ATLANTA –- The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club is now the first team in the Southeast Division to play in a sensory-inclusive venue, today announcing KultureCity’s certification for Philips Arena following the completion of sensory awareness training by the building’s staff members. Guests with post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, dementia and other sensory needs can check out sensory bags and weighted lap pads from the guest services desk to ease their in-arena experience during Hawks games and arena shows. Bags will include items such as noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools and a feelings thermometer.
“We are sensitive to the needs of individuals experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties,” said Hawks SVP, Community and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Nzinga Shaw. “There is intentionality in every inclusion initiative that we spearhead, and we are committed to providing an enjoyable safe space for these families to partake in a fun night out at a Hawks game.”
Sensory bags will be available this week, including a special rollout on Saturday, Nov. 18 when Atlanta hosts the Boston Celtics. GRAMMY-nominated gospel group Virtue, which includes the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, will perform the national anthem prior to tipoff. Additionally, ambassadors from KultureCity will provide wristbands and collateral material at a designated location on the concourse level. KultureCity is the world’s first startup nonprofit with the mission to rethink accessibility to create acceptance and inclusion for individuals of all unique abilities.
“It is truly an honor to partner with the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena and bring our sensory inclusion initiative to the great city of Atlanta,” said Founder and CEO of KultureCity Dr. Julian Maha. “The Atlanta Hawks as an organization personify community and the importance that no fan be left out. This initiative will have a tremendous positive impact on those in the community living with sensory needs so that they too can have a truly welcoming and inclusive experience at all events at the arena.”
Philips Arena, now the first sensory-inclusive venue in Atlanta, will further enhance the in-arena experience for fans with sensory needs following the completion of a $192.5 million transformation in the 2018-19 NBA season. The fully-transformed venue will feature quiet zones, preferred entrances, and a sensory (quiet) room to ensure appropriate accommodation for guests.
For more information on KultureCity, go here.
For more information on the arena transformation, go here.