National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response

Following Tropical Storm Irene, I was so thankful for the advice and support that Cornelia Carey at CERF+ provided. Her experience as a responder to the arts community following disasters was invaluable to me as I suddenly found myself thrust into that role with the arts community in Vermont. Among the things she advised was to contact my colleague Malcolm White at the Mississippi Arts Commission and members of his staff who offered a lot of helpful advice from his experiences following Hurricane Katrina.

Alex Aldrich, Executive Director, Vermont Arts Council

As part of National Arts Advocacy Day in 2006, CERF+ and Americans for the Arts invited arts leaders who had served in the role of “arts responder” during significant emergencies to participate in a summit meeting in Washington, D.C.  Since then, CERF+ has played a leading role in a voluntary task force of national, regional, state and local arts organizations, public agencies, and foundations. 

The Coalition serves as a communications, education and advocacy group. The long-term goal of the Coalition is to create an organized safety net for artists, and the organizations that serve them, in the United States.

Significant projects realized—collectively or by individual members of the Coalition—include:

  • Creation of the Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders. This electronic document is sent to arts council and foundation staff members in areas affected by emergencies. Designed to provide guidance to people during and immediately after events, the document provides resources and suggested methods for organizing response for the arts community.
  • Creation of a White Paper, “A Vision for Emergency Readiness, Response and Recovery in the Arts Sector” addressing the status and policy environment of readiness and response needs for arts organizations and artists.
  • Release and promotion by CERF+ of the Studio Protector, the first-ever guide to disaster  readiness and response for artists, and development of a destination website
  • Launch by South Arts of "Arts Ready," a first-ever web-based business continuity planning resource for arts organizations.
  • Expansion of artists’ emergency resource listings on  New York Foundation for the Arts' NYFA Source website, and addition of a reference section of reports on emergency readiness, response and recovery reports for funders on the Grantmakers in the Arts website. 
  • Commitment from the National Endowment for the Arts to serve as the primary policy liaison to key federal relief agencies. 

Other initiatives now in progress include:

  • Implementation of a new, model, statewide network of community-based art responders in California, in partnership with the San Diego Foundation and the California Arts Council
  • Production of a primer for organizations, agencies, and community foundations on how to manage post-disaster arts relief efforts.