Atlanta, GA – January 29, 2020 – LYRASIS, an innovative full-service technology and services nonprofit, is pleased to announce the receipt of a second round of funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the ongoing Performing Arts Readiness project. The new grant targets $2.3 million toward this second phase, which will build upon the core goal of strengthening resiliency among performing arts organizations by improving emergency preparedness practices.

Over the past several years, the United States has seen numerous performing arts organizations impacted and in some cases their work halted because of environmental emergencies such as fires, hurricanes, flooding and more, as well as by man-made crises. This grant is designed to create awareness and develop preparedness plans in advance of disasters, so that recovery is quicker and more efficient, and to provide information and resources for recovery when crises strike.

The first phase of the Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) project conducted extensive outreach to the performing arts community, including emergency preparedness presentations, webinars, and live workshops; provided online planning tools and case studies; offered six regional “Circuit Rider” mentoring programs to support local adoption of best practices; and awarded 41 grants to assist organizations in developing disaster plans and 10 grants to build networks among arts and culture organizations and first responders.  In addition, PAR staff worked with organizations impacted by disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and more. 

The second phase will continue the work conducted in phase one and will also include:

  • New outreach to university graduate-degree programs in arts management and administration, to encourage inclusion of emergency preparedness as part of their curricula.
  • A focus on safety, security, and environmental issues at performing arts and music festivals.
  • Expansion of information resources (models, best practices, templates, etc.), educational programs, online planning tools, and subgrants to enable organizations of different types and sizes to create emergency or continuity of operations plans and train staff and volunteers in their use.
  • Growing local community-based support and capacity for emergency preparedness and recovery through mentoring via five new Circuit Riders, hosted by local arts and culture organizations.
  • Perform research into field needs and opportunities around preparedness, response and recovery to form a sustainability plan for PAR that integrates support and action among partners and other organizations committed to strengthening cultural arts and heritage in the U.S.

“With support from the Mellon Foundation, LYRASIS, and our project partners, the Performing Arts Readiness project has helped many organizations learn about recent developments in emergency preparedness, disaster recovery, and archiving of their business and historic organizational records.  We are pleased to be able to continue and expand our service to the community and address new areas around festival safety and arts administration education activities,” said Performing Arts Readiness Project Director Tom Clareson.

In addition to LYRASIS, partners engaged in PAR through the project’s Steering Committee are the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, Intermuseum Conservation Association, International Association of Blacks in Dance, Midwest Art Conservation Center, National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response, National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Northeast Document Conservation Center, South Arts, and Western Arts Alliance.