Extreme weather and natural and human-generated disasters require artists, cultural workers, arts organizations, and arts-related businesses to be in an ongoing disaster preparedness and recovery state. Communities in every part of the country now have to prepare for and respond to emergencies by learning new skills and navigating potential sources of support. The NCAPER Field Guide was created to help demystify federal disaster relief for the arts and culture sector. After a disaster, artists, arts organizations, and others working in arts, culture, and heritage face distinct issues and needs.
Artists’ financial conditions are often more precarious than the general population's, so artists may be more vulnerable to emergencies and disasters. Arts organizations generally operate on tight budgets and likely have limited preparedness and recovery procedures. Disasters can wreak havoc on the arts and culture sector.
Knowing about and accessing disaster relief resources from the federal government feels like – and genuinely is – a stretch for most artists, cultural workers, and arts nonprofits. This is especially true in the stressful aftermath of a disaster. Resources that cater to the arts sector tend to be informational and technical. Sporadically, there may be federal relief grants directed to the arts. However, financial resources that are available to everyone after a disaster can be helpful to the arts sector. This guide aims to help artists and organizations see what’s available, understand what isn’t available, and decide if pursuing federal aid is a good use of time.