North Park. © Julie Goetz/RAD

Regional Assets are for Everyone

RAD's initiative Regional Assets Are for Everyone highlights the efforts assets are making to include everyone in their activities and encourages the assets to make additional accommodations.

For many years, RAD has provided capital grants to fund accessibility projects to improve physical access at the regional assets, such as elevators, ramps, automated entrance doors, restrooms, and playgrounds.

As part of its grant application, the District requires that assets have a designated "accessibility coordinator"; requires that assets publicize their accessibility information; and requires assets with non-accessible venues to develop plans for improvement. The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council  (a RAD-funded asset) and FISA Foundation have partnered to create a regional initiative to increase access to the arts for people with disabilities. Please visit the GPAC web site for extensive resources, including workshops, funding, local disability service providers and community organizations.

In addition, RAD also has created a Special Projects category of funding, incorporating both Connections Grants and Accessibility and Inclusion Grants. Information about eligibility and other requirements is available on our Apply for Funding and Forms pages.  Since 2009, RAD has provided $1.84 million in Special Project grants. A total of $750,000 is available for 2016; applications are accepted on an on-going basis.

In just the last year, many assets have made improvements to physical spaces to enhance accessibility, and launched efforts to make programming accessible and inclusive (ticketing, web site, audio or video description, assistive listening, devices, programming for people with cognitive disabilities, etc.).

RAD Special Projects - Accessibility grants in 2015 included:

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Main) installed a new ADA compliant platform lift at the main exterior entrance to the Lecture Hall, a new graded concrete pathway, automatic door openers, as well as adding new ramps to the stage.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust purchased a portable wheelchair lift that provides stage access to artists with disabilities and mobility issues during performances that occur in non-traditional spaces and outdoor venues. The life is available for rental by other arts and culture organizations.

RAD Special Projects - Accessibility grants approved for 2016 so far are:

Pittsburgh Public Theater - to upgrade the Public's assistive listening system and introduce I-caption and D-scriptive functionality, expanding the Public's ability to make assistive listening, captioning and audio description available at all of its performances.

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council - to purchase two portable assistive audio technology systems for shared use by any cultural organization in the County. One will be kept at GPAC's office and the other at City Theatre. Training will be provided at no cost.

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium - for interactive components and tactile signs along with sensory items for the new exhibit, Jungle Trails, scheduled to open in the summer of 2016.

Audubon Society of Western PA - to create a new road to, and a handicapped parking area in, the lower level of Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve main campus.

At a recent meeting hosted by RAD and GPAC, a new effort was announced to urge the County's arts and culture presenteres to meet the increasing demand for accommodations by utilizing shared technology and equipment. The RAD-funded equipment listed above, plus several others, are available to be reserved (or rental information is provided) at the GPAC web site, which also has many other resource links for improving accessibility.

Please visit this page again for updates on the work assets are doing to accommodate and to increase participation by people with physical and cognitive disabilities, because Regional Assets Are for Everyone.  


The RAD offices and board meeting locations are fully accessible and open to the public. The Accessibility Coordinator for RAD is Julie Goetz, Communications Manager, who can be reached at (412) 227-1900 ext. 14, or