Blog Posts for disaster preparedness

Making Disasters the New Normal

Posted by Ms. Leah Hamilton, Feb 01, 2017 2 comments

As a former regional arts agency executive who managed an arts center, I know how difficult it can be to prioritize emergency preparedness. In the context of an average day for an arts leader, preparedness typically does not take priority; after all, arts administrators oversee complex administrative and artistic operations to keep their organizations functioning. The probability of failure in meeting fundraising, budget, and attendance goals is significantly higher for an arts manager than the off chance of a data breach, server breakdown, active shooter, fire, or severe weather situation. However, our current social, cultural, and environmental climate is cause for any arts manager to consider emergency preparedness strategies just as they would other organizational priorities.

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Reflections on Readiness and Resiliency

Posted by Ruby Lopez Harper, May 27, 2016 0 comments

On April 19, the National Endowment for the Arts hosted a convening of national thought leaders and practitioners to consider the increasing importance of work related to natural disasters, man-made disasters and civil unrest. “Readiness and Resiliency”: Advancing a Collaborative and National Strategy for the Arts in Times of Emergencies.

I was excited to be attending as an observer on behalf of the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response. I had attended a preconference through Grantmakers in the Arts in 2014 in Houston. The preconference focused on the examination of the readiness, response, and emergency support systems for artists. It featured three artists and really centered around how the arts community responds to the effect of natural disasters on the lives of individual artists. It was, to say the least, so completely inspiring that I found the ideas and content integrating itself into the conversations I had with the local community in Columbus upon my return and for the time following.

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A Look Back on National Preparedness Month: How Hurricane Katrina Gave Rise to ArtsReady

Posted by Mr. Omar Nelson, Sep 24, 2015 0 comments

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month (NPM)?

Have you reflected on the significance of the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina? If so, have you been inspired to take steps in your arts organization to make it more resilient?

For South Arts, National Preparedness Month and the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina are momentous with the two occasion’s eventually giving rise to ArtsReady, a national initiative which has a mission to make emergency preparedness a high priority in the arts.

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The Arts are not "only” the NEA…

Posted by Kate McClanahan, May 09, 2014 1 comment

Kate McClanahan Kate McClanahan

Above all, artists must not be only in art galleries or museums — they must be present in all possible activities.” — Michelangelo Pistoletto

What is art? Art is a means for social change. Art is relaxing. Art is inspiring. Art is culture. Art is pretty.

What can art really do? At Americans for the Arts we know; the arts are more than just around us or a part of us—they are also an application. Like an amoeba, they can live on their own, but when “discovered,” they suddenly are ever-present and malleable in ways you might not know, and perhaps, they are limited only by “un-thought thoughts,” or put differently, imagination.

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Learn from Nashville: How to Prepare for the Worst

Posted by Ms. Jennifer J. Cole, Sep 04, 2013 0 comments

Jennifer Cole Jennifer Cole

On Friday, April 30, 2010 it started raining. Most Nashvillians rented a movie, grabbed a pizza and stayed in for the night. By lunch the next day, I remarked to my husband that the rain was “getting a little Biblical”.  Within 2 hours I received a call that changed my life. The Deputy Mayor summoned me into the Emergency Command Center to help manage the city’s coordination and flood response. I did not leave that post for nearly six months.

I had been on the job at Metro Arts for just 4 months. Luckily, my previous career had included disaster training and coordination—just enough to be helpful in a city overwhelmed by water. By May 2, the region had absorbed more than 17 inches of water, one of the largest rain events ever recorded in America. More than 11 individuals lost their lives and more than 10,000 properties were damaged. [1]

Downtown Nashville Downtown Nashville

We sustained millions in damage to the Nashville Symphony; the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum; and dozens of smaller artist studios, galleries, and community arts organizations. Hundreds of musicians and touring acts lost their equipment and costumes when SoundCheck Nashville was completely flooded.

Within a matter of moments, I went from Arts Administrator to co-managing the Office of Disaster Recovery. More than 3 years later, I still get twitchy when it rains for more than a few hours.

What I learned on the ground during the response and working with the community after the flood just might help someone else.  Artists and grassroots arts agencies are particularly vulnerable and must think about disasters before the happen.

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Placemarking: Public Art and Emergency Preparedness

Posted by Lindsay Sheridan, Jul 19, 2013 0 comments

lindsay headshot Lindsay Sheridan

Doug Kornfeld knew he won the gig the moment someone mentioned Mardi Gras. He had just presented to the jury for New Orleans’ public art City-Assisted Evacuation marking project – dubbed “Evacuspots” – with his proposal for 14-foot-high, 850 lb stainless steel stick figures with one arm reached out in the universal sign for “I need a ride!” But what Doug, an artist based in Boston, MA, hadn’t counted on was that his design would have a perfectly iconic Big Easy connection: that of someone gesturing to have beads thrown at them on Mardi Gras.

This festive figure has a serious task, though. It’s part of a new solution for hurricane evacuation developed by the nonprofit philanthropy organization Evacuteer.org in the wake of the 2005 disaster Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 100,000 residents stranded in the city with no means of escape. Through an agreement with the City of New Orleans, Evacuteer.org recruits, trains, and manages evacuation volunteers – dubbed evacuteers – to run a system that is capable of picking up and transporting 30,000 residents to state-run shelters in the event of a necessary evacuation. The system was tested once in September 2008 in advance of Hurricane Gustav. While about 18,000 residents utilized the City-Assisted Evacuation Plan, many residents had little idea of where the pickup points were since they were marked by small, unnoticeable placards with a lot of text. So Robert Fogarty, co-founder and board president of Evacuteer.org, brought up a new idea: what better way to draw attention to the spots than with a public art piece?

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