The Alliance of Artists Communities is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our communities and is in daily contact with our local, state, and federal partners. Our top priority is the health and safety of all who come in contact with the AAC, which includes members, staff, volunteers, and participants at our convenings.
We recognize that residencies operate in communal contexts, and we are considering how COVID-19 affects artist mobility and general program operations. We will continue to connect you with translatable resources to support you in your decision-making processes during this public health crisis. We encourage all of our member programs to connect directly with their near-peer residency organizations (i.e. other residencies in your region or similar program types) to share information and discuss flexible terms for artists and staff.
Relevant resources and recommendations for the residency field
Myriad tactics have been shared via online platforms. We believe the following websites and recommendations are most relevant to artist residencies:
- Read the #ResidenciesConnect Recap: Prioritizing Staff and Artists Wellbeing
- Read the #ResidenciesConnect Recap: COVID-19 Dynamic Approaches to COVID-19
- Read a recap of our March 19th field-wide share-out on approaches for residency leaders navigating COVID-19
- Explore FAQ for Residency Practitioners on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response
- Review our Residency Preparedness + Response to COVID-19 Guide - a collection of documents/communications from the residency field. Add your organization's resources through this Google form.
CDC + WHO Coronavirus Planning Guides
- CDC overview of COVID-19 resources
- CDC guidance for businesses and employers
- CDC guidance on mass gatherings
- CDC guidance for the community and faith-based organizations
- World Health Organization guidance on mass gatherings
After careful research of translatable models, we feel that residencies should review:
- CDC Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education with Students Participating in International Travel or Study Abroad Programs
For up to date information regarding travel advisories and global cases:
- Unemployment Insurance Training: Recording from Artist & Freelancer Relief Call
- "Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Employee Leave" by the Department of Labor
- Fisher Phillips Comprehensive And Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus
Staff Support + Remote Work
- White Supremacy Culture, but make it REMOTE - Instagram Post by Joanna Gattuso (@joeybirrd)
- FAKEQUITY: When Non-Disabled People Get Accommodations, Who Benefits? Things to Think About as We Work Remotely
- Gallup.com: COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely: A Guide for Leaders
Business Continuity Planning
- Watch the Event Safety Alliance's webinar on Business Continuity Planning for Pandemics. The eight steps outlined are helpful and useful for emergency planning in any circumstance.
- View Theatre Communications Group's webinar on the Coronavirus Preparedness for Theatres.
- ArtsReady provides ongoing guidance in emergency preparedness and has advice specific to coronavirus and insurance policies.
- Read Springboard for the Arts' blog post on Principals for Ethical Cancellations.
CARES Act / Stimulus Package
- NEA: FAQs and Information for Applicants and Grantees in response to COVID-19
- National Council of Nonprofits: Federal Coronavirus Relief Bills: What Do They Mean for Nonprofits?
- Americans for the Arts: How the CARES Act Supports the Arts Sector Webinar
- US Department of the Treasury - Assistance for Small Businesses
- US Department of the Treasury - Small Business Paycheck Protection Program Info Sheet
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): COVID-19: Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Emergency Coronavirus Funding for Nonprofits - Video
- Council of Nonprofits: Loans Available for Nonprofits in the CARES ActWeb page - Downloadable PDF
- Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund Legislative Update on the CARES Act
- Guidance to Banks on Administering SBA Loans and Grants
- Opportunities for Small Business in the CARES Act of 2020 - Brownstein
Advocacy / Making the Case
- New! Americans for the Arts: Setting Up an Emergency Relief Fund Webinar
- New! American for the Arts:The Economic Impact on the Arts and Culture Sector Dashboard
- New! Grantmakers in the Arts: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Arts Funding: Update and action items
- New! Robert Sterling Clark Foundation: Supporting Our Grantee Partners in the Era of COVID-19
- New! Center for Disaster Philanthropy, "COVID-19 Coronavirus: How Philanthropy Can Respond"
- New! FSG: "Foundations, Use Your Balance Sheet to Help"
- New! ICNL: "Coronavirus and Civic Space: Preserving Human Rights During a Pandemic"
- New! Lauren Smith from FSG, "COVID-19 - Seven Things Philanthropy Can Do"
- New! National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy: "Philanthropy & COVID-19"
- New! National Council of Nonprofits: "The Nonprofit Community Confronts the Coronavirus"
- New! Philanthropy Roundtable: "Philanthropy & COVID-19"
- New! The Chronicle of Philanthropy: "6 Steps for Grant Makers to Take Now to Ensure Nonprofits Recover from Coronavirus Spread"
- New! Trust-Based Philanthropy Project: "Philanthropy Needs to Trust Nonprofits Now More Than Ever"
- New! United Philanthropy Forum: "How Philanthropy Can Respond to COVID-19"
- National Council of Nonprofits - Initial Analysis of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (S. 748)
- COVID-19 and the American Workplace by the U.S Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements by the U.S Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division
- Philanthropy Needs To Trust Nonprofits Now More Than Ever by the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project.
