: $50 per person.
The workshop also includes admission to an audio-described performance of Dancing at Lughnasa at the Labuda Performing Arts Center on Thursday, February 19, 2015, at 8:00 p.m.
Reservations required, for more information and to reserve your spot:
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council and theLehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community invite you to join our cultural organizations, social agencies, artists with disabilities, and people of all abilities to engage each other with skills, compassion, humor and commitment:
The Lehigh Valley ARTS & ACCESS EXPO | November 10, 2014
Lehigh Valley Health Network, 2100 Mack Boulevard in Allentown
This event heralds the twenty-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act which occurs on July 26, 2015. The Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community are planning a yearlong celebration to unite the community around creating a more inclusive region and expanding access to the arts for all people.
“Let’s remove barriers and open our doors to persons with disabilities,” says Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council Executive Director. “It’s easier than you might think, and this event will give arts groups the help they need.”
Sponsors: Lehigh Valley Health Network | Just Born
|EXPO: Schedule and Details|
Allentown, PA – The Lehigh Valley Arts Council, in collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community, announce their plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act through the lens of the arts. On July 26, 2015, a year-long celebration will commence with a series of varied arts events that highlight the accessibility and inclusiveness of the region’s cultural organizations. Members of the community are welcome to help plan for this significant undertaking.
The mission is “to engage all citizens of the Lehigh Valley, intentionally securing the participation of persons of all abilities, regardless of physical, sensory, or cognitive limitation, both as audience members and/or providers in the dance, theatrical, musical, visual, literary and media arts.”
The first step is to conduct an audit of current accessibility practices in the region among two hundred cultural nonprofits and social service agencies.
The goals include the following:
According to U.S. Census data estimates from 2012, the number of non-institutionalized people with disabilities living in the Lehigh Valley is 81,000, or 12.7%, which represents a significant number of potential new audiences for the cultural community.
In addition to surveying, the planning committee is arranging for several focus groups with persons with disabilities and their caregivers, and representatives from cultural organizations. The sessions will pinpoint the needs and interests of persons with disabilities as well as the specific challenges still to be implemented by cultural entities.
This is an exciting opportunity to work together and contribute to a future that includes all of us. If you are a caretaker or an artist or person with a disability who would like to participate in a focus group, please contact the Lehigh Valley Arts Council at (610) 437-5915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is a nonprofit 501(c)3, membership-supported organization that serves as a regional advocate and ambassador for the Lehigh Valley arts community. Its mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations and the community. Through collaborative partnerships, it continues to provide access to the local arts community through education, research, professional development seminars and cooperative marketing initiatives.
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
And, they did so looking straight down.
The specially equipped van carried laser-guided sensors that recorded details of every inch of the 110 miles of city streets, 10 miles of city-owned alleyways and the 20 miles of state roads that cut through the city.
The result of the collected data is the city’s first pavement management plan.
The plan lists the city streets and ranks them by which ones most need repair and repaving.