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.


Monthly Lunch & Learn ACcess Talks

Wednesday • November 17th • 12-1 pm Zoom

Reserve your spot:

Guest speaker, Dr. Andy Pestcoe, President of the Lehigh Valley Chapter – Canine Companions

Is your organization service dog friendly? How do you interact with individuals with service dogs?

Canine Companions is leading the service dog industry so that their clients can live with greater independence. Learn how your organization can welcome these individuals and their companions.

Dr. Andrew Pestcoe is an ENT physician serving the Lehigh Valley for the past 30 years. Since 2015, Dr. Pestcoe has been involved as a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions, a national nonprofit organization which has provided highly trained service dogs to children, adults and veterans with handicaps or disabilities. Since 1975, Canine Companions has placed over 7,000 service dogs ,completely free of charge, to those in need. Dr. Pestcoe now serves as the President of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of Canine Companions, and he and his wife, Flora, are anxiously waiting for their 4th puppy to start the training process.

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.

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.

November 2021
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12
  • Dancing Through Parkinson’s
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4

Arts & Access Events: Blind & Low Vision

0 event dates found