Emergency Preparedness for Artists, Part I: Cover Your A's

"Emergency preparedness is possibly the only topic in the world that is both terrifying and boring," quips Studio Protector's Craig Nutt. Disaster planning is easy (and risky) to put off for another day.  As we enter the Atlantic hurricane season, now is a good time to consider your own emergency preparedness.  In this two-part series, we will look at resources that can help arts and culture organizations both prepare for and recover from flood, fire, and other disasters.

One resource specifically designed for artists and artisans is Studio Protector, an information toolkit created to help you "cover your A's: Art, Assets, and Archives."

Studio Protector goes beyond general preparation tips to include advice relevant to artists working with a wide variety of media.  For instance, after a flooding disaster, the "First Aid for Your A's" section explains that freezing wet items can buy time, but that not all materials are okay to freeze:  textiles and books, yes; paintings and ivory, no.  This kind of information can help you prioritize your time in a salvage situation.

The idea for Studio Protector grew out of lessons learned by artists during and after Hurricane Katrina.  Visual artists developed the tool in partnership with the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+), which provides direct grants and loans to artists who need help in emergencies.

Studio Protector is comprised of two parts:

(1) The Wall Guide contains tips and checklists that help you start small and build your disaster response plan incrementally.  Five subject-specific pullout guides, which can be easily taken off site in the event of an emergency, focus on topics such as evacuation, clean-up, and salvage.  The entire kit is the size of a calendar and is designed to hang on your studio wall.  The online video demonstration is a good introduction to what the guide looks like and how it works.  The kit is currently available through CERF+ for $16 plus shipping and handling.  Profits from the sale of the Studio Protector Wall Guide go towards CERF+ programs.

(2) The Online Guide* is designed as a supplement to the Wall Guide, with artist-to-artist videos and links to additional resources.  Because it contains a lot of basic information as well, it is a good first stop when working on your emergency plans -- or when beginning the recovery process.  The Online Guide is available for free on the Studio Protector website.

Although it is geared for visual artists and studios, Studio Protector has advice and tips that can also be useful for performing arts organizations -- particularly those with a large investment in costumes, scenery, stage equipment, or digital archives.

*Web development for Studio Protector's Online Guide was a project of Center for Arts Management and Technology, home of this blog.