Bender Leadership Academy announced a partnership with Pittsburgh CLO, known as ARTSESSIBILITY, a joint program aimed at teaching the performing arts to people with disabilities.

Artsessibility is every Saturday in March from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. virtually.  Contact Scott Hammerstrom at to sign up.

Through art and expression, we know that communities not only become more visible, they become part of the great tapestry of who we are as Americans.

Pittsburgh CLO has been a driving force behind the preservation, creation, and promotion of live musical theater since 1946. As one of the largest regional musical theater organizations in the country, it is fortunate for the yearly support of nearly 200,000 audience members.

Through this partnership and CLO’s New Horizons program, students with disabilities will be able to not only hone their craft as actors, musicians, and entertainers, they will also open up doors for important discussions around accessibility and more in the performing arts industry. For over 25 years, Pittsburgh CLO’s New Horizons program has been teaching performing arts to people with disabilities.

The Bender Leadership Academy is proud to be part of this historic partnership as it aligns perfectly with the Academy’s mission to empower students with disabilities as they prepare for their futures. Bender Leadership Academy Founder, Joyce Bender, said today that “we must continue to identify and seize on every opportunity to open doors for people with disabilities in the private and public sectors, including in the performing arts. Performers with disabilities have the same ambitions, goals, and hopes for their career in this industry as any other person. We should support them every step of the way in their ventures, especially as we know that when our community is seen, we are stronger.”

Students within the ARTSESSIBILITY program at the Academy will be incorporating Arts into their curriculum during their next class, which begins on March 4. Mark Fleischer, Executive Producer at Pittsburgh CLO, recently said that “this partnership is what intersectionality is all about. We must introduce all forms of expression to the disability community, which is a community that deserves and needs to be heard on stage and beyond.”