CERF+ joined more than two dozen arts, culture, and history organizations, plus several emergency management professionals and conservators, at the November 28 kick-off meeting for the formation of the Vermont Placekeeping Network, a new advance emergency mobilization system for the cultural sector. The meeting was organized by Rachel Onuf (Vermont State Archives and Records Administration) and Michele Bailey and Amy Cunningham (Vermont Arts Council), the two agencies that will lead this resiliency-building initiative over the next nine months.
The network planning group will use the Cultural Placekeeping Guide, a resource produced by CERF+ and South Arts for the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) to design their system. CERF+ Director of Special Projects, Meg Ostrum, who oversaw the development of the guide from 2011-17, gave a keynote presentation at the meeting. She provided a snapshot of work being done at the national level by the NCAPER task force, past and present, to improve the disaster safety net for individual artists, art and culture organizations, and creative communities. Meg commented, “We are so pleased that our home state—a place that has had its share of crippling localized and statewide disasters—is an early adopter of this new self-help, mutual aid approach to protecting all of its cultural resources, physical and human.”
Vermont is one of ten sites around the country that is developing a cooperative disaster planning network through a grant from the Performing Arts Readiness Project, a national program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.