COVID-19: Residency Preparedness + Response FAQ

ACA Staff
March 20, 2020

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 contact 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.


We can no longer be on campus, how do we start working remotely?
We suggest reading the considerations listed on the Fractured Atlas article entitled, How to Transition to a Virtual Workplace Overnight.


How can I help staff cope during this difficult time?
NPR's Renee Montagne spoke to psychologist Maggie Mulqueen and offered some suggestions. Listen to the story here.

An employee of ours has tested positive for COVID-19. What should we do - or not do?
You should send home all employees who worked closely with that employee for a 14-day period of time to ensure the infection does not spread. Before the employee departs, ask them to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (3-6 feet) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those who should be sent home. When sending the employees home, do not identify by name the infected employee or you could risk a violation of confidentiality laws. You may also want to consider asking a cleaning company to undertake a deep cleaning of your affected workspaces. If you work in a shared office building or area, you should inform building management so they can take whatever precautions they deem necessary. Read more from Fisher Phillips Attorneys.


What are the implications around sharing with employees if an employee or artist tests positive?
The employer absolutely has a duty to advise their employees if they have been exposed to COVID-19 but they may not identify the person known or believed to be exposed or ill. You would advise staff that “another employee” or "one of the artists" had been exposed. It is also necessary to avoid identifiers other than name which might lead people to easily conclude who the person is. Please note that HIPAA laws have not been suspended in any way and are still in full force. Read more from Fisher Phillips Attorneys.

If we have to cancel program, how can we continue to support artists?
This is a huge question and one that we will continue to dig into over the coming weeks. We recommend Springboard for the Arts' blog post Principles for Ethical Cancellation as a starting place. Be sure to check out our peer-driven resource page for tips on how other residencies are serving artists remotely. In addition, there are many excellent and evolving resource lists for emergency funding for artists - including:


How long are programs postponing/canceling their residencies for?
Stay up to date on what residency programs are doing by visiting the crowdsourced document - The Ultimate Residency Resource Guide: Residency Preparedness + Response to COVID-19.  

Are artists canceling their upcoming residencies?
Stay up to date on what residency programs are doing by visiting the crowdsourced document - The Ultimate Residency Resource Guide: Residency Preparedness + Response to COVID-19.


How are residencies addressing new cleaning protocols?
An excerpt from AAC's COVID-19 Approaches for Residencies Share-out: From The Steel Yard: Cleaners - we actually added to their work to make sure additional parts of the building are cleaned and sanitized regularly.

Santa Fe Art Institute: Per the New Mexico Governor’s directive, all spaces are closed until April 10. We have committed to pay cleaning staff in that time frame, and that we will keep them updated with any changes. Our language is “banking” the time, but at least they are not losing income.

Stay up to date on what residency programs are doing by visiting the crowdsourced document - The Ultimate Residency Resource Guide: Residency Preparedness + Response to COVID-19.


What should we consider if we are planning to cancel our upcoming events?
Springboard for the Arts developed a guide to help with what to consider and next steps. Read the Principles for Ethical Cancellation here.


How should I be communicating with my funders?
An excerpt from AAC's COVID-19 Approaches for Residencies Share-out: Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, Director of ArtsReady, recommends keeping in clear touch with your funders. You may ask them for a number of modes of support, including:

  1. Loosen requirements on current funding - recognizing that project grant periods need to be extended, and we don't yet know until when.
  2. Reach out to public and private arts funders to ask them to consider pivoting from project support to operational support.
  3. Know that Grantmakers in the Arts is having a webinar with their members later today and it is my hope many of these options will be explored.
  4. The resource Practical Steps During a Time of Uncertainty by Michael Kaiser + DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland outlines additional ideas to assist with financial impact.

Lisa Funderburke Hoffman followd up with: The key is to be proactive. Reach out now with thoughtful and clear communications to let them know how your program is needing to pivot, and what a reforecast in budget looks like.

How do we continue our fundraising efforts?
Fractured Atlas has made available a guide and blank sample documents for organizations to mobilize their fundraising efforts. View their Fundraising in Difficult Times: Requesting Support Guide.

How are organizations contending with missed fundraisers and other gaps in their 2020 funding?
We have been hearing from so many member organizations that had fundraisers planned for spring and summer and are now rescheduling in fall or winter. Some organizations are approaching this with targeted mailings asking for their community to still donate as they normally would. For example, in a recent mailing, A Studio in the Woods writes:

  • All upcoming in-person public programming will be postponed to promote physical distancing. This includes our Writer's Cabin Dedication scheduled for March 18 and Studio on the Half Shell, planned for April 5. We do this out of concern for the safety of our extended family, including our supporters, board, staff, and artists scheduled to take part in this year's gala.
    We depend heavily on Studio on the Half Shell to support our residencies and public programming. If you've bought tickets or a sponsorship, we hope you'll consider converting all or a portion of your purchase to a charitable gift to A Studio in the Woods. We plan on rescheduling all events when it is advisable to do so, and will be reaching out individually to donors about how they would like to proceed.

What government aid is available to United States-based nonprofits?
The current federal administration is looking at up to three different relief packages. Our field needs to advocate with elected officials on the need for the nonprofit sector to be included, and that self-employed individuals also have access to relief funding. Self-employed individuals are often kept out of the loop.
As part of the initial Congressional response to coronavirus, the SBA's Economic Injury Loan Program has received additional funding to provide disaster relief loans, related to COVID-19, with eligibility for nonprofit organizations. If you are a small business, contact your local district SBA office to determine your eligibility. This program is expected to grow as more relief becomes available.


Are there COVID-19 resources geared specifically for my board?
Board Source has a post entitled What Nonprofit Board Members Should Be Doing Right Now to Address the COVID-19 Situation. The board should be working closely with the chief executive to govern and manage the situation, as well as address external threats. While the CEO is responsible for operational planning and executing these plans, the board should be reviewing and responding to the organization’s strategy, and providing feedback.



Visit our COVID-19 Preparedness for Residencies Resources + Approaches
Contribute to The Ultimate Residency Resource Guide: Residency Preparedness + Response to COVID-19
Learn more about #ResidenciesConnect sessions