Hurricane Sandy Arts Recovery Resources

By Janet Brown from her blog Better Together

On behalf of Grantmakers in the Arts, I want to express how saddened we are by the terrible losses brought on by Hurricane Sandy. GIA has created a special site, Hurricane Sandy Recovery Resources, to list relevant resources as they become available to us. Please contact us at with new information so we can pass it on to our members and the public.

As with Katrina, we will witness many artists who have lost all or part of their life’s work, arts organizations that cannot afford to rebuild or replace production assets and museums whose archives and important treasures may have been damaged. For the past several years, The National Coalition of Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response has been working to encourage artists, arts groups and arts funders to prepare themselves for disasters such as Sandy. GIA has helped them with communications and information dissemination.

The Coalition, created by Craft Emergency Relief Fund/Artists’ Emergency Resources (CERF+), is a cross-disciplinary volunteer task force involving over twenty arts organizations (artist/arts-focused organizations, arts agencies, arts funders) and individual artists. After Katrina, South Arts became heavily involved and developed a unique ArtsReady website to help arts groups and artists in emergency preparedness. Active in the Coalition are a group of GIA funders that have provided support for its work: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Nathan Cummings Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Windgate Charitable Foundation. The group recently hired Mary Margaret Schoenfeld as the Coalition Coordinator.

Coalition participants are committed to a combined strategy of resource development, educational empowerment and public policy advocacy that ensures an organized, nationwide safety net for artists and the arts organizations that serve them before, during and after disasters. GIA members active in the Coalition have been meeting at GIA’s annual conference to guide and educate foundations, arts agencies, art service organizations and corporate grantmakers interested in becoming more emergency ready and effective in their emergency relief efforts and grantmaking.

I joined GIA’s staff after Katrina and have learned a great deal working with this group, most importantly that there are simple things one can do as an individual and for your business that will help after a disaster. Today’s technology can be so helpful. Having critical documents, records, and digitized artwork stored off-site or in the cloud can give great peace of mind. I also believe that Katrina taught us lessons that are being implemented now. First responders are the priority. People must have shelter, food and water before they can even think about what they’ve lost or how to rebuild. Those who need help and our funder colleagues closest to those in need will then assess the damages and coordinate recovery. We’re beginning to see that now.

Artists and arts groups will need our help. The philanthropic arts community will respond. If you want to learn more about the National Coalition of Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response, contact Mary Margaret Schoenfeld at