ArtsReady and Emergency Preparedness

South Arts believes that arts and cultural organizations of any size should be prepared for disaster. With proper planning, your organization can be ready to face the unexpected.

Pipes burst. Computers crash. A key staff member leaves. Arts organizations rely on increasingly complex systems, infrastructure, and personnel to conduct their work and serve constituents. Hurricanes descend. Wildfires engulf. Civil unrest shakes a community. In the aftermath of an emergency, a community often looks to their local arts and cultural sector for healing and understanding. Whether an emergency stems from inside your organization or from the outside, a readiness plan (often called an emergency preparedness plan or business continuity plan) can help you weather the storm and rise up with resilience so you can be there for your constituents. 

South Arts and our partners at the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) have launched dPlan|ArtsReady—a revamped version of our original ArtsReady tool combined with NEDCC's dPlan service—to guide arts and cultural organizations through the process of developing an emergency preparedness plan. Using our tool or one of the other preparedness resources below, you can develop a plan and prepare for any crisis.

The Importance of Having a Plan

What Is A Readiness Plan?

dPlan ArtsReady logo

A readiness plan is a combination of documents, processes, and training that formulates what your organization will do should the unexpected occur. It follows an “all-hazards” approach, because anything can and may happen to your organization. Creating a readiness plan means making decisions about how you will respond, and collecting all of the information and documents that you will need, before a crisis hits, so you can respond and get your organization back up and running smoothly. A readiness plan is critical to preserve precious time and energy when seconds matter. The dPlan|ArtsReady tool can guide you through the process of crafting a plan or you can create your own using the resources below. Read our 12 readiness "must haves" to get started!

The 12 "Must Haves" to Building Your Readiness Plan

ArtsReady: Your Guide to Readiness Planning

In partnership with the NEDCC, the new dPlan|ArtsReady tool is a service that guides you through the creation of a readiness plan for your organization. ArtsReady takes an "all hazards" approach to planning: focusing on your essential business needs so you will be prepared for any crisis. The tool walks you through a series of modules—Risk Assessment, Action Items, Critical Stuff, Reports, and Guides and Resources—that explore the critical business functions most arts and cultural organizations rely on every day. By working through the tool with your staff and leadership, dPlan|ArtsReady is your one-stop shop to creating a plan and repository of vital information that you can turn to at any time before, during, or after a crisis.

Ready to Begin Your Plan?

Visit the dPlan|ArtsReady tool to begin your planning process or access your existing readiness plan today!

Sign up for or log in to dPlan|ArtsReady

Video Walkthrough

Learn more about the dPlan|ArtsReady tool and explore the available modules in our brief video walkthrough.



A limited number of free 1-year subscriptions are available to arts organizations. Please complete our online form to request your free year and to receive more information. Note that a credit card number is required for all account registrations, even though your amount due will be $0.

Request a Free Year of Access for Arts Organizations

Individual organizationS

1 year subscription: $59.40 ($4.95/month)

Bulk purchaseS – 10% discount

Please contact to arrange a bulk purchase, e.g. a consortium purchasing on behalf of its members or a state agency purchasing on behalf of state institutions.

Visit the dPlan|ArtsReady tool to subscribe today!

The History of ArtsReady

South Arts began work on a national initiative for preparedness in the arts shortly after the 2005 hurricane season. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we collected and distributed $200,000 to artists and arts organizations affected by the disaster. However, South Arts quickly realized that arts organizations had either no readiness plans or insufficient readiness plans, a problem that made their organizational comebacks after Katrina/Rita challenging, if not impossible. With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and assistance from the University of California/Berkeley’s IT and Continuity staff and the Mississippi Arts Commission, South Arts began researching business continuity. As a result the ArtsReady initiative was born. We started with a library resource for organizations so they could research and learn about planning. Shortly after, with more support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and guidance from our technology partner, Fractured Atlas, we developed the original online ArtsReady platform; version 1.0 of the ArtsReady platform launched in September 2011. We have presented training workshops and webinars across the country, and have been part of the creation and implementation of the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response, and the Performing Arts Readiness project. ArtsReady has received additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and many state and regional partners.

In March 2022, South Arts partnered with the Northeast Document Conservation Center to merge ArtsReady with their preparedness tool dPlan, to create a comprehensive, yet nimble, tool to serve the entire arts, culture, and heritage sector. Through this partnership, the new dPlan|ArtsReady tool was born.

Additional Resources

Whether you use dPlan|ArtsReady to develop and maintain your plan, put one together on your own, or use another service, it is important to have a plan. If ArtsReady is not the right fit for you, the resources below can help you develop the right plan for your organization, so you are ready for anything.

  • What Is a Readiness Plan? 12 "Must Haves". Our one-sheet resource to guide you through the creation of your own readiness plan is free for everyone.
  • The Pocket Response Resource. This free tool holds your vital information, contacts, policies, and resources...and it can fold down to fit inside your wallet! Download the Pocket Response Resource and the instruction guide to keep on-hand for easy access to the information you need at all times.
  • The Performing Arts Readiness Project and LYRASIS Video Library. From walkthroughs on developing an overall readiness plan to detailed topics such as crisis communication management and audience re-engagement, our friends at LYRASIS and the Performing Arts Readiness Project have an ever-growing library of free videos to help you learn more about preparedness.
  • NEDCC's Curated Library of Resources. The team at NEDCC has assembled a library of resources and articles from the Red Cross, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and other leaders in the field of preparedness planning. The library is categorized into topics relevant for your plan, including People, IT, Communications, Programming, etc., to help you find the exact resource you need. And, best of all, it is all completely free.
  • An Arts Field Guide to Federal Disaster Relief. This free field guide, produced by the National Coalition of Arts' Preparedness and Emergency Response, was created to demystify federal disaster relief for the arts and culture sector by helping artists and arts organizations see what’s available, understand clearly what isn’t available, and decide if pursuing federal aid is a good use of time.

Our Friends, Colleagues, and Partners

The network of organizations and groups helping to prepare the field of arts and culture is growing. Connect with our friends and partners to learn more about emergency preparedness, business continuity, and other resources that are available for the field.


For further information about ArtsReady or emergency preparedness resources for your organization, contact Jessyca Holland.

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