Arts & Access Always

For more information, contact Jacqui Schwartz, Arts & Access Always Program Administrator.

Arts & Access Always

The Lehigh Valley has a rich and diverse arts culture, but too often those experiences are closed to people with disabilities, the fastest-growing minority in the region. The Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Arts & Access Always program seeks to benefit the more than 86,000 people with disabilities by providing them greater access to a wider array of cultural experiences. The program is also designed to strengthen the capacity of cultural nonprofits to serve this community by providing marketing support, training and specialized equipment, and incentive grants that actively engage persons with disabilities in the arts.

To engage all citizens in the Lehigh Valley, intentionally securing the participation of all abilities, regardless of physical, sensory, or cognitive limitation, both as audience members and/or providers in the dance, theatrical, musical, visual, literary, or media arts.


complimentary Lunch & Learn ACcess Talks

Wednesday • January 19th • 12-1 pm Zoom
Reserve your spot here

Guest speaker, Alexa Heinrich

Is your web site and social media accessible?

• General Info on Disability and Accessibility
• Assistive Technology and Devices
• The Impact of Accessibility
• How to Be Accessible With Copywriting
• How to Be Accessible With Images
• How to Be Accessible With Videos
• Testing Your Content for Accessibility

Alexa Heinrich is the Social Media Manager for St. Petersburg College (SPC) in Central Florida and the creator of the wildly popular online account, Social Media Tea. She is a passionate advocate for creating accessible and inclusive content for social media and has presented educational webinars on the subject to several different organizations including Harvard University, John Deere, GoFundMe, MIT, and the Great Lakes ADA Center. Alexa was the 2020 recipient of Sprout Social’s “Always On” Award and was also named Marketer of the Year in 2021 by the Higher Education Social Media community.

Audio description Workshop with nicole sardella

LUAG Main Galleries at Zoellner Arts Center
Saturday • January 29th • 1-5 pm
$25 Members • $30 Non Members
Reserve your spot here

Audio Description assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements of museum exhibits and stage productions through narration provided by trained describers. Learn more about past trainings here.

Nicole Sardella, an audio describer located in Philadelphia, will train participants in the basics of visual art audio description. The training will take place in person at the LUAG Main Galleries at Zoellner Arts Center. Workshop attendees are given the opportunity to practice what they have learned by guiding guest patrons from the Sights for Hope through the gallery space.

Workshop is limited to 12 participants • The RSVP deadline is January 28, 2022.

People with Disabilities Belong

DFC’s Affirmation of Belonging
The Disability Friendly Community of the Lehigh Valley has launched a yearlong awareness campaign, People With Disabilities Belong, to mark the 
30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Belonging is important because it indicates equal participation. On July 26, 2020,
persons with disabilities also celebrate their coming of age politically. They are empowered by thirty years of experiencing the following:
          ·  Challenging the parameters of the law
          ·  Gaining perspective on how far they have come and where they need to go
          ·  Building relationships, speaking out and making their voices heard.
Please show your support for people with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act by signing the Affirmation of Belonging pledge.






Accessibility in your organization

Are you interested in having us present to your board or organization about access to the arts and the options you have for embracing accessibility? Set up a meeting by contacting our Program Administrator, Elise.

Schedule a meeting


Champions of inclusion 2020

in partnership with pbs-39

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council and PBS Channel 39 are pleased to announce Champions of Inclusion, a documentary highlighting the state of cultural access in the region and the champions who have provided hope and progress in changing people’s lives. Click below to explore the project and watch the full documentary online.

More Information on Champions

Professional Development: AD Trainings

AD Training in 2017

Audio Description (AD) assists patrons who are blind/low-vision to access the visual elements of museum exhibits and stage productions through narration provided by trained describers.

Two workshops are available through the Lehigh Valley Arts Council: AD for the Performing Arts and AD for the Visual Arts. Professional development training in audio description can be beneficial to college students, educators, and arts administrators.

Audio Description Training and Information

Incentive Grants for Greater inclusion

a group of young adults with autism sit at a long table covered in a plastic tablecloth. Each student focuses on painting a piece of paper on the table in front of them.

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is offering three types of Incentive Grants for Greater Inclusion to arts nonprofits to encourage them to adopt cultural access as a core value.


View Incentive Grant Opportunities 


Promote Your Disability-Friendly Event

Unite with us to expand your reach and increase access for all

Now is the time to embrace the value of the arts as a catalyst for change. By becoming more accessible, the cultural community reaps the benefits of new partnerships, new audiences, and a new relevance to the community we serve.

To have your accessible event included in our online Arts & Access Always calendar, please complete one of these forms:

Online Submission Form

The Arts Council reserves the right to only include event submissions that are in line with the mission of Arts & Access Always.

Disability-Friendly events

Browse this calendar for accessible performances, film screenings, exhibitions, lectures, and public meetings scheduled in the Lehigh Valley. You will also find events that feature the stories of individuals living with a disability. The accommodations you require or the topic of interest are represented by the icons.

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Upcoming Arts & Access Events

3 event dates found
    Feb 19
    Our Town
    Main Stage
    Presented by Act 1 DeSales University

    Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play depicts small town life in fictional Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire. Filled with humor and poignancy, the play centers on the story of young Emily Gibbs and George Webb who grow up together, fall in love, and get married. When their story takes an unexpected turn, it leads us to the realization that there is more to life than meets the eye. Recommended for Ages 10+. $13.50

    More Info
    Audio Description
    Open Captioning
    Apr 09
    Alice in Wonderland
    Schubert Theatre
    Presented by Act 1 DeSales University

    The talented senior class will take you through the looking glass in one of the best loved children’s plays of all time. Join Alice as she travels through the magical—and often odd—world of Wonderland, where she encounters a host of colorful characters including the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and the Cheshire Cat. Audiences of all ages will enjoy Alice’s hilarious adventures, and will be left wondering whether or not the journey was reality—or just a dream. $6

    More Info
    American Sign Language
    Audio Description
    May 07
    The Sound of Music
    Main Theatre
    Presented by Act 1 DeSales University

    The hills are alive! Join Maria and the Von Trapp family in this heartwarming family musical overflowing with such beloved songs as “My Favorite Things”, “Edelweiss”, and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” This masterpiece of the American musical theatre tells the inspiring story of the discovery of love – and a daring bid for freedom. Celebrate our season finale with this Act 1 premiere! Recommended for Ages 6+. $17.50

    More Info
    Audio Description
    Open Captioning