Emergency Preparedness for Artists, Part II: Is Your Organization ArtsReady?

Nobody ever wants to be in an emergency situation, but let’s face it, they happen. Hurricanes, floods, fires, terrorism, I.T. failures, and even epidemics are a real concern in today’s world.  Last week we talked about disaster planning for artists, but what about the organizations? Almost every for-profit organization in the country has some type of emergency preparedness plan and training for staff members. But for some reason (money, time, human resources), arts organizations are a little behind this vital curve. Which is where ArtsReady comes in! This initiative was developed several years ago by South Arts as a way to help organizations with emergency preparedness.  As you probably know at this point, developing strong management practices regarding emergencies is becoming a national conversation. (Read the Green Paper published earlier this year!)

ArtsReady Program Director, Hannah Leatherbury, explains that, “We want arts organizations to start thinking about a readiness plan like they think about a strategic plan.”  We conducted an interview with Hannah last September, and the podcast gives some great information about the history of the organization and importance of continuity planning.

There are three main components to ArtsReady:

(1) “Be ArtsReady” awareness campaign, which provides resources and guides for organizations to create “what if?” plans. Join the campaign!

(2) In-progress development of community source software, which will be a web-based tool to help arts organizations be more resilient after both minor disruptions or major crisis.  It will allow organizations to assess their risks, have a secure backed-up location for readiness documentations, and be connected to other arts organizations to share resources and stories. Check out the demo presentation for this online tool.

(3) Membership in the Coalition for Artists’ Emergency Preparedness, a voluntary task force which is committed to organizing a nationwide support system (resources, education, advocacy) for artists and arts organizations before, during, and after disasters. **Be sure to check out, "When Disaster Strikes, Are You Prepared?" a workshop they are conducting during the Americans for the Arts Half Century Summit on June 26th at 4:00pm.

What experience have you had with emergency preparedness? Does your organization have a plan in place? We love to hear what you all are doing !