Nashville Flooding and the Arts (Janet's blog)

(5-11-10) So they don’t call Tennessee the “Volunteer State” for nothing! Although the national media has already moved on to the latest stock market twist and political scandal, the artists and arts organizations of Tennessee are recuperating, rebuilding and performing. The Nashville Symphony, although their hall is damaged, has designed a “traveling” season and has already performed. But there is much work to do, artists to help and organizations that will need support rebuilding.

Jen Cole of the Nashville Arts Commission reports that “they have done preliminary assessments waiting for FEMA. There is damage to public art, theatre closings and the symphony hall and country music hall of fame have extensive damage. Jen can be reached at Tennessee Arts Commission executive director Rich Boyd sent out the e-blast below. Thanks to Hal Partlow for sending it to me. (I’m happy to see my friends Cornelia Carey, Craft+ and Gerri Combs, South Arts, are practicing what we were preaching at Katrina@5 conference. Emergency you have a plan?

Friends in the Tennessee Arts Community...

In the past week this agency has tried to be responsive to the recent damage in our state that has results of severe storms and flooding. The Commission has tried to keep the arts community informed about resources that are available to artists and arts organizations that may have been affected. The spirit of volunteerism that is so identified with this state, has speeded recovery efforts and made us all proud to be Tennesseans. Much has been accomplished, and at the same time, there is still much to do!

We would like to revisit important information from our previous e-blasts so that you are able to refer to some agencies that may be of assistance. The following list is not inclusive of every emergency response and preparedness resource available, however we believe that you will find those included valuable in terms of future disaster readiness and preparedness. Unless new information needs to be sent, this will be our last e-BLAST, but we will make this information available on our Web site at under “Resources – Emergency Preparedness.”

To date 42 counties in the state of Tennessee have been declared federal disaster areas following the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state this past weekend. This declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in these counties; Benton, Carroll, Chester, Clay, Crockett, Cheatham, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lewis, Macon, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Robertson, Rutherford, Shelby, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, Tipton, Trousdale, Wayne, Williamson and Wilson.

Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Public assistance is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures only at this time. In addition, federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

A reminder that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance immediately by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

For further information on FEMA eligibility requirements for private nonprofit organizations see The Guide to Navigating Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration Disaster Aid for Cultural Institutions at the following:

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has established two funds, one that will support relief and restoration to those in the Davidson County area, and a second to aid those in areas of Middle Tennessee affected by the floods. For information about these funds and to donate, visit online at, or call 615-321-4939.

The Craft Emergency Relief
In addition, donations are being accepted by the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) to assist any craft artist who has suffered losses in a disaster (Tennessee floods included). You may direct your contribution to members of TACA (Tennessee Association of Craft Artists) by making your check out to the TACA Fund at CERF+. Mail donations to: CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists Emergency Resources), PO Box 838, Montpelier VT, 05601-0838. More information about CERF+ may be found at

Craig Nutt, director of programs for CERF has stated that the new Studio Protector website has information and resources to help artists and art organizations in this effort. You may find Studio Protector at:

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville has some copies available in the museum shop if they are needed by individual artists. Pull-out guides on Getting Help, Cleanup, Salvage, and e-Salvage contain useful information on the first steps to recovery.

South Arts/ArtsReady
South Arts ( in Atlanta manages through their Web site, ArtsReady, a service providing preparation and recovery information. Recent updates about preparation and recovery information and tools may be found at South Arts also manages a blog on the ArtsReady site which is used to deliver status reports, requests for information, and help on behalf of organizations that may be affected. You may want to look at the blog archive (the News box on the lower right) to see if any information there can be helpful.

The American Institute for Conservation
Additionally, the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), the national association of conservation professionals, is offering free emergency response assistance to cultural organizations. In the wake of historic flooding in the Nashville area, staff members of collecting institutions are encouraged to contact AIC-CERT if the flooding has damaged collections.

  • Call AIC’s 24-hour assistance number at 202-661-8068 for advice by phone.
  • Call 202-661-8068 to arrange for a team to come to the site to complete damage assessments and help with salvage organization.

In 2007, AIC received funding from the Institute of Museum & Library Services to support an advanced training program for conservators and other museum professionals that resulted in a force of 64 “rapid responders” trained to assess damage and initiate salvage of cultural collections after a disaster has occurred. They are ready to assist. Resources and information on disaster recovery and salvage can be found on the AIC website at The public can also call AIC-CERT at 202.661.8068.

Hal Partlow, director of performing arts, has collected and disseminated information in a most professional manner and I compliment him and the entire TAC staff in their concern for the constituents we serve. Hal will continue to field your questions and collect information. He can be reached at or (615) 532-9801.

Rich Boyd, Executive Director?Tennessee Arts Commission