Award Winners

Jul 24, 2010

Below is a list of producing and presenting arts organizations that are recipients of an award that recognizes excellence in inclusion and accessibility. Browse this document to learn the elements of successful diversity initiatives.

Awarding organizations are Association of Arts Presenters, and National MultiCultural Institute. Please notify Diana Hossack of other diversity awards programs.

American Musical Theatre of San Jose
Arena State
  Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities
Citi Performing Arts Center

David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
Houston Grand Opera
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The Kentucky Center
Mixed Blood Theatre Company
Museum of Contemporary Art
OPERA America
  Paper Mill Playhouse
Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts

Pillsbury House Theatre

Quest: Arts for Everyone
Science Museum of Museum
Shooting Back
  University of Florida Performing Arts

Victory Gardens Theatre
Wheelock Family Theatre

The Wooden Floor


Association for Performing Arts Presenters
Expanding Access to the Arts

Arts Presenters recognizes performing arts organizations that have demonstrated innovation, leadership, and a commitment to accessibility in the arts. The awards program provides an opportunity to identify strategies, tools, and resources that performing arts presenters have developed to increase access to the arts for people in underserved communities, whether they are rural, inner-city, communities in transition or new communities. It broadens the scope of access initiatives to differentiate how organizations effectively respond to the changing demographics of this country and engage underserved populations in all aspects of programming.

Click on link below, use bookmark in left margin to find corresponding organization.

American Musical Theatre of San Jose

As part of its strategic planning process, MTSJ developed a concise accessibility policy, maintains up-to-date information on how accessibility laws impact each department, establishes collaborations for building audiences for performances,


Arvada Center For The Arts And Humanities

The Arvada Center's commitment to accessibility starts with its mission, "We Open Worlds to You," and flows through its core objectives—being a leader in diverse and accessible programming, and serving as a regional and national model for excellence in the arts.

Citi Performing Arts Center

The Citi Performing Arts Center is known nationally as a true community arts center whose doors are open to all. With the belief that arts make and keep us a civilized nation, the Citi Performing Arts Center proudly looks forward to a bright future with the mission of presenting the finest performing artists and cultural attractions from around the world.

David A. Straz, Jr., Center for the Performing Arts

The Center is committed to exceeding baseline accessibility requirements – making access and openness a core value of their every action. Rather than merely lowering the barriers that can block participation by many audiences, they worked to extend an enthusiastic invitation and prepare their programs to be welcoming.

Flynn Center For The Performing Arts

Since 1996, the Flynn has had an Access Transition Plan named with the belief that one is never "done" with accessibility; one is always in "transition."

John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts

The Kennedy Center has demonstrated a commitment to all people through its strategies, accessibility policy, institutional culture and goals. The goal of its arts access program is to be reflective of the diversity in the community and inclusive of all people with disabilities including audience members, employees, interns, volunteers, performers and artistic staff.

The Kentucky Center For The Performing Arts

The Center's commitment to accessibility is tied to two of the core values of the Kentucky Center: "We believe all people have the ability to express themselves through the arts." and, "All people should have access to quality art experiences."

Mixed Blood Theatre Company

Engaging people with diverse disabilities on stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience has fostered a deeper relationship and level of trust with various communities. The administrative and artistic staff have also learned much more about how to collaborate with and accommodate diverse individuals as a result of "walking the walk."

Museum Of Contemporary Art

In addition to its mission statement that references engaging a "broad and diverse audience," the MCA's performance department strives to integrate performance programs featuring artists with disabilities into its season. Artists with disabilities present regular training and orientation workshops to museum staff from facilities engineering, education and visitor services departments.

Paper Mill Playhouse

As the first theatre in the country to schedule open-captioned performances, Paper Mill is a leader in access and inclusion. Paper Mill believes accessibility has to be part of your mission, outlook, and purpose. 

Quest: Arts for Everyone

While born as a platform for deaf and hard of hearing actors to express and explore their craft, QuestFest has evolved into a powerful advocate for theater beyond words.

University of Florida Performing Arts

A partnership between University of Florida Performing Arts and Shands Arts in Medicine, AIM Together brings world-class performing artists into healthcare settings to provide performances and interactive arts experiences to people whose access to the arts is limited by age, illness, or disability.

Victory Gardens Theater

A key program of Victory Gardens Theater is the access project, which encompasses all of the theater's services for people with disabilities. This project's overarching goal is to create a truly barrier-free theatrical experience.

Wheelock Family Theatre

Wheelock Family Theatre creates intergenerational and multicultural productions that provide a shared experience for the whole family. The theatre celebrates the diverse range of families found in the world today and seeks to unite them in the shared experience of live theatre.

The Wooden Floor

With a specific focus on low-income youth, The Wooden Floor teaches life skills through dance, including self-awareness, confidence, leadership, cooperative learning, and discipline.

National MultiCultural Institute
 Leading Lights Awards

The Leading Lights Diversity Awards celebrate exemplary leaders in the nonprofit sector whose demonstrated courage, innovation, and commitment to diversity light a path to a more inclusive society. Annually, awards are presented to organizations that serve as role models for enhancing diversity and encouraging respect and inclusion within their organizations and with the diverse communities they serve. The next deadline is September 30, 2010. E-mail a request for an application to

Previous Arts and Culture Recipients include:

Arena Stage, Community Engagement Project

for providing outstanding creative and innovative programs in the arts to a very diverse community in Washington, DC, and for its commitment to fostering talent and opportunity among audiences of all ages and abilities.

Corcoran School of Art - Visual Arts Community Outreach Program (VACOP)

for promoting the creative and social development of young people in Washington, D.C.’s diverse communities through innovative art programs in schools and community centers.

Houston Grand Opera   

for Song of Houston, a ground-breaking new works series, which uses voice, music, dance, art, and stories from diverse communities to highlight the power of the arts in bridging cultures.

OPERA America

for its visionary leadership in creating Diverse Voices, a national dialogue for the opera community to promote and value diversity in the performing arts and encourage outreach to culturally diverse communities.

Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts

for its dedication to supporting and engaging the creative gifts of children and youth who share vulnerable life circumstances in culturally diverse communities of Washington, DC, through instruction in the visual and performing arts.

Pillsbury House Theatre’s Breaking Ice Program

for its inspirational achievements in promoting diversity and inclusion to affect social change through the performing arts.

Science Museum of Minnesota   

for its innovative leadership in engaging underserved populations in science, technology, and engineering.

Shooting Back and Jim Hubbard  

for an innovative photography project for inner city schools.