Sandy Recovery Advice from ArtsReady
In the aftermath of Sandy, arts organizations are struggling with a host of challenges, from lost income to flooded facilities. I asked our friends at South Arts to share some advice for the field on responding to and recovering from the storm.
Following is a guest post from Katy Malone, project manager for ArtsReady.
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From our offices in Atlanta, ArtsReady has been watching the impact of Sandy's storm system unfold. We have been collecting and dispersing information as rapidly and clearly as possible through our social media (facebook.com/artsready, Twitter @BeArstReady, and LinkedIn), and ArtsReady Alert system. So far it is hard to get a sense of the full effect of the storm on the arts, but the stories are overwhelming! In particular we have noticed the awful reports from the galleries in Chelsea, the artist studios in Brooklyn, and other arts venues in low lying parts of the City--not to mention the damage to the communities across New Jersey. It’s hard not to simply grab some work gloves, and hop on the next flight out to go spring into action.
However, we have learned from past experience that the needs of those impacted should be assessed clearly, so that assistance can be the most successful. That is also the stance of the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response. With that in mind, here are several resources that we have referred artists and arts organizations to thus far that may inspire targeted action. There is an effort to centralize such information somewhere online in the next several days. In the meantime, please feel free to share this with your colleagues.
- For emergency conservation assistance contact the American Institute for Conservation's Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT), or the National Document Conservation Center's Disaster Assistance Hotline.
- For stabilizing documents after flooding, here are tips from Conservation OnLine.
- Salvage and e-salvage information is also provided by the Studio Protector.
- To follow the art-specific impact of Sandy, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy has a good, clear update page as does the Hyperallergic blog, and the Current News section of ArtsReady.
- Damage-specific instructional videos for coping with water damage and addressing soot are provided from Heritage Preservation (as are several other good items).
- For emergency business relief many small organizations, including theaters and performing arts groups, are eligible for the Small Business Authority loans and FEMA aid. For advice on navigating both, refer to this guide from Heritage Preservation.
- Other places to watch for aid and information: ArtsReady’s Useful Links, Fractured Atlas, NYFA,Americans for the Arts, the Actor’s Fund (Site’s down so contact using 917-281-5936, Twitter @TheActorsFund, or wwwfacebook.com/TheActorsFund- Relief is for all kinds of artists. Also, has a free Health Clinic—call 212-489-1039 to check on hours and eligibility)
- For New York specific assistance and information: ART/NY, Dance/NYC (Contact Lacey Althouse at email@example.com, or on Twitter @DanceNYC #sandydance), NYC Arts Coalition
Also, as big fans of anything grassroots, we have been heartened to hear calls for Kickstarter or other DIY campaigns to help cultural institutions that were impacted by the storm. However, considering the above philosophy, any effort would be best served by focusing the cause. Perhaps those looking to help could rally around a particular venue (Raising funds for XYZ Theater), neighborhood (Helping our pals in Greenpoint!) or need (Money for replacing costumes). What those focused causes are will likely not be apparent until later in the recovery process. Refer to those you already know to find them, and though waiting is hard, doing so ensures that you help when and how organizations need it most.
Looking to those you know to find an outlet for aid is good for another reason; you should be in close contact with whomever you choose to assist. Receiving assistance takes as much capacity on the recipient’s part as the gathering and giving does (which is a lot!). Depending on pre-storm business continuity planning and the level of institutional damage, an organization or group may not be in a position to rebuild yet. You should know in advance that they can actually take advantage your help, and they should know what is coming, so they can plan ahead for whatever you provide.
An alternative thought would be to work on behalf of arts relief organization (like CERF+, MusiCares, or theActor’s Fund—a link to their latest press release in lieu of their site). They already have the infrastructure to collect and distribute your funds in the best possible way.
Regardless, please keep ArtsReady posted about any actions done and results they brings. We are inspired to see the arts community rallying for ‘our own,’ and we would be delighted to hear and share your stories. Also, if you find any other resources, please forward them on to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-874-7244 x13 any time for distribution.