LEAD Scholarship Grant


The North Carolina Arts Council’s LEAD Scholarship Grant provides professional development for arts administrators who are new to the field of arts accessibility and who are proactively developing inclusive arts programs and experiences for artists and audiences with disabilities in their communities.

Scholarship funds support recipients to attend the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference (LEAD) where they will engage in conversations with colleagues and experts from around the world; learn practical methods for designing inclusive arts experiences and environments; and develop best practices and resources. The 2024 conference will take place July 29-August 3, in Seattle, Washington. For more information about LEAD, please visit the conference website.

Application dates

  • Due: Wednesday, May 1, 2024
  • Award notification: Friday, May 31, 2024

Program provides funding for

  • A $3,500 Technical Assistance grant to support conference registration fees and per diem travel and accommodations to attend the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ 2024 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities Conference (LEAD) in Seattle, Washington.
  • Participation in a statewide arts accessibility learning cohort hosted by the North Carolina Arts Council in collaboration with Arts Access.

Who may apply

To be eligible for a LEAD Scholarship Grant, applicants must meet the N.C. Arts Council’s general eligibility criteria:

  1. Must be a nonprofit organization in good standing with the state of North Carolina (or an organization that has applied for non-profit status using a fiscal agent);
  2. Must have been producing quality arts programs for at least two consecutive years:
  3. Must have prior-year organizational cash operating expenses of at least $20,000.

Participation requirements

Each funded organization will select one arts administrator to participate in the program. This participant will represent the host organization for the entirety of the program. Participants will agree to the following:

  • Attend the in-person Kennedy Center for Performing Arts’ LEAD Conference in Seattle, Washington scheduled for July 29-August 3, 2024. 
  • Participate in a statewide arts accessibility learning cohort hosted by the North Carolina Arts Council in collaboration with Arts Access. Cohort workshops and meetings will take place virtually throughout the Fall of 2024. 
  • Share successful strategies for developing inclusive programming and organizational initiatives with peers in the field.
  • Utilize any remaining grant funds which are not used to cover conference registration fees and travel costs toward the participant’s administrative time participating in the cohort or on implementing accessibility-related activities.  
  • Spend all grant funds by December 31, 2024, with a final report due on January 31, 2025.

Project period

This grant runs on a shortened project period from June 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024.  

How we make funding decisions

Review process and criteria

Recommendations for funding are based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated interest in developing inclusive arts experiences for audiences with disabilities. While applicants may be new to their work in accessibility, they must illustrate what steps they are currently taking to integrate inclusive practices within their organization (i.e. serve as an accessibility coordinator, have made a concerted effort to reach out to artists with disabilities within their community, and/or develop inclusive programs for audiences with disabilities).
  • A vision for how the professional development and resources received through the program will integrate accessibility within their organization.

In addition to the review criteria listed above, priority is given to arts organizations based in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. Priority is also given to arts organizations that have not received a prior LEAD Scholarship Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. To ensure the statewide accessibility learning cohort is reflective of the arts sector of North Carolina, Arts Council staff will take into consideration the applicants’ arts genre, geographic, racial, cultural, and organizational diversity.

Application information

Submit your application through the GO Smart grant portal.

Applicants will be asked to provide the following information. Contact Music & Dance Director and Accessibility Coordinator Jamie Katz Court and for questions or application assistance.

Profile questions

In addition to contact information, you will be asked to submit your organization’s mission statement, an organizational history, and both an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number.

Application narrative

  1. Who from your organization will participate in the LEAD Scholarship Program? 
    • Please provide name, title, contact email and phone number. 
    • What are their responsibilities within the organization?
    • Does the primary participant have any prior experience in arts accessibility?
  2. Describe the types of accessibility services, programs, and initiatives currently offered by your organization.
  3. Describe how the professional development and resources received through the program will further integrate accessibility throughout the work of your organization.
  4. How will participation in the LEAD Scholarship Program benefit the primary participant’s individual professional development and responsibilities within the organization?

Staff contact

Jamie Katz Court
Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator
(919) 814-6502

Grant Application Assistance

North Carolina Arts Council staff are here to assist with grant applications. Visit our application assistance page for resources and grants staff contact information. 


For accessibility questions or accommodation requests, please contact the North Carolina Arts Council's Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator, Jamie Katz Court, at jamie.katzcourt@dncr.nc.gov or 919-814-6502.