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December 2012

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Arts & Democracy Project saw first hand, through our work to establish a Wellness Center at an evacuation shelter, how arts and culture helped to restore dignity, build community, make connections, and heal. Our colleagues on the Gulf Coast also know the long-term value of arts and culture as part of the sustained recovery from Katrina. 


Arts and culture help people reclaim their identity and their humanity, their voice and their agency. They re-knit the fabric of our communities. And they need to be included proactively as part of disaster planning and recovery. 


On November 28, the Arts & Democracy Project hosted Relief & Recovery: the transformative power of arts and culture, a national conference call that highlighted the use of arts and culture in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters. 


In this e-newsletter, you will find the conference call recording as well as other resources related to the Relief and Recovery call.  


what's your sandy story? Sandy StoryLine is a participatory documentary about Hurricane Sandy and efforts to recover and rebuild our neighborhoods. Using any phone or mobile device, one can create a story by calling or sending a text or picture message. The project is a collaboration between Housing is a Human Right and the MIT Center for Civic Media in partnership with Cowbird, Interoccupy.net, Occupied Stories, and a growing number of media makers and storytellers. Submit your story by clicking here.


Armory Wellness Center provided arts and wellness activities to more than 400 special needs evacuees at the Park Slope Armory shelter in Brooklyn, NY. The programming included performances by artists from across the city, yoga, therapy dogs, knitting circles, religious services, and more. The Wellness Center became the Armory's living room, providing a space for people to gather, share stories and build community. The shelter has closed, however programs continue to be provided for the residents who continue to live in shelter housing. For more information contact activitiesandwellness@gmail.com.  


El Puente & NYC Help-Portrait Since Hurricane Sandy, El Puente youth and staff have been deeply involved in the relief and recovery effort. In addition to organizing a donation collection effort, on December 15 they are partnering with NYC Help-Portrait at three Police Athletic League sites in Staten Island and the Rockaways to provide 200 families in storm-impacted communities with family portraits. If you are interested in volunteering at Help-Portrait, contact 718-387-0404.  


New York Writers Coalition is providing a space for youth and adults to write in and find community in a supportive environment post-Sandy. They have established drop-in writing groups through partnerships with other community organizations. Click here for a list of workshop locations and contact Rose Gorman at rose@nywriterscoalition.org if you are interested in starting a NYWC writing group.


New York Council for the Humanities' Community Conversation Toolkits are a free resource for facilitated discussions about current issues of interest, such as discussing democracy and the meaning of service in our communities. The three toolkits can easily be adapted for community conversations post Hurricane Sandy. To learn more contact Erika Halstead at ehalstead@nyhumanities.org.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Junebug Productions embarked on the Homecoming Project, a place-based storytelling and performance series centered on the universal human rights principle of the "right of return." This has included community meetings, engaging elected officials, and staging elaborate second lines to celebrate the culture and the people that make New Orleans home. 
Transforma is a collective that formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to expand opportunities for artists to use their creativity in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Transforma strategically supported and curated cultural practices that impacted the social and physical environment in New Orleans from 2005 to 2010. You can click here to download a pdf of their book and learn more about their work.  
Creative Recovery Arts Corps 
Creative Recovery Arts Corps
Artists played an important part in the response and recovery efforts after a series of natural disasters hit Australia's state of Queensland in the summer of 2010.
Placestories, an easy to use digital platform enabled artists and community members to share their stories, ideas, and knowledge of how to use arts and creativity as part of disaster recovery. This community is open to all in any part of the world to use for these purposes.



CERF+ is a national artists' service organization whose mission is to safeguard and sustain the careers of craft artists and provide emergency resources that benefit all artists. 

Studio Protector  is the primary resource for individual artists for emergency preparedness and recovery. 


National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response is a cross-disciplinary volunteer task force involving over twenty arts organizations and individual artists.The Coalition is committed to a combined strategy of resource development, educational empowerment and public policy advocacy that ensures an organized, nationwide safety net for artists and the arts organizations that serve them before, during and after disasters. For more information contact Mary Margaret Schoenfeld at mmshoenfeld@gmail.com.  


artsready ArtsReady is a web-based emergency preparedness platform designed to provide arts and cultural organizations with customized business continuity plans for post-crisis sustainability. 



Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) has been on the frontlines offering support to individual artists and arts organizations affected by Hurricane Sandy. COAHSI staff are advocating on behalf of Staten Island-based artists and helping to compile applications for emergency funding. If you need support, fill out this short form, email Monica at mvalenzuela@statenislandarts.org, or call 718-414-6904. 


ny council for art humanities
Hurricane Sandy impacted many of New York's cultural organizations. Libraries lost collections, historic sites were compromised, and museums had to close their doors for extensive clean-up. New York Council for the Humanities is offering grants of up to $1,000 to cover costs for staff members working on storm related clean-up. Contact Lauren Cushnick at lkushnick@nyhumanities.org or 212-993-7864 with questions.