- Americans for the Arts - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource and Response Center
- Americans for the Arts - Arts & Economic Prosperity IV Calculator
- Americans for the Arts - Arts Support Included in Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill
- Americans for the Arts - A dashboard of the Economic Impact of Coronavirus on the Arts and Culture Sector
- The Arts Sector is Being Decimated by COVID-19. What Are Funders Doing in Response? By InsidePhilanthropy
- The Communications Network - Coronavirus Crisis Comms Triage Kit is crowdsourced best practices, resources, and examples of effective crisis communications from foundations and nonprofits.
- Council on Foundations’ Pledge list and Call to Action: Philanthropy's Commitment During COVID-19
- National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Legislative Alert: Congress Considers Next Round of Stimulus Package, including Funding for the Arts
- APAP and Cultural Advocacy Group: Congressional Statement
- Performing Arts Alliance: Nonprofits Need Access to COVID-19 Relief Customizable Message to Congress
- Americans for the Arts / Arts Action Fund: Urge Support for the Arts During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- BACKBONES: Connecting People with Spinal Cord Injury: PeerConnect: Social Time
- Fractured Atlas guide to Fundraising in Difficult Times: Requesting Support.
- Arts Administrators of Color Network: Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund in support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists AND administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal/temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19
- San Francisco Foundation: COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Bay Area nonprofits
- New York Community Trust consortium: NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund: Supporting Small and Mid-size NYC Arts Organizations
- National Endowment for the Arts' updated FAQs in response to COVID
Community Care + Wellbeing
- New! Department of Public Transformation: COVID-19: Creative, Compassionate, Joyful Connections
- New! Springboard for the Arts: Health & Basic Needs Resources
- New! The Revolution Will Be Served On A Plate by Artist and Healer Sarah White on Pollen
- New! Harvard Business Review: That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief
- New! Harvard Business ReviewLessons from Italy's Response to Coronavirus
- National Public Radio story on Coping with Anxiety Over COVID-19
- New! YNGSPC:Distantly Together Artist Resources for current virtual exhibition spaces, open calls, fundraisers, educators, and student resources.
Communicate clearly with consistent messaging to your staff, artists, volunteers, community, and donors. Providing timely updates on your plans, strategies, and precautions is critical. The websites below give best practices and crisis communication tips.
- PR Boutiques International put together a good list of best practices for communicating during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Advice from a well-regarded PR expert, Peter Panepento, on communicating during a time of crisis, with a link to advice on creating a crisis communication plan.
- While putting safety measures in place, we encourage deep consideration of the stigma associated with COVID-19. As advocates for all artists, we must also ensure that the steps we take are equitable in the treatment of Asian and Asian-American constituents.
- Additionally, be aware of how a visiting artist may be received in your community and how this might impact the artist's experience.
Artist Relief Funding + Grants
- New! Black Spatial Relics - 2020 Micro Grant for Community Care and Collective Research
- New! While at Home | A Creative- This collection of funds and grants aims to only include those that are actively dispersing funds and soliciting applicants.
- New! Disabled Creator and Activist Pandemic Relief - To support disabled activists and creators that have lost honorariums and sales due to conference and event cancelations, volunteers are collecting information to organize a relief fund.
- New! Artist + Activist Relief Fundcreated by The Soze Foundation, TaskForce and Invisible Hand, supports artists + activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19. As of April 1, The Fund has distributed $90,000 to 274 artists + activists.
New! Dance/NYC- COVID-19 Dance Relief Fund invites freelance dance workers and organizations in the NYC area to apply for funding, with special priority given to communities most affected by the virus—including African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American, disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists, and, they note, “those at high risk, including elderly and immunosuppressed artists.”
