For the last few months, we have been posting blogs and sending emails in anticipation of the The Kennedy Center's Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Conference being hosted in downtown Raleigh from Aug. 1-5, 2022.

Many local hospitality stakeholders and partners have been involved in the preparation and planning for LEAD®. You can read these previous Tourism Talk blog posts to learn about that work and the conference itself.

Raleigh Arts is the local organization host for the event, and that City of Raleigh service unit has been working with the 2019 Piedmont Laureate David Menconi as well to publish "Disability, the Arts and Raleigh: Inclusive by Design,a blog series about Raleigh's preparations for the LEAD® Conference and about local partners who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the area of accessibility and the arts, some for decades.

You can read some of the blog series below.

RCC Rolling Out Much More than a Welcome Mat for LEAD®
The Raleigh Convention Center will take on a leading role when The Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD®) Conference comes to town Aug. 1-5, serving as headquarters and primary venue throughout the event. That is entirely appropriate because the convention center has long played an active role in integrating accessibility into venue events, with a stature that goes well beyond the Raleigh city limits. READ MORE

Wake County Accessibility Leaders: Sina Bahram

If you’re planning something, whether it’s putting on an arts event or constructing a space where one might happen, you’ll want to consider issues of accessibility through the lens of inclusive design. And Sina Bahram is here to tell you that, chances are, you’re not thinking about that as soon as you should be. Bahram is president and founder of Cary-based Prime Access Consulting, a firm that has spent the past 15 years helping arts facilities and organizations all over the world make themselves more accessible and inclusive. READ MORE

Wake County Accessibility Leaders: Betsy Ludwig
Betsy Ludwig, the former executive director of Arts Access, is winning the 2021 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts LEAD® Community Asset Award. Ludwig has indeed been a priceless community asset for a long time in Raleigh and beyond, especially during the 12 years she spent running Arts Access before retiring at the end of last year to work as a disability consultant.

“We created the Community Asset Award about 12 years ago, for the people who bring a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge to their communities by improving accessibility for people with disabilities,” says Betty R. Siegel, The Kennedy Center’s director of accessibility. “That embodies what Betsy stands for and what she does. Her body of work is comprehensive, addressing all genres and all people with disabilities with passion and empathy. She has made a huge difference.”  READ MORE


Header photo by Rob Laughter