The Andy Warhol Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Lambent Foundation have established an Emergency Relief Fund administered by NYFA, to assist artists with damages and losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Eligible artists can be working in any discipline and reside in Connecticut, New Jersey or New York. The overwhelming majority of grants will range between $1,000 and $5,000, but slightly smaller or larger grants might be made in extraordinary circumstances.  


In response to Hurricane Sandy, the Writers' Fund Committee has set aside grants of up to $500 which can be approved in just a few days. A shortened application form can be found here.

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) has created the special site Hurricane Sandy Recovery Resources with aggregated resources and information for funders and others interested in supporting hurricane recovery efforts. Their goal is to serve as a conduit for information for members and constituents. For more information, contact janet@giarts.org.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, small volunteer-led groups responded quickly to meet the needs of local residents.  Does your neighborhood or school group need immediate funding? Citizens Committee is awarding grants up to $5,000 to volunteer-led groups providing relief to areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. We welcome applications from volunteer-led groups in all five boroughs. Groups may be long-standing, newly established or in the process of forming, and are not required to have non-profit or 501(c)(3) status. Groups without this status will need a fiscal conduit or a bank account if a grant is awarded. 
Brooklyn Recovery Fund
Brooklyn Recovery Fund is a joint effort between the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to create a pooled fund to provide support to Brooklyn's non-profit organizations working with the communities and individuals most affected by Hurricane Sandy. Click here for information about applying and here to donate to the Fund.
Hyde and Watson Foundation is offering emergency grants of up to $5,000 for organizations that lost resources.    
As always, we're proud to highlight the great work in this field to support and cross-pollinate an extraordinary network of artists, cultural workers, policymakers, educators, and activists. Please be in touch, and let us know what you think!
All our best,

Amalia, Caron, Kathie, Javiera, and Michelle
Arts & Democracy Project
In This Newsletter
Creative Relief & Recovery
Resources: Artists & Cultural Organizations
Resources: Volunteer Groups & Non-Profits
Resources for Volunteers
Training Opportunity
Writings & Blogs
Join Our Mailing List



  podcast image

Listen to the recording of Arts & Democracy Project's most recent conference call: Relief & Recovery: The Transformative Power of Arts and Culture here



Sandy Relief Concert

Tuesday 12/18 7PM

Brooklyn Bowl 

   sandy relief concert



Occupy Sandy Bayridge Kitchen Needs Help! It has been more than a month since the kitchen opened and it's going strong! They are looking for lead cooks, and other volunteers to help with food prep, cleaning and driving in order to continue producing up to 2,000 meals a day for people affected by Sandy. For more info contact: 


The Rockaway Disaster Recovery Site is looking for acupuncturists, massage therapists, and musicians to provide overworked disaster volunteers and overstressed residents with onsite bodywork and entertainment. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Brett Cotter at brett@stressisgone.com or 


Rockaway Kids Holiday Carnival is Looking for Volunteers! 

rockaway kids carnival 

On Saturday, 12/22 there will be a carnival to lift the spirits, warm the souls, and bring smiles to the faces of the children and families of the Rockaways! They are looking for performers, marching bands, face painters, stilt walkers, hula hoopers, delicious food and desserts, LOTS of toys, and good spirits and happy faces! Please see the helping form here or get in touch at parade@winkelstudio.com.   



occupy sandy recovery  

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources and volunteers to help people and neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy. They are a coalition of people and organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. 


TimebanksNYC is a citywide network of neighbors helping neighbors. For every hour that a TimeBanksNYC member provides a service or shares a skill with another member, they earn a time credit for the exchange. All New Yorkers are invited to use this resource to earn time credit for yourself or your organization in exchange for volunteering for Hurricane Sandy Relief. For more info contact Jessie at jessie@timebanksnyc.org or 212-442-1202.   




 BuildaBridge Institute 2013

June 5-9, 2013
Philadelphia, PA


BuildaBridge trains artists and community members to effectively serve children and their families in tough places. Their annual Institute has trained over 550 artists in service to their communities since 2002.    



 by Caron Atlas

 Arts & Democracy Project


Cultural Relief: Marking the One Month Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

by Betty Yu

Center for Media Justice


Awesome Creators: Community Arts Relief & Recovery 

by Bob Goldberg    

Exit Strata 


It Seemed Like the Thing to Do

Taking a Creative Response to a Terrible Experience

from Studio Protector 


Hurricane Sandy Arts Recovery Resources 

by Janet Brown

Grantmakers in the Arts


An Evacuee's Letter 

by Miriam Eisenstein-Drachler


Thinking about 

Art at a Time Like This     

Posted by: Exit Strata



The Arts & Democracy Project builds the momentum of a cultural movement that draws on a rich history of arts activism, social justice organizing, and grassroots engagement. Arts & Democracy is a sponsored project of State Voices.


Thank you to our funders, Nathan Cummings Foundation and Open Society Foundations.