When artists collaborate, unexpected things happen: inspired pieces of artwork get produced, new conversations open up, and surprising new connections are formed. This type of collaboration is important behind the scenes as well. We’ve found that artists are far more likely to take advice from fellow artists, particularly on the topic of emergency preparedness. CERF+ has tools and resources that can help you and your community get ready together. Our Get Ready Grant program offers twenty grants of up to $500 in two competitive cycles to help artists upgrade their studios and prepare for emergencies.
Leigh Suggs, a paper artist from Richmond, Virginia, received a Get Ready Grant in 2018 and used it to purchase and install shelving in the shared studio space that she runs. The new addition provided safe storage for Leigh and four other artists. This is an excellent example of how one artist can help educate others about emergency preparation. There’s so much that you can do to strengthen and protect your studio career, and doing it with another artist or group of artists is a great way to build relationships, keep yourself on task, and encourage others to take action.
Become Disaster Buddies. A Disaster Buddy is a fellow artist living in another region of the country or your state with whom you exchange lists of contacts and people to notify in case of an emergency. This can be extremely helpful in situations where lines of communication are limited and can allow you to update all of your loved ones with a single call. It also provides your friends and family with a point person they can call for updates if they cannot reach you. You and your Disaster Buddy might also consider offering each other mutual assistance arrangements, such as providing one another temporary access to studio space after a disaster.
Share your story. If your studio or career was threatened by a disaster, tell your story, and encourage others to learn from your experience. If you’ve already taken steps to become more prepared, share what you have learned with your community. Consider hosting an evening workshop at a community center, inviting artists into your studio to see first-hand the steps you’ve taken, and sharing your progress on social media. You never know who will be inspired to take action. We have plenty of resources in our online Studio Safety Guide that you can use!
Help your community prepare. What’s better than getting one person to take steps to become more prepared for an emergency? Getting an entire community involved and ready! If you have already taken the steps necessary to protect your home and studio, you could consider reaching out to your local community. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Find out what’s already been done, and reach out to those organizations for information about volunteering. Here are some helpful resources to help guide your efforts.
- Department of Homeland Security Community Emergency Response Team Program
- Department of Homeland Security Citizen Corps Training Program
- The Department of Health and Human Services’ Medical Reserve Corps
- The FEMA Community Preparedness Toolkit
There’s much to do, and it can be overwhelming, but once you get started, you’ll feel relieved knowing that you are making your studio safer and more secure.