CCM at the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) Conference

Brett Taylor – Special Projects Coordinator, Office of the President

On August 21-23, Chicago Children’s Museum staff members Lynn Walsh, Sarah Gritsonis and Brett Taylor attended and presented at the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability, or LEAD conference at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.


LEAD began 13 years ago when a small group of cultural arts administrators – all of whom were responsible for accessibility at their respective cultural arts organizations – gathered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. to discuss institutional cultural arts and disability issues. Their unifying goal was the desire to create accessible cultural arts programs that were inclusive of people with disabilities and older adults.

That initial group has now grown into a professional network focused on expanding the breadth and scope of accessibility services and programming across the country and around the world.

The LEAD Network:

  • Explores practical methods for implementing accessibility in cultural environments,
  • Communicates information about arts and accessibility and
  • Shares resources and knowledge among professionals in the field of accessibility.

Our presentation explored the creation of institutional change through a cross-departmental team approach. We focused on the culture shift around access and inclusion at CCM, sharing the success we have had with the Play for All Initiative. The presentation included the history of Play For All, the formation and structure of the cross-departmental team, as well as CCM’s success and challenges. We asked participants to share their own challenges and experiences in the area of access and inclusion. Approximately 25 administrators from cultural institutions from across the country attended the session.

Each year we look forward to the opportunity to connect with and learn from our colleagues at LEAD. We’re very excited for 2014 as we welcome LEAD to Chicago!


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