Josh Blue, the celebrated comedian who uses his own affliction with cerebral palsy as part of his routine, will perform in Easton at 7 p.m. June 14 at Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. The event is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, in cooperation with the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette, to celebrate LVAC’s yearlong Arts & Access program, a call for Valley arts organizations to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities.
Blue was the grand prize winner at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival, has appeared on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and is a favorite on the college comedy circuit. He is known for his ability to improvise and encourage his audience to overcome preconceived notions about people who are labeled as “disabled.”
A recent L.V. Research Consortium survey revealed that more than 13 percent of the Valley’s population has a disability and that this population grows by about three percent per year.
“Josh Blue is the ideal ambassador for greater inclusion of the disabled,” says LVAC Executive Director Randall Forte. “We are overwhelmed at the success of the first year of Arts & Access, particularly with the enthusiasm of our participating arts organizations.”
Since June 14 is also Flag Day, the program has been tagged “Red, White and Blue.” Invitations are in the mail to Arts Council members and the clients of Lehigh Valley non-profit agencies serving clients with challenges such as blindness, deafness, autism and other disabilities. A limited number of tickets will also be available to the public, particularly for individuals with disabilities, by calling LVAC at 610-437-5915.
The event marks the culmination of the Arts Council’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The LVAC program was a response to a request by the L.V. Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community to encourage local arts organizations to reconsider how their offerings can better serve disabled individuals.
For example, the Josh Blue event will be interpreted by an American Sign Language practitioner, will be audio-described, and the hand-out program will be available in Braille and large print versions. LVAC offers arts groups assistance and lends the special equipment needed for audio description.
As a result of Arts & Access, 30 cultural organizations have teamed with social service agencies over the past year to provide greater accommodation at more than 50 disability-friendly events, including sensory-friendly performances for children with autism, movement classes for Parkinson’s patients, audio-described and open-captioned theatrical performances, lectures, exhibitions, poetry readings, film screenings, and public meetings. LVAC reports that as a result of Arts & Access 2015-16, 589 people with disabilities attended those events, accompanied by 705 family members and friends.
For supporting documents and materials, please click here: http://www.lvartscouncil.org/red-white-and-blue/