I think I have the best job in the world. I’m Louise Thomas-Vails, and I’ve been at the Hult Center since 1985. I was hired as an usher that year, as a child, obviously. As I grew into adulthood, I became a Head Usher and the Manager of the Bijou Art Cinemas in the mid-90s for a couple of decades. Currently, I lead the Hult Center Front of House Team. They are the Ushers and Arts Ambassadors who not only welcome patrons but also remove barriers to access so people can attend performances with minimal anxiety when faced with challenges. The pinnacle moments for me are when patrons connect with the tools services and information that dismantle barriers to experiencing smooth magic at the Hult.
One of those tools are KultureCity Sensory Bags.
“I am very excited that we have a local venue that is welcoming to all people and provides a wide variety of shows and entertainment which are of interest to many different development levels. Additionally, the Hult Center offers tools which allow individuals to successfully participate and enjoy the shows.”
–Teacher Shelley, Philomath School District
The latest US Census data shows that one in four people have a sensory need or an invisible disability such as autism, dementia, PTSD, ADHD, or hearing or vision loss. People with invisible disabilities (ID) tend to react differently and get overwhelmed more easily than neurotypical individuals due to various sensory sensitivities.
KultureCity Sensory bags are designed to help with sensory needs in both adults and children and are filled with items that can help lessen sensory overload. They include fidget items, noise canceling headphones and Feeling Zone thermometers, (a tool that provides individuals an additional means of communication). We also have light blocking glasses and lap pads. These tools, along with training in how to approach individuals with invisible disabilities, can make a vital difference at crucial times.
“These are fantastic tools for any parent. The fact that my daughter is on the spectrum makes it where being able to attend functions is practically impossible. This tool helped me be able to attend my son’s graduation. Thank you so much for you and your staff, they were understanding and attentive to my family’s special needs.” –Anthony Liner
As a licensed sensory-inclusive venue, The Hult Center has partnered with KultureCity so that our Team is annually certified, and the building is equipped with special tools to provide the best service possible. Sensory Bags are available to check out free of charge at the Coat Room. Quiet Areas, (spaces to decompress during events) are designated under the Soreng Stairs and in the Lower Level.
Offering a safe and comfortable environment for all to access the magic of live performance is our top priority. We are beyond thrilled to partner with KultureCity to ensure we are inclusive and welcoming to all in our community. (I hear they are thrilled to partner with us too.)