New! The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund will assist musicians whose gigs and events were canceled due to COVID-19. There will be delay in the distribution of funds, given the overwhelming requests for assistance.
- New! The Foundation for Contemporary Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund will be distributing $1,000 grants to experimental artists who can demonstrate that their exhibitions or performances were cancelled due to the pandemic. Applicants must be individual artists (even if they are representing a larger collective); curators, producers, presenters and organizations are not eligible.
- New! Artist Relief Tree - This fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists (of any type). If you fit this description and your income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis – and you are in need of short-term, immediate financial assistance – Artist Relief Tree would like to help. They will disburse funds in the amount of $250 per person, on a first-come-first-served basis. They will also be accepting donations indefinitely.
- New! Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund is to help at least 100 queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color, but I hope this relief fund will help many queer writers of color it can.
- New! MusiCares - Music industry professionals may apply for basic living assistance (rent or mortgage). Initial grant requests can be made up to $1000 to compensate for canceled work that was scheduled and lost.
New! Freelancers Union Freelancers Relief Fund will offer financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs, including food/food supplies; utility payments; cash assistance to cover income loss.
- New! NYC Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund - Provides support for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by this pandemic in NYC. Click here also if you'd like to donate to the fund.
New! Freelancer COVID-19 Emergency Fund is designed for freelancers affected by COVID-19 and its impact (school closures, client cancellations, medical expenses, inability to pay basic living expenses). They stress that applicants ask for what they need right now—not in the long-term—and to try and pay it forward by eventually contributing back to the fund or another charity supporting freelancers. Applications are on a rolling basis; donations needed.
Action Steps for Residencies
- Create or update your Business Continuity and/or Emergency Preparedness Plan for pandemics.
- Create a plan for critical functions. (i.e. communications, IT, programming). Aim for redundancy and dispersion (i.e. store important information in different places). No one person should hold all the information. Cross-training and documenting processes is key.
- Check inventory of essential items. Examine the supply chain. Stock up in the event there is a quarantine.
- Create a contact tree. Determine who reaches out to whom in the event of an emergency or evacuation. Text chains are great for this!
- Make sure that you have a facility closing plan. If it comes to that, what do you need to do to close up and secure the facility?
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands for 20 seconds or longer, avoid touching your face, sneeze into a tissue or arm, cover your mouth when you cough.
- The only way to prevent the spread of the virus is to minimize close personal contact between those who are infected. Set protocols for staff, volunteers, and artists.
- Develop an excellent residency cleaning protocol. Provide materials to frequently clean surfaces, bathrooms, door handles, etc. Update sanitization and cleaning practices across spaces (see this preventative maintenance example from Banff Centre). Ensure that spaces are stocked with hand sanitizer and soap.
- Plan for absenteeism. Develop a remote work plan and ensure that staff feels comfortable taking time off or working from home.
- Communicate with incoming artists-in-residence to follow the recommendations of their local and state officials around travel. No artist should travel if they are sick; ensure that your policies surrounding cancellations and refunds support this.
- Establish plans on what to do in case an artist becomes sick on campus. How will they quarantine or shelter in place? Where are the nearest medical centers?
- Postpone public gatherings such as open studios, galas, readings, etc. Consider virtual convenings.
- Your property insurance coverage often has communicable disease exclusions. However, if there is an interruption in revenue due to the virus, insurance brokers still recommend that you file a formal claim as each carrier interprets policy language differently, and sometimes the courts will change their interpretations of standard policies.
- Be proactive about talking to funders if you need to change the scope of a granted program. Funders might also be willing to open up restricted funds for operating revenue. However, do your homework: provide a detailed plan, budget, and a clear forecast of how funds will be reallocated. The National Endowment for the Arts can often extend the grant period, the scope, or even the nature of a grant.
- Appeal to donors to help support gaps in revenue.
- Be considerate. Do not ask anything of your staff or artists that you would not ask of yourself or someone you care about deeply.
We are strongest when we are connected. We encourage our members to tap into their local and regional authorities as the situation is changing rapidly. We will continue to keep the network updated as we learn more. And we welcome your calls and emails as we move forward together.
Sources: Alliance of Artists Communities, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, League of American Orchestras, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Theater Communications Group (TCG), and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.