(RALEIGH) On Thursday, August 10, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presented 2017 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Awards at its 17th annual LEAD® conference, held this year in Austin, TX. Two members of Raleigh and Wake County’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access received Emerging Leader Awards at the ceremony – VAE Raleigh Executive Director Brandon Cordrey and Jamie Katz Court, Communications and Program Manager for PineCone – the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music.
The LEAD® Awards recognize outstanding arts administrators and institutions whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility. The LEAD® Award for Emerging Leaders was created in 2008 to acknowledge arts administrators who have become advocates for accessibility within their own organizations and communities, successfully shaping opportunities in the cultural arts that are inclusive of people with disabilities and older adults.
“The Raleigh Arts Plan’s Creative Life Vision charges that every person should be empowered to lead the creative life they envision,” said Office of Raleigh Arts Grant Director Sarah Corrin. “Over the past two years Jamie Katz Court and Brandon Cordrey have taken what they learned through the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access to create substantive new arts opportunities for people with disabilities. They are leaders both in the arts and accessibility field and in implementing Raleigh’s Creative Life Vision.”
The Arts Learning Community for Universal Access is a joint program of the City of Raleigh’s Office of Raleigh Arts and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. Now in its third year, this peer cohort program uses a collaborative skill-building approach to improve arts administrators’ abilities to successfully engage people with disabilities in the arts. The current 2017-2018 cohort includes representatives from a diverse group of 11 arts and cultural organizations (including PineCone, Visual Art Exchange, Marbles Kids Museum and others), three municipalities (Cary, Raleigh and Wake Forest), as well as the North Carolina Arts Council.
“United Arts Council is proud to support the Arts Learning Community. We're pleased that the group has taken on the important work of access to the arts, and we're excited to have leaders like Brandon and Jamie in the group," according to Ragen Carlile, Vice President of Education & Community Programs at United Arts.
Brandon Cordrey’s LEAD® Emerging Leader Award recognized his unique universal design approach and achievements regarding the intersectionality of arts and disability. Representative projects include his curation of the 2016 exhibition TACTILE, a multi-sensory show that allowed attendees to view artwork with their eyes but also through their other senses, and the 2017 show ULTRALITE, in which the exhibiting artists self-identified as having disabilities.
Jamie Katz Court was recognized with a LEAD® Emerging Leader Award for introducing Raleigh to new accommodation options that better serve people with disabilities. For the 2016 PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass festival, Katz Court instituted a sighted guide program for attendees who were blind or low vision. The program is expanding to include a partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for its Bugfest event in 2017. Katz Court is also implementing a new portable assistive listening system this year for PineCone concerts held outdoors and at non-traditional venues – a service not offered by any other arts and cultural organization in the area.
ABOUT THE CITY OF RALEIGH’S OFFICE OF RALEIGH ARTS
The Office of Raleigh Arts supports and promotes the arts in Raleigh by administering the programs of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and the City’s Public Art and Design Board and supporting the Pullen and Sertoma arts centers. The Office of Raleigh Arts is part of the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.
ABOUT THE UNITED ARTS COUNCIL OF RALEIGH & WAKE COUNTY
The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, based in Raleigh, NC, was incorporated in 1990. Its mission is to build better communities through the support and advocacy of the arts. For the 2016/17 school year United Arts helped bring in teaching artists to 142 schools in Wake County through its Artists in Schools program. The United Arts Council also offers grants to organizations, communities and individual artists and provides services to the community such as advocacy, resource development, professional/leadership development and special projects.