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June 21, 2016

RAD and GPAC Launch New Effort to Improve Arts and Culture Accessibility

News Releases

PITTSBURGH--The region's leading arts advocacy organization and a leading arts and culture funder today urged Allegheny County's arts and culture presenters to meet the increasing demand for accommodations by utilizing shared technology and equipment. By doing so, according to the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) and the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), Pittsburgh will continue to be a leader in making arts and culture enjoyable for all.

At an event jointly sponsored by GPAC and RAD attended by nearly 100 representatives of arts and culture organizations, GPAC and RAD underscored their joint commitment to accessibility by demonstrating a new portable assistive audio technology system available at no cost for cultural organizations in the County. The technology can: amplify sound for those with hearing loss; provide audio description for visual content for people who are blind, and provide simultaneous translation into other languages. The equipment was made possible by a $14,638 grant from RAD to GPAC earlier in June.

"Quite simply, accessibility is possibility. By making our assets accessible to all, it is then possible for everyone to enjoy a jazz concert, a dance recital, a lecture, an exhibit, a baseball game, even a web site," said Dusty Elias Kirk, RAD Board Chair. "RAD is pleased to make this grant to GPAC, and other shared resource funds to the community, as this makes possible greater participation, which in turn stretches the taxpayer's dollars."

"We're thankful to RAD for supporting the collective work by arts nonprofits like City Theatre, the Pittsburgh Opera, FISA Foundation and many other organizations across the region to make the arts more accessible to people with disabilities," said Mitch Swain, GPAC CEO. "We thank our members and partners who have been working together for the past several years to make this possible."

At the same meeting, the two organizations detailed a variety of accessibility equipment that is available to be easily shared by the arts and culture community. Information for borrowing, reserving or renting the equipment can be found on the GPAC and RAD web sites. The equipment includes:

- Portable Assisitive Listening System (two systems), hosted by GPAC and City Theatre

- Captioning Equipment, hosted by City Theatre and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

- Sensory-Friendly Performance and Event Supplies, hosted by the Children's Museum and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

- Portable Wheelchair Lift, hosted by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

- Portable Wheelcahir Ramp, hosted by Attack Theatre

Read the rest of the release (in pdf)

Dusty Elias Kirk, RAD Board Chair

Dusty Elias Kirk, RAD Board Chair, at a June 21 meeting hosted by RAD and GPAC, urges county's arts and culture presenters to meet increasing demand for accommodations by utilizing shared equipment and technology.