Innovative Practices

The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and CERF+

Supported the innovative efforts of the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response, including the publication of Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders: Organizing in the Aftermath of Disaster. The guide details how to help and support local artists, arts-related small businesses, and arts organizations. It is a primer for state and local arts councils, arts service organizations, community foundations, and other nonprofit groups.

The Coalition is a cross-disciplinary, voluntary task force involving over 20 arts organizations (artist/art-focused organizations, arts agencies and arts funders) and individual artists, co-chaired by CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists’ Emergency Resources) and South Arts. Coalition participants are committed to a combined strategy of resource development, educational empowerment, and public policy advocacy designed to ensure that there is an organized, nationwide safety net for artists and the arts organizations that serve them before, during and after disasters.


Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Lafarge, Home Depot Foundation and others

Supported Designing for Disaster. The National Building Museum’s exhibit examines how communities assess risks from natural hazards and how they can create policies, plans, and designs yielding safer, more disaster-resilient communities.


FEMA and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)

Convened a group of cultural service organizations to explore developing a stronger response and recovery strategy for the cultural sector in times of disaster. The National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response provided its Essential Guidelines for Arts Responders handbook to guide the process. FEMA facilitated 11 working sessions from November 2013 – June 2014, through which CultureAID was formally developed. CultureAID (Culture Active in Disasters) is a collaborative network of stakeholders and service providers committed to strengthening New York City’s cultural community – including artists and organizations – before, during, and after disasters through an organized communications system, as well as coordinated activities and services to the field.


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Supported South Arts’ efforts to develop ArtsReady, a web-based emergency preparedness platform designed to provide arts and cultural organizations with customized business continuity plans for post crisis sustainability. South Arts is an organization committed to making business continuity planning a priority in the arts.



Founded on a single simple premise: people caring for one another during tough times. Building upon the grassroots gesture of passing the hat at craft shows for artists dealing with emergency situations, CERF+ created an ongoing pool of funds that are available to professional craft artists when they suffer career-threatening emergencies. In addition to the financial assistance, they help acquire donated goods and services for beneficiaries from individuals, organizations and businesses.


Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Instituted a rapid-response mini-grant program in the days following Superstorm Sandy. The program quickly distributed small grants to all arts organizations that were impacted by the storm and experienced an economic loss.


Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health

Supported BRIDGE THE GULF, a community media project that lifts up the voices of Gulf Coast communities working towards justice and sustainability. Through multimedia storytelling on, an active network of community leaders, experts, and media-makers connect and share their perspectives on the places, cultures, histories, and challenges that define the Gulf Coast region. See Community and Economic Recovery for more information.


Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Community Foundation of New Jersey and support from other local and national funders

Launched the New Jersey Recovery Fund (see Funder Collaborations for more details on this joint effort) following Superstorm Sandy. The Fund supported a host of arts and arts education projects that were created, including:

  • The Atlantic City Ballet’s development of a new work entitled “In the Eye of The Storm” exploring the impact of nature on mankind and the resilience of spirit that enables people to overcome and transcend even the most devastating circumstances. The “In the Eye of The Storm” project began with a series of community-based workshops in partnership with the Atlantic City Community Think Tank, a community collaborative that serves as the bridge to partners including the Boys and Girls Club, the Atlantic City Housing Authority, the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Police Athletic league and others. This process was captured on video and through a series of photographs, capturing specific moods and movements. The dance premiered in Atlantic City in October 2013, marking the one-year anniversary of the storm.
  • Young Audiences of NJ/Eastern PA Sandy Relief Initiative” provided arts experiences for school-aged children, their teachers and families, in order to help them comprehend loss, process memories and envision the future; and offered community-building opportunities that aided schools in the recovery process; and also provided temporary replacement of arts-integrated programming that was lost due to the storm and/or because of diverted resources.
  • The Boardwalk Stories from Sandy is an audio walking tour app that brings to life the stories of Superstorm Sandy survivors and challenges listeners to rethink coastal living as they pass sights impacted by the storm. It features 12 stops along the boardwalk, including a newly completed stretch destroyed twice, first during Sandy and again in the fire a year later.