Katrina & Aid for Artists

The victims of hurricane Katrina are begining to receive assistance, and I encourage one and all to continue giving money to various relief efforts. As you know, the need is great and it will remain so for a long time to come. However, as a professional artist I believe the artistic community must also rally and come to the aid of fellow artists in the gulf states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama - where artists have been hit hard by this national tragedy. Americans for the Arts is one organization responding to the crisis. The nonprofit organization has set up a message board where information regarding relief aid to artists and arts institutions can be accessed and posted. Links are also provided to The Southern Arts Federation and Craft Emergency Relief Fund, two well established organizations that are giving direct aid to artists devastated by hurricane Katrina. Bob Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, wrote the following article titled, Get Involved - Arts Community Response to Hurricane Katrina:

“Dear Members and Colleagues,I know you join with me in expressing grief and concern about the devastation from Hurricane Katrina that has affected our colleagues in the mid-south region. Americans for the Arts staff are working hard to connect with our members in the affected regions and to offer help in any way possible. We can report that the damage Katrina inflicted on our members in Florida, when it was a much less powerful storm, was relatively minor. Our members there are moving forward with an assessment to determine the damage to other arts organizations in their region. Greater concern is for those in the gulf states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. We are attempting to reach our members there, and we will keep you updated on any information we receive from our state and local partners.

Members we have talked to in the affected regions have expressed a desperate need for information. In response, Americans for the Arts has set up a bulletin board at www.AmericansfortheArts.org to gather and disseminate information. If you have heard news about how arts organizations, cultural facilities, and artists are faring in the aftermath of the hurricane, please don’t hesitate to submit it for inclusion on the bulletin board. If you know of any initiatives to assist the arts, please feel free to share them as well. Eventually, we hope also to share news and ideas about how arts agencies, organizations, and artists are themselves helping to ease the human suffering that has literally engulfed the region.

If you would like to make a contribution, our regional partner, The Southern Arts Federation, has established an Emergency Relief Fund to assist arts organizations and artists residing in those Gulf Coast communities most devastated by Hurricane Katrina. A donation form can be found on our website. We also recommend that our members consider making a contribution to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). CERF’s Disaster Relief Fund, interest-free loan programs and staff are prepared to respond to professional craft artists who have suffered significant losses. To make a contribution to CERF, please visit their website at www.craftemergency.org.

Lastly, we have been in touch with our colleagues at the National Endowment for the Arts and they are preparing a formal statement, which we will post on our website upon its release. Americans for the Arts is committed to helping those affected by this devastating disaster. We will keep you informed about additional ways in which you can help. If you have any questions regarding our efforts, please contact Mara Walker, chief planning officer, at 202-371-2830.”

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