Raleigh arts administrators received the 2017 LEAD Award recognizing outstanding arts administrators and institutions whose leadership and work furthers the field of accessibility. 

A pair of Raleigh arts administrators were honored at the 17th annual Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Awards (LEAD) in Austin. 

Two of the four Emerging Leader Awardees, presented by the John F. Kennedy Center Performing Arts Center, included Brandon Cordrey, executive director of VAE Raleigh, and Jamie Katz Court, communications and programs manager of PinceCone – Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. Other winners were fromWisconsin and Missouri.  

Notable projects spearheaded by Cordrey and Katz Court at their respectable organizations are “TACTILE” at VAE Raleigh and the recent acquisition of an assistive listening system for PinceCone’s outdoor concerts, with guidance from the Wake County chapter of the Hearing Loss Association. The pair presented at the 2016 LEAD conference in Pittsburgh and this year took home an award themselves. 

Cordrey began working with VAE as the Director of Exhibitions in 2013, when he also became the organization’s accessibility coordinator. Through his work with VAE, Cordrey has created programming that highlights the creativity of people with disabilities, made all of the organization’s 70+ annual programs more accessible, formed an access task force and created contract positions that employ people with disabilities as community leaders.

VAE has also given project seed grant funding directly to artists who identify as living with a disability, created multi-sensory exhibitions that engage more people with disabilities and increased the number of accessibility accommodations provided. He also focuses on accessibility opportunities in the organization’s annual multi-disciplinary creativity festival, SPARKcon, adding a position for an accessibility coordinator, festival accessibility guide, and an accessibility page to the festival’s website.

Court moved to North Carolina in 2004 from Portage, Michigan. Court is responsible for coordinating the logistical aspects of PineCone programs, education, marketing and communications, including writing the monthly Traditional Review newsletter for PineCone members and maintaining PineCone’s website.

The pair will present “Accessibility at Festivals” this fall during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass business conference. Also featured in the event is bluegrass musician, Tyler Williamswho also identifies as blind and has cerebral palsy.

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