Performing Arts Readiness Network Grant Opportunity


Deadline: Rolling deadline; submit between October 16, 2017 and June 30, 2018 

The Performing Arts Readiness Project (PAR) is a collaborative effort between leading performing arts and cultural heritage organizations. The program is administered by LYRASIS with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The purpose of PAR is to improve emergency preparedness within performing arts organizations by adapting successful models from arts and heritage communities and testing new ideas to address emergency preparedness issues.

Often when it’s too late, performing arts organizations find that they are on their own when it comes to dealing with emergencies – from minor incidents that disrupt business operations for less than a week to a major disaster or a catastrophic event (natural, technological or civil) causing major loss of income and assets.  Networking with other institutions can help you to support emergency preparedness and sustain disaster response.

The goal of PAR is to expand and strengthen emergency preparedness among performing arts organizations through such activities as:

  • Providing free online webinars and workshops on topics ranging from risk assessment and mitigation to basics of business continuity plans;
  • Supporting local, on-the-ground expertise through pilot “Circuit Rider” programs in New Jersey and Northeast Ohio for one-on-one emergency planning and assistance.

PAR also offers grants to support:

  • The expansion of existing emergency response and support networks to include performing arts organizations. Guidelines and application are here.
  • The development of two new emergency response and support networks. Guidelines and application are here.

What is a network? How does my organization form one?

While support networks for emergency planning and response exist in many local communities and states, they generally do not include performing arts organizations. For example, see information about Alliance for Response Networks here. A key part of the Performing Arts Readiness project is to build preparedness and recovery plans within individual performing arts organizations and within networks of performing arts organizations, other arts and cultural heritage institutions, and emergency responders. As you assemble your organizing group, you may want to consider including representatives from your local arts agency, volunteer and community emergency response groups, first responders, other performing arts and cultural heritage organizations (including libraries, archives, and museums), and local Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts or other legal services groups.

What does a network do?

Organizing a self-help emergency action network to supplement and coordinate with the existing disaster management system is a way to foster community cohesion and connectedness—important generally and invaluable when a crisis strikes. Relationships built in advance, especially with emergency management personnel, can mean the difference between waiting a few minutes or hours, rather than several days or weeks, to get an email or phone call answered when a disaster happens. Building a better safety net is also about equity and “strength in numbers”—a network of networks that links and serves the diverse constituencies that make up the arts and culture sector.

What resources exist to help us form a network?

A community can approach the formation and implementation of a disaster network for the arts and cultural community in several ways; there is no “one size fits all,” since each community is unique in its resources, vulnerabilities and arts/cultural sector. However, communities that have experienced and recovered from disasters have developed resources that are now available for others to use, ahead of time, to limit the impact and damage of a future crisis. You do not need to start from scratch.

The Cultural Placekeeping Guide, published by the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) in June 2017, provides step-by-step guidance on how to introduce a network-building approach, called “cultural placekeeping,” for both safeguarding and strengthening local arts and culture communities. It is a free resource.

There are also individuals who have personal and professional experience with disaster planning and response, and are available as consultants to network grant recipients. PAR can provide information on these individuals.

More information and application forms for the PAR networking grants that support:

  • The expansion of existing emergency response and support networks is here.
  • The development of two new emergency response and support networks is here.