While the arts and entertainment scene in the Greater Lehigh Valley has been an engine in economic prosperity, not all outlets are readily able to accommodate the needs of every patron.
One local organization sees a challenge and is driven to bring it to the forefront of the arts and culture that have been rapidly growing in our region.
The Lehigh Valley Arts Council — a nonprofit membership-supported organization in Allentown — is hosting a professional development event, "Start access now," on how to become more accessible to the vision and hearing impaired, as well as people with other disabilities.
In cooperation with the Lehigh Valley Health Network, the LV Arts Council's event will host Betty Siegel, director of VSA (Very Special Arts) and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., to lead the discussion on accessibility.
It is scheduled for 3:30-5:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Lehigh Valley Health Network's 2100 Mack Blvd. location in Allentown.
Siegel's talk will address the civil rights of people with disabilities, good customer service practices and the implications of the Americans for Disabilities Act for nonprofit organizations. An expert in ways that cultural groups can provide people with disabilities greater access to the arts, Siegel has spoken internationally on a range of topics, including accessibility as a community asset.
"We can learn from her compassionate expertise on how to become more inclusive," said Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council executive director.
Since 2011, the LV Arts Council has been working with the Center for Independent Living in Allentown; Center for Vision Loss in Allentown; VSA Pennsylvania; individuals with disabilities; and local arts groups to establish a Pennsylvania Arts Access Program. The program seeks to make the Lehigh Valley more disability-friendly and increase attendance at cultural events by providing training and shared use of audio-description and open-captioning equipment.
Preregistration is free and open to the public until Nov. 18. Registration at the door is $5.
For more information, visit www.lvartscouncil.org.
To preregister, contact LV Arts Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-437-5915.