VOL. 12 NO. 6
The Blue Moon is published bi-monthly by the
Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency in the
Please send comments, questions and information to the Blue Moon, Kentucky Arts
Council, 500 Mero Street, 21st Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601-1987 or call
502-564-3757, toll free 1-888-833-2787.
The response from local, regional and national arts organizations and artists to the individuals and institutions that suffered damage in the recent hurricanes has been heartfelt and strong. Interventions such as that modeled by former Kentucky Arts Council director Gerri Combs are a perfect example. As Combs was in transition from director of the Kentucky Arts Council to her new position as director of the Southern Arts Federation, she dove into new challenges immediately after the devastating weather of Katrina, organizing a fund to assist New Orleans artists and arts organizations. This kind of generosity and active participation demonstrated the concern and care that people across the country felt for those who experienced the tempests' tantrums. And it is this rapid response that will help individuals, families, and arts organizations land back on their feet and come out swinging.
Kentucky's Artists and Organizations Respond
While there is no way we could acknowledge all of the magnanimous efforts that are taking place to help the thousands of people and many organizations that were effected by the massive storm, we'd like to make mention of a few.
Other organizations designated funds from an already scheduled event to the relief effort. During both public performances of the Lexington Ballet's fall production, The Fabric of Dance, victims of Hurricane Katrina temporarily residing in the area and those who volunteered in the hurricane-affected region were invited to attend at no charge. The Lexington Ballet donated 100% of the proceeds of ticket sales from both nights to Gulf Coat recovery. Anyone who purchased a ticket for the performances enjoyed the highest quality of ballet seen in Lexington and contributed to the assistance of coastal residents. In addition, the funds from the local businesses and organizations that sponsored these performances were also donated.
The Kentucky Art Education Association is participating in the National Art Education Association Southeast region's project to "Give Katrina the Boot." The project involves decorating a white rubber "shrimper's" boot and putting it in a prominent spot for people to put in donations. For more information, please visit www.kyaea.org and scroll down to "Give Katrina the Boot."
Louisville's Fund for the Arts postponed their own annual fund-raising drive to coordinate the ArtsCare Initiative. Volunteers placed easily identifiable yellow collection envelopes in many strategic locations. Everything that was collected through October was donated to the Red Cross. You can go to www.fundforthearts.com or call 502.582.0100 for more information.
Last, but certainly not least, Arts Kentucky has a complete list of agencies and organizations that are participating in ongoing relief efforts. You can access this list at www.artsky.org.
Regional and National Organizations Respond
When major storms create such extensive and catastrophic damage, it is not surprising that arts organizations and venues suffer as well. The National Association for State Arts Agencies has a long list, but here are just a few examples of the loss and economic devastation:
The National Endowment for the Arts offers compelling reasons for why the arts must be included in relief efforts:
In response to the horrific losses sustained by the coastal area, the National Endowment for the Arts and other national arts agencies have established relief funds in order to help rebuild the economies of Hurricane Katrina-affected states. Goals include rebuilding the operational capacity of arts organizations and institutions in affected areas, providing programs to employ displaced artists, arts administrators and arts educators within the affected states, serving the affected communities and displaced families, and assisting communities with design and planning for the future.
Regional efforts include those like that of Swine Palace, the professional theatre associated with the Louisiana State University Department of Theatre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has formed an alliance with arts organizations from across the country to create Arts Unite for Hurricane Relief. The most visible and important component of this campaign is a rapidly expanding website that highlights relief efforts by arts groups from all over the United States. There are housing offers and help for displaced artists and art workers, suggestions for fundraising events, links to donor organizations, and downloadable ads for programs. They are also posting a schedule of events planned for hurricane relief and you can add your event to their calendar. Suggestions for fund raising, offers of housing, pleas for networking for relief events, suggested relief charities to highlight, etc, are greatly appreciated. Visit www.swinepalace.org.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, The Southern Arts Federation, a not-for-profit regional umbrella arts organization that has been making a difference in the arts throughout the South since 1975, established an Emergency Relief Fund to assist arts organizations and artists residing in Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Distribution and decisions on the use of funds will be made by state arts agencies. For more information, contact:
Southern Arts Federation Emergency Relief Fund
Nationally, Americans for the Arts has established the Americans for the Arts Emergency Relief Fund, a permanent fund developed to provide timely financial assistance to areas impacted by a major disaster for the purpose of helping them rebuild the arts in their communities. Created with an initial contribution of $100,000 from Americans for the Arts' own reserves, the relief fund will distribute support directly to local arts agencies to assist with their own recovery or to provide needed services and funding to local nonprofit arts groups and individual artists in affected areas, and to other relief efforts dedicated to helping the arts. One hundred percent of the contributions to the Emergency Relief Fund will go directly to these efforts. For information on how to make a tax-deductible contribution or to apply for funds, visit www.americansforthearts.org.
The double threat of Katrina and Rita presented a tremendous but not unfamiliar challenge to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund. Now in its 20th year, CERF is a recognized specialist in delivery of emergency aid to artists and a leader in national efforts to coordinate emergency relief to all artists. CERF produces and distributes research and policy studies, serves as an advocate for expanding the infrastructure for craft artists, and is a clearinghouse for information and financial assistance for craft artists as well as a focal point of donations for the tightly knit craft community in the aftermath of the storms. "Based on our experience providing aid to last year's hurricane victims, we know that the volume of applications will grow significantly in the next several weeks once craft artists are able to return to their homes and studios and assess the damage. We anticipate an unprecedented demand on our resources," said CERF executive director Cornelia Carey on the CERF Web site.
CERF is delivering assistance in two phases. Phase One is offering immediate aid in the form of grants and/or quick loans of up to $3,500 to cover the most basic expenses (rent, groceries, gas, etc.).Phase Two consists of primarily business loans of up to $8,000 through CERF's Phoenix Loan program. CERF will leverage these larger loans with additional capital from other lenders.
For more information on how you can help, go to www.craftemergency.org. Recovery from the enormous destruction sustained in the South in the past few months will take months, perhaps years, and the need for funds will be ongoing. It is not to late to consider a donation or a second or third contribution, if possible. Contact any one of these organizations or log on to the Arts Kentucky Web site, www.artsky.org, to learn more.