Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Center for the Performing Arts partners with KultureCity to provide a sensory-inclusive space

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Center for the Performing Arts has joined with KultureCity to make attendance at programs and events at Eisenhower Auditorium sensory-inclusive. This new initiative will promote an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory sensitivity, regardless of age or ability.

An official sensory-sensitivity inclusivity certification process ensures that the staff at Eisenhower Auditorium is trained annually using information from leading medical professionals on how to recognize a guest with sensory needs and how to help one handle a sensory overload situation.

KultureCity Sensory Bags — equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and VIP lanyards — will be available to guests of Eisenhower Auditorium who may feel overwhelmed while visiting the auditorium.

“The Center for the Performing Arts is full of energy,” Marketing Director Laura Sullivan said. “A person with sensory sensitivities often processes stimuli in a different way, so attending a live performance can be overwhelming.”

Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise, which can be a major part of the performing arts.

With its new certification, the center is better prepared to welcome guests with sensory sensitivities to Eisenhower Auditorium, and to help them have the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible.

Prior to arriving for an event in Eisenhower, families and individuals can download the free KultureCity app for Android smartphone or iPhone. The app provides information on the available sensory features and where to access them, as well as a pre-visit social story, which provides a visual preview of what to expect when attending a performance at Eisenhower Auditorium.

Items available at the Audience Services Desk in Eisenhower Auditorium lobby include a KultureCity Lap Pad and KultureCity Sensory Bags. There is a small quiet seating space in the Eisenhower Building lounge area.

“Our communities shape our lives and to know that the Center for the Performing Arts is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in community experiences is amazing,” KultureCity Executive Director Uma Srivastava said. We’re honored to partner with the center at Eisenhower Auditorium to provide a truly inclusive experience for all guests.”

KultureCity is a nonprofit organization recognized nationwide for its work to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created more than 1,000 sensory-inclusive public and private services, organizations, events, and venues in six countries, including the NFL Super Bowl and the MLB World Series.

Become a KultureCity sponsor

“Being able to be accessible to as many visitors as possible is something that’s really crucial to our mission as an arts organization,” said Lindsey Landfried, the center’s associate director of arts advancement.

Sensory inclusivity gives everyone a chance to comfortably experience the arts. Contributions made throughout the year will directly contribute to sensory-inclusive enhancements.

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