Our March Class and Instructor Spotlight is the Performing Arts Readiness project. We have three free PAR classes coming up in March:

Networking for Disaster Management in the Performing Arts
March 7, 2 - 4 p.m. EST

Health and Safety for Performing Arts Organizations
March 14, 2 - 3:30 p.m. EST

Lessons Learned from the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival Shooting
March 21, 2 - 3:30 p.m. EST

For March, we spoke with Lyrasis' Steve Eberhardt and Tom Clareson about the Performing Arts Readiness project. Since its inception in 2017, they have helped facilitate more than 250 free Performing Arts Readiness classes on everything from preparing for natural disasters to dealing with crisis situations to risk assessment.

Tom Clareson is Project Director of the Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) project. He serves as Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services at Lyrasis, consulting and teaching nationally and internationally on preservation, disaster preparedness, digitization, digital preservation, special collections/archives, remote storage, funding, strategic planning and advocacy for libraries, archives and museums. Clareson serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, and the Board of Directors of LancasterChorale (Ohio).

Steve Eberhardt is the Project Coordinator of the PAR project. Steve has coordinated collaborative grant-funded projects at Lyrasis for 20 years, including a 2006-2008 Mellon Foundation-funded grant that assisted academic libraries in their recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. His most recent project provided training, grants and consultations to preserve photographic and audiovisual collections at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Tell us more about the Performing Arts Readiness Program. How did it begin?

SE: The PAR project was launched following a planning project in 2016 that found that most performing arts organizations did not have emergency plans, did not see planning as a priority, or were unaware of the need for planning. These findings were part of the reason the Mellon Foundation funded the first round of the PAR project in 2017.

The project provides classes, resources, outreach and funding to a wide variety of producing and presenting organizations. This can include organizations as diverse as a touring dance company or a historic theater. Each type of organization will have unique preparedness needs.

Our current partners are: ArtsReady at South Arts, Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, ICA-Art Conservation, International Association of Blacks in Dance, Lyrasis, Midwest Art Conservation Center, National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness and Emergency Response, National Performance Network, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Northeast Document Conservation Center, and the Western Arts Alliance.

PAR offers classes on localized emergencies, regional disasters, catastrophic events, active shooter response and building networks for disaster preparedness and response. There are so many unpredictable situations that can arise for institutions. How do you help institutions be ready for a wide range of disasters?

SE: PAR helps organizations prepare for emergencies by offering training on various topics (such as crisis communication, networking and business continuity), providing funding for Emergency Planning Grants and Network development, providing resources (such as sample emergency plans, case studies and online planning tools), and funding Emergency Preparedness Consultants.

We also support the Art of Mass Gatherings effort that provides hands-on training for emergency preparedness for festivals and outdoor events.

TC: And, because we know that arts and culture professionals cannot always attend webinars during the regular workday, we have recorded versions of each of our classes available 24/7/365.

Can you tell us how you find expert instructors?

SE: Our instructors are experts in their specific areas of preparedness and are found through networking in various communities.

TC: PAR has arts professionals, emergency managers, and event producers teaching our classes and talking about their real-life experiences. They provide information that can help arts organizations, but we also see many libraries, archives and museums taking the classes, because PAR webinars cover a variety of unique topics.

Now, for fun: What are you reading, listening to, or watching?

SE: I am VERY excited about the release of Dune 2! The first film is one of my favorites.

TC:  Listening to Alvvays’ Blue Rev and hometown band Beartooth’s The Surface. Recently I watched the Bob Marley: One Love movie on the big screen, and Dumb Money on Netflix. And I'm also reading all of the S. A. Crosby mystery novels I can get my hands on!