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Betty Siegal

Transition and the Arts: Tapping into Creative Opportunities
Betty Siegal, JFK Center for Performing Arts


Artistic career endeavors might not be the most realistic dream for a youth with a disability. Performing arts are at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the arts business world. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world leader in providing opportunities for young adults with disabilities. In an attempt to challenge industry leaders the Experiential Education Initiative (EEI) program was launched to develop inclusive opportunities in the arts. A young man with a disability discusses his experiences with the director of accessibility at the JFK Center for Performing Arts.

Ms. Siegel has specialized in arts and disability issues for over twenty five years. Starting in 1984 she coordinated programs for people with disabilities at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. In 1992, she married and moved to Austin, TX where she co-founded and directed Access Arts Austin focusing on a city-wide effort to make the cultural arts community accessible to people with disabilities; served on the Texas Commission for the Arts Access Advisory Board; certified as a sign language interpreter; and trained as an arts mediator. In 1999, Ms. Siegel returned to Washington D.C. and is currently Director of Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.