Press Release: Disabilities advocate honored for work to make art accessible for all

Long-time Austin disabilities advocate Celia Hughes will be recognized with the 2012 Bert Kruger Smith Vision Award. Hughes is the Executive Director of VSA Texas, the state organization on arts and disability, and an affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Hughes will be honored at the 18th annual AGE Award Dinner on April 20, 2012 at The Renaissance Hotel.


“Celia is a beacon in this community,” says Joyce Lauck, executive director of AGE. “She leads by illuminating issues and raising awareness impacting people with disabilities. She is a true visionary and it is our privilege to call her a 2012 AGE Award honoree.”


Hughes discovered her passion for working with people with disabilities at an early age. As a Girl Scout, Hughes volunteered with a child with cerebral palsy. From that experience, she moved on to work at a summer camp for people with disabilities. While studying at Speech Pathology at Plattsburg State College in New York, she continued to combine her passion for working with people with disabilities and her love of the arts.


Hughes is a champion for accessibility, and actively campaigns to eliminate barriers prevent people with disabilities from engaging in the arts. She co-founded the Audio Description Coalition, an international organization dedicated to the advancement of audio description, an assistive technology for the visually impaired. At the 2010 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability conference, Hughes was a key contributor to the development of the first professional training curriculum for audio description. Hughes also produced “The Art of Audio Description,” the leading video training for audio description, and developed the training curriculum for domestic violence advocacy group SafePlace, to support and assist people with disabilities in domestic violence situations.


The 2012 AGE Awards Dinner celebrates Central Texans who make the community a better place for older adults and people with disabilities. Past honorees include The Hon. Gus Garcia, Jackie Leong, Susan Merrick, The Hon. Jake Pickle, The Austin-American Statesman, and more. The event will be at the Renaissance Austin Hotel on April 20, 2012. Photo and video opportunities are available.


AGE (Austin Groups for the Elderly) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has been serving Austin’s elderly, their families, and caregivers since 1986.  Our programs include the Austin Computer Learning Center, the Caregiver Resource Center, Elderhaven Adult Day Centers of Central Texas, HELP (Health Equipment Lending Program), New Connections, and the Historic AGE Building. Visit our website at




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