CERF+ Helps Artists Recover from Hurricane Sally and West Coast Wildfires


With the double whammy of COVID-19 and extreme weather events, which have been devastating to creative communities across the nation, the topic of disaster preparedness has never been more relevant. Novità Communications is proud to be working with CERF+ — The Artists Safety Net – a national nonprofit that provides invaluable help to studio artists through training, advocacy, and grants in the face of disaster.

CERF+ is already working with artists who have lost everything from Hurricane Sally and the West Coast Wildfires, but the peak season for natural disasters is not over. With National Preparedness Month upon us, it’s important to get the word out about their emergency relief funds and Studio Protector tool for artists to help prepare and rebuild after a disaster strikes. CERF+ is also hosting a series of virtual workshops on preparedness this fall.

At this crucial moment in history, CERF+’s work is more important than ever.

Kevin Leiva is a ceramic artist from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, whose studio was destroyed by the Gatlinburg wildfires in November of 2016. He used the funds from CERF+ to stock his new studio with supplies and equipment. This image shows him in the rubble of his old studio after the fire. “After wildfires swept through my area and burned down the studio, I felt pretty hopeless, but CERF+ reached out to me and helped me get back on my feet. Thanks to CERF+ I felt hope; it meant everything to my family and me.” –Kevin Leiva

Eric Knoche is a ceramic artist from Asheville, North Carolina, whose studio was destroyed in a fire on February 5, 2019. He used the funds to cover his living expenses while he rebuilt his studio.

“CERF+ helped me get back on my feet. The application was straightforward, the staff was helpful, and the grant money was delivered quickly. I can’t thank CERF+ enough for their support.”–Eric Knoche

With the double whammy of COVID-19 and extreme weather, thousands of artists and artisans around the country are in crisis mode. CERF+ — The Artists Safety Net – a Vermont-based, national non-profit – provides invaluable help in training, advocacy, and grants to this particularly vulnerable segment of the economy. In time for National Preparedness Month this September, CERF+ is proud to announce a series of hands-on preparedness workshops as well as financial assistance and an expanded Studio Protector tool – a comprehensive readiness guide for artists covering studio safety and disaster preparedness. These resources come at a crucial moment in history, as many artists across the nation are struggling both as creatives and as small businesses.

“Natural and man-made disasters are a constant threat to artists’ livelihoods,” states Cornelia Carey, Executive Director of CERF+. “While you may never be prepared for everything, there are always steps you can take to become better equipped than you are now. These are unprecedented times and we feel the urgency to reach as many artists as we can to help them prepare and to assist when disaster has already struck. For professional artists, a studio is not only a place to work but also an archive full of years or even decades of ideas, creative output and supplies. Losses are often impossible to recover.”

CERF+ understands that emergencies don’t take turns, which is why education and preparedness are essential. The Studio Protector is an important digital resource that offers tips on how artists can reduce their risk before, during and after disasters. A few critical areas include: risk assessment; inventory assessment; studio safety; documentation and safe storage; and evacuation planning. CERF+ also offers a robust insurance hub with guidance on various health, business, and disaster insurance plans for artists, and advice dedicated to hurricane and wildfire preparedness, with printable tip sheets that may be useful for arts organizations, community centers and artist collectives.

While preparedness is critical to increasing artists’ resiliency, CERF+ remains at the ready to assist artists working in craft disciplines who face career-threatening emergencies through its Craft Emergency Relief Fund. On an ongoing basis, eligible artists can apply for $3,000 in financial assistance along with opportunities for in-kind donations when they face crises such as: fire, illness, natural disaster, and injury.

In light of National Preparedness Month, CERF+ is also offering a series of virtual workshops to teach artists how to protect their careers from emergencies. Beginning September 30, CERF+ will lead a four-part workshop in collaboration with the Maine Crafts Association and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, and on October 1, a one-hour workshop for the Louisiana Arts Summit.

About CERF+

Since 1985, CERF+ has assisted hundreds of professional artists working in craft disciplines with emergency financial assistance, as well as resources and educational programs for any studio-based artist designed to strengthen and sustain their careers. CERF+ has endeavored to assure the well-being and success of individual artists, but also, through research and advocacy, to advance the needs and status of the craft field. CERF+ is a respected leader in the arts sector, advocating for improving the overall safety net for artists before, during, and after disasters. https://cerfplus.org/