John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Recognizes PineCone's Jamie Katz Court with Award

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Brandon Cordrey of VAE Raleigh and Jamie Katz Court of PineCone stand side by side holding award plaques; playground equipment is visible in the background.Recently, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ 17th Annual Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference announced and awarded Brandon Cordrey, Executive Director of VAE Raleigh, and Jamie Katz Court, Communications and Programs Manager of PineCone - Piedmont Council of Traditional Music with The LEAD® Award. (Photo credit: Sarah Hitchcock Burzio)

As stated by The Kennedy Center, “the award recognizes outstanding arts administrators and institutions whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility.” Since 2008 the award has helped further advancements and commitments to advocating for accessibility within arts organizations and communities. This is the first year in which the award was received by Raleigh arts administrators. 

Notable accessible projects that were spearheaded by Cordrey and Katz Court at their respectable organizations include TACTILE at VAE Raleigh and PineCone's recent acquisition of an assistive listening system for their outdoor concerts, with guidance and assistance from the Wake County chapter of the Hearing Loss Association. The pair presented at the 2016 LEAD conference in Pittsburgh alongside Brittany Pyle from the Chicago Humanities Festival.

This year, PineCone is also partnering with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to provide sighted guides at both BugFest (Sept. 16) and PNC presents Wide Open Bluegrass (Sept. 29 & 30) - two trainings will be hosted at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Aug. 27 and Thursday, Aug. 31. Register for sighted guide training today

Courtney Wheeler and Jamie Katz Court stand side by side in front of a decorated wall at The Thinkery with the LEAD award plaque.Katz Court has worked closely with PineCone's Courtney Wheeler on the sighted guide program and other Wide Open Bluegrass and PineCone accessibility initiatives. Wheeler has attended the LEAD conference the past two years as part of the Learning Community for Universal Access. Accessibilty isn't the responsibility of a single person, but of everyone involved in the organization, and PineCone is proud of our commitment to accessibility for all, and all staff members are committed to continuing to work to make our programs accessible for any interested community members who want to participate.  

Two other honorees this year included Dawn Koceja, Accessibility Coordinator, Milwaukee Public Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Nicole Smith, Membership and Data Coordinator, Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Future opportunities to learn about considerations and best practices for including patrons and artists with disabilities in arts programming include a presentation on "Accessibility at Festivals," which will be presented by Cordrey and Katz Courts this fall during IBMA's World of Bluegrass business conference alongside bluegrass musician, Tyler Williams, who also identifies as blind and has cerebral palsy; Williams will perform during the conference.

Learn more about accessibility at PineCone events

Learn more about the Kennedy Center's Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference