COVID-19 Reactions and Resources

Given the timeliness and importance of the information it contains, our Spring newsletter for members is being shared publicly.


From the President

Recognizing the huge implications world-wide that are evolving currently, I challenge you to keep in mind – and help our government and community leaders understand – that the creative sector is and will always offer avenues for creatively addressing challenges, healing, understanding, and joy.

We all know the statistics that show the economic impact of the arts, but there are highly valued – and often understated – effects that are powerfully life-changing and community-shaping. Recently, thanks to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, a fresh and inspiring podcast – Divested, Episode 6: Arts and Culture – gave me a much needed shot in the arm in this regard. The podcast shares stories that will reinforce so many reasons why the arts are so important for all our communities – especially now.

Here’s the link to the podcast, and a link the transcript.

Remember that the Arts Matter in more ways than economically, and tell your stories. Especially as we deal with the crisis of the Coronavirus, let’s remember and remind others that the arts should play an important part of coping during the crisis and dealing with the aftermath.

Sincerely,

Amy Wynn
President, Connecticut Arts Alliance and
Executive Director, American Mural Project

P.S. Our thanks to Jonathan Winn of Thrown Stone Theatre Company in Ridgefield for creating the Arts Matter logo.


Help to Gather Data

For our arts and culture community to qualify for all the resources available to us, it is important to gather data about the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are national, state, and, in some cases, regional surveys to complete, and although some questions are repetitive, we do ask that you take the time to complete each one as applicable.

National Survey

The Americans for the Arts’ (AFTA) survey is “designed to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus have had on arts and cultural organizations.” There are over 10,000 arts-related businesses in our state, and we’d like to see a strong showing of responses from Connecticut!

The survey should take only 5 minutes. Be sure to complete only one survey for your organization.


State Survey

In Connecticut, the Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), which the Office of the Arts is a part of, is collecting information from businesses (including nonprofits) to help direct the work of the Governor and the Department. This survey should also take no more than 5 minutes to complete.


Regional Surveys

Finally, the Connecticut Office of the Arts has nine Designated Regional Service Organizations (DRSO) that serve as local field offices. Four of these organizations have developed on-line surveys to gather information on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in their region. If you’re uncertain which region your town is in, please check the listings on the DRSO link in this paragraph.

  • If you are an individual artist, please complete the survey for the city or town in which you reside.
  • If you represent a nonprofit arts organizations or for-profit creative businesses, please complete the survey based on your business location. Again, please complete only one survey for each organization or business.
  • Please note that the regional service organizations for several towns and cities do not have a survey available at this time.

Arts Council of Greater New Haven / TAKE SURVEY

Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County / TAKE SURVEY

Northwest Connecticut Arts Council / TAKE SURVEY (This is a survey for individual artists, musicians, and creative service employees only)

Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition / TAKE SURVEY


Resources and Links

Data and resources available are changing rapidly during this time of crisis, so we’re providing links to governmental and organizational websites that are collecting information of interest to the cultural community.

The State of Connecticut has complied a website of information on COVID-19 and has published a document of Frequently Asked Questions on the State’s Actions Related to COVID-19 . Of particular interest to artists and art organizations may be sections on unemployment (including the Shared Work Program which supplements employees’ pay when their hours are reduced ) and assistance for small businesses and nonprofits. Note that nonprofits are eligible for low-interest Small Business Association loans.

The Alliance, a membership organization for Connecticut nonprofits, has published a COVID-19 Response Resource Center collecting links to Federal and State agency resources.

The Connecticut Council for Philanthropy has also collected Coronavirus Resources for Funders and Nonprofits.

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) has a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource and Response Center. AFTA provides one of the best sites for national information for our creative sector, including up-to-date news and links.

The New England Foundation for the Arts has also compiled a webpage of resources and links for artists and cultural organizations.

Finally, COVID-19 & Freelance Artists is one of the most comprehensive websites of resources we’ve found for individual and freelance artists.
If you’ve found other resources you’d like to share, please email links to info@ctartsalliance.org.

We may be socially distant, but we’re culturally connected, and sustaining each other and our arts and culture community is our top priority now.

Preparing for the Potential Impact of a Pandemic

The following article is shared with permission from ArtsReady, a national initiative of South Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. ArtsReady provides an online emergency preparedness service by and for arts and cultural nonprofits, and it provides arts organizations with customized business continuity plans for post-crisis sustainability.

While the Coronavirus is not widespread in North America, we at CAA do encourage preparedness for epidemics and other emergencies and crises. This is an excellent time to take stock of your own organizational policies and procedures. Please review the following information and suggestions, and adjust them as necessary to the scale and operations of your own organization.

Visit ArtsReady.org for the latest information and to sign up as a Free Member to receive future updates.


Are you ready for a temporary closure? 

In Asia and Europe, public gatherings including performances, museums and festivals have been cancelled and shuttered to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Coronavirus Outbreak Shutters Italian Museums; Event Cancellations Continue in China and South Korea.

While the spread and impact of the virus here in the United States is not yet known, arts organizations should have a plan in the event that, in the interest of public health, your organization needs to delay or cancel events or temporarily close.

Preparing Your Facility Now 

Put hand-sanitizing stations (or additional stations) in lobbies, theater spaces and bathrooms, and make wipes available for people to use on armrests if the surface is wood or metal. 

If you do need to temporarily close, refer to What to Take When you Evacuate. This checklist suggests what your staff should plan to take with them if you must leave your facility on short notice, to be able to continue to work and communicate. 

Ensure you have an up-to-date facility shut-down protocol. Individuals should be aware of their specific responsibilities and processes, including data backup, safe shutdown of IT and other equipment; securing/protecting any assets that require regular attention or are of value (including cash, blank checks, and sensitive artwork); and have a clear protocol to sweep the facility and ensure everyone is out before locking it down.  

Supporting Your Staff and Volunteers 

Inform all staff and volunteers to limit contact with audience members. Look at the tickets rather than taking them and handing them back. Review cancellation and work stoppage policies with staff during a special meeting.

Stay updated on the status in your local area. Identify your local and regional health department personnel and websites to make sure you have the most up-to-date knowledge of the spread of the disease locally. From Heather Noonan at the League of American Orchestras: 

Communicating with Audiences and Stakeholders

Make sure you have a current and clear event cancellation policy.

  • Will you refund tickets, reschedule, or not? Does everyone on staff know your policy? How will you be in touch with your audience? Here’s advice from NCAPER’s Executive Director Jan Newcomb: “Review your ticket refund policy and resend it to all your patrons – you may decide to give credit to people who cancel up to 2 days before their ticketed performance.  You may want to extend that policy to include all other performances during a limited time frame so that sick people stay home.  You should prepare a financial impact statement before you do so, so you know your liability.” 
  • Review all performance contracts to understand your financial liability if you decide to cancel performances. Prepare a financial liability statement for the board.