Spectra Receives KultureCity Sensory Inclusion Certification for the Iowa Events Center

Wednesday | Oct. 6, 2021

October 6, 2021 (Des Moines, IA) - Spectra, operators of the Iowa Events Center, announced today that the Iowa Events Center complex, comprised of Hy-Vee Hall, Community Choice Convention Center and Wells Fargo Arena, is officially certified as a sensory inclusive venue through KultureCity. The facility joins many professional stadiums, arenas, convention centers and fellow Spectra properties in the effort to bring live and inclusive events to all. 


KultureCity is the nation’s leading non-profit on sensory accessibility and acceptance for those with invisible disabilities. Sensory needs are a common medical condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. One in six individuals has a sensory need or an invisible disability. Some of those invisible disabilities could be adults or children with autism, PTSD, dementia, and stroke, just to name a few. While many enjoy the loud music and flashy lights of a concert, the cheering fans at sporting events, or even a full crowd of people singing to their favorite songs at the top of their lungs, that can be overwhelming to some with these invisible disabilities. 


The certification process through KultureCity involved identifying quiet areas and headphone zones through the facility, taking photos for our social story on the KultureCity app, and staff members successfully completing training from leading medical professionals. The training completed by our staff members as well as staff from the Iowa Wild, Iowa Wolves, and Iowa Barnstormers taught how to recognize guests with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Our facility is now stocked with sensory bags that include noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards which can be found at either our administration office or guest services office. 


“Spectra’s goal, along with our partners at Polk County, has always been to continue to find ways to make all guests feel welcome and comfortable in our facility,” said Spectra’s Haleigh Biancalana, Director of Events for the Iowa Events Center. “By partnering with KultureCity and Please Pass the Love we are able to provide resources for those guests with sensory sensitivities.”


Prior to attending an event, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. Also on the app is the Social Story which will provide a preview of what to expect while enjoying an event.


“Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that the Iowa Event Center is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing. We’re honored to partner with them to provide a truly inclusive experience for all fans and guests!” said Uma Srivastava, Executive Director for KultureCity. 



KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 700 sensory-inclusive venues in 4 countries: this includes special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB World Series, and MLB All Star Weekend. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts, including the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017 and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, KultureCity was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 and 2020 by FastCompany and recently won the Industry Partner Award in TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Awards 2019.