Natural Disasters Take Spotlight: Emergency Relief Year-to-Date Update from CERF+

The latest from Craft Emergency Relief Fund Artists' Emergency Resources:

As flooding in Minot, North Dakota becomes the latest focus of our nation’s attention, those of us at CERF+ are taking a moment to reflect on our emergency relief assistance for the first half of 2011. From our view, the floods, tornadoes, wildfires and other natural disasters that have affected much of the country are being felt very deeply by artists. In a typical year natural disasters account for 20% of our assistance to craft artists, but so far this year 34% of our assistance has been for natural disasters.

It is still early in the recovery stage for many artists, so we expect to see additional applications associated with the severe weather events of this spring.

During the first half of 2011, CERF+ assisted 32 craft artists from across the country with a total of $82,386 in loans, grants and in-kind assistance. This aid included 25 grants (up to $2,500 each), 4 Quick Loans (up to $4,000 each), and in-kind assistance, such as booth fee waivers at shows, and discounts/donations from suppliers and manufacturers to eight craft artists. CERF+ also provided emergency relief resources and information services as well as technical assistance for individual artists facing career-threatening emergencies.

Following are some of the situations we have responded to from the first half of 2011*:

  • Five craft artists from Alabama, many of whom suffered complete losses of their homes and/or studios, were assisted after a series of devastating tornadoes hit the state on April 27. Read more about the Alabama tornadoes in the Studio Protector Blog.
  • A jeweler from Louisiana lost her home and studio to fire. CERF+ funds were used to restock her relocated studio.
  • A glass artist from Hawaii lost a significant portion of his work in an accident that happened at the end of a craft show. CERF+ funds were used to pay for his operating expenses while he rebuilt his inventory.
  • A ceramic artist from Pennsylvania was seriously injured by a hit and run driver. CERF+ funds were used to help pay medical and rehabilitation bills that were not covered by her insurance.
  • Five craft artists seriously affected by flooding in Laguna Beach, CA in December received CERF+ assistance early in the new year.
  • A metal artist from Maryland is recovering from a long illness and major surgery. CERF+ funds were used to re-establish her studio and help pay medical bills.

(Emergency types: 40% Illness/Injury, 34% Natural Disaster, 16% Fire, 10% Other. * Please note that due to confidentiality, we are unable to share the names of our beneficiaries.)