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New Effort to Improve Accessibility in Pittsburgh’s Arts Organizations

For nearly a decade, FISA Foundation has been proud to promote, support, and lead efforts to improve accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in Pittsburgh’s vibrant arts and culture scene. This movement has grown and evolved over the years, and it is now common for local theaters, museums and performing arts companies to offer a range of accommodations such as assisted listening, sign language interpretation, Braille and large print programs, docent led tours for those who are blind or who have memory loss, captioning, audio description, curb to seat service, and exhibits designed to accommodate people with a range of disabilities.
We applaud our partners at the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) for their ongoing leadership across our community to make the arts accessible to all and for launching a new effort to meet the growing demand for accommodations. RAD recently provided a grant to GPAC for new portable, shared technology and equipment that can be used at no cost by any cultural organization in the county. This equipment provides audio description for visual content for people who are blind, assistive audio technology for those with hearing loss, as well as providing simultaneous translation into other languages. This equipment will replace outdated assistive technology and will allow cultural organizations without dedicated assistive technology in their space, in the venues they rent, or in non-traditional spaces, to be able to provide accommodations.
Pittsburgh has demonstrated how a coordinated, community-wide effort by cultural organizations can welcome people with disabilities into the arts community and is now considered a national model. In recognition of this leadership, Pittsburgh will host the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference, the foremost gathering of its kind, in downtown Pittsburgh in August. For more information, visit

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