It’s been three weeks since ‘Super storm Sandy’ hit and communities all along the east coast are regaining power and rebuilding their communities. Here in Cleveland, we saw record breaking winds resulting in fallen trees, damaged houses and downed power lines. CPAC, we are still catching up after our office closed for almost a week due to power outages. Now, one presidential election later, many of us are back in business as usual. But what is going on with the many artists and arts organizations in our community whose work was impacted by floods, power outages and wind damage?
Not surprisingly, ‘Super storm Sandy’ was no match for artists in greater Cleveland. In fact many faced this challenge head-on, strategizing how this storm could provide a chance to advance their work.
PD White, a furniture craftsman from Tremont, is one greater Cleveland artist who saw Sandy as an opportunity. For PD, as with many other artists, his inventory is an essential element to the creation of his work. Discovering that the wrath of the storm took a toll on many of the historic trees found within city parks and along neighborhood tree lawns PD offered a solution knowing that he could make use of this valuable material (downed trees and braches) and help residents at the same time. His custom furniture relies heavily on unique wood and now with a surplus in materials, PD is struggling to keep up with demand for his work.
‘Sandy’ certainly challenged arts and cultural organizations as well. Power outages and flooding caused concern among those carrying out day-to-day business or for those looking to host events for the Halloween festivities.
Just after Halloween, Christopher Lynn, Director of SPACES was to hold ‘Polkapocalypse,’ their annual benefit and art auction. Days before the event SPACES lost power but Christopher and his team were determined to press on, setting up decorations and brainstorming creative ways they could hold the event in the dark. Fortunately for SPACES and their guests just before their event started power was restored.
For many artists this situation brings into question how they can best protect themselves and their work when faced with a disaster. For one organization this has been the core of their mission since 1985. The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) has devoted over 25 years to artists who may face unexpected encounters such as ‘Sandy.’ They have gone above and beyond to ensure that artists are well prepared for any situation that may threaten their livelihood. Their "Sandy Widget" details their services along with suggestions that an artist or arts and cultural organization should consider in protecting against or dealing with an emergency.
Before the Cleveland winter begins, it’s important that artists or arts and cultural organization craft an emergency plan to better prepare for situations such as ‘Sandy.’ Pre-planning with your insurance company can save hassles that may be encountered when a disaster strikes. It’s much easier to be proactive in checking the details in your coverage before a crisis instead of finding out what they may covered when you need assistance.
To learn more, we’ve posted a number of insurance resources on Creative Compass. We also encourage you to share your story about Sandy and to share resources that you may know of in the comments section below.