This artwork by Denver artist Dion Harris created for Majestic Collaborations depicts the dual roles as event producers on “sunny days” and community responders in times of emergency that the Art of Creative Resilience suggests arts and event professionals and organizations are uniquely equipped to serve.

The Art of Creative Resilience

The Art of Creative Resilience is the conviction that artists and event professionals have the ability to be leaders and responders for their entire communities in times of crisis when suitably prepared. It recognizes that the same skills required to produce safe, accessible, sustainable live events are transferable to contexts requiring any combination of the development of temporary infrastructure, management of large groups of people, and support of community mental health and wellness.

Our nation’s emergency response agencies have already identified the advantages of a “whole community approach” to preparedness that involves our arts and cultural workers. We believe the time is now for governments to invest in the development of a new creative resilience ecosystem of jobs, certifications, training, and service models that would reduce the economic vulnerability of arts and events workers and small businesses and strengthen capacity for equitable and community-driven disaster mitigation and response efforts. Learn more about this idea at theartofcreativeresilience.com and read our program proposal, survey initiatives, and other work below to start building this future today.

A PROGRAM PROPOSAL FOR CREATIVE RESILIENCE

Based on the tenets of the Art of Creative Resilience, Majestic Collaborations and Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) have developed a proposal for an integrated arts workforce and infrastructure development program to strengthen community capacity for disaster mitigation and response efforts and reduce the economic vulnerability of arts and events workers and small businesses in states and municipalities. It comprises the two following core mechanisms:

Creative Resilience Workforce Development

Jumpstart pandemic recovery and generate a more resilient creative economy by providing versatile skills training and alternative income and work streams for arts, cultural, and event professionals. This increases the emergency preparedness, safety, accessibility, and sustainability of arts and cultural programming as well as trains industry professionals for intersectional work in disaster mitigation and emergency response efforts.

Creative Resilience Infrastructure Development

Assess, inventory and map the skills and resiliency infrastructure stewarded by arts and events workers. Increase regional resilience ratings by equipping performance venues to serve as multi-functional community resilience hubs through a grants program for infrastructure development, training, and consultation, helping fortify communities against future impacts of emergencies and disasters.

Our program design is based on our organizations’ past experience producing experiential training for event workers through the Art of Mass Gatherings and our facilitation of the development of emergency response networks for performing arts and cultural organizations. We believe the model for community resilience we propose here is essential as we continue to respond to the pandemic and its economic impacts on America’s creative economy and that it will become even more important as we collectively establish places that are vibrant and fortified against emergencies, natural disasters, and climate change.

The Creative Resilience Workforce and Infrastructure Development programs we’ve outlined can be scaled to address the needs of different cities, towns, and states.

SURVEY

In May 2021, Majestic Collaborations in collaboration with Performing Arts Readiness launched an online survey for arts and events professionals and venues, festivals, and arts organizations to demonstrate the value that creative industries can contribute to building overall community resilience in their regions. Read the press release.

“As we reopen and rebuild, it’s important to come back better. We’ve been excited to see a range of arts resilience initiatives being considered by state governments, ranging from New Deal type work programs to teaching and training programs like the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of the 1970s, and beyond.” explains Matthew Kowal, co-founder of Majestic Collaborations alongside Molly North. “This survey will provide evidence to our government officials that our creative communities have the skills, interest, and desire to serve as hubs and leaders to improve the equity and accessibility of events and emergency response efforts in their regions.”

If you’d like to advocate for the creation of these kinds of opportunities for our creative industries, fill out the survey that best matches your role! On average each takes just five minutes to complete.

The Art of Creative Resilience Today

Although we coined the term the Art of Creative Resilience, our vision is rooted in the seeds of existing practices. Our unique contributions to this growing ecosystem of work include our program’s direct focus on supporting artists and events workers and small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our program’s focus on intersectional skills to increase the safety, accessibility, sustainability, and community responsiveness of both events and emergency response efforts. This provides alternative professional gateways for entry into and from the arts, broadening the diversity of people who can consider the arts as a full-time career and fortifying a regional creative sector that is more resilient year-round, including in moments of crisis. 

 

We are in contact and seek ongoing collaboration with fellow organizations to ensure that our work intersects with, meets, and includes broader ecosystem needs and opportunities. Here are a few of the current and proposed programs aligned at the intersections of arts and event production and emergency preparedness and response:

  • The Cultural Placekeeping Guide” produced by CERF+ and South Arts for the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) guides arts organizations through the process of creating an emergency action network
  • Performing Arts Readiness regularly hosts a variety of free online trainings and workshops to increase the capacity of event producers and arts leaders to respond to emergencies.
  • The Art of Mass Gatherings is an experiential learning program by Majestic Collaborations that uses festivals as classrooms for arts and events workers to learn skills intersectional to event and emergency response
  • The Crisis Analysis & Mitigation coach training program by the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) and the Air Institute is a remote  learning program to train arts administrators in disaster mitigation and planning
  • The Music Cities project by Sound Diplomacy conducts tailored evaluations and analysis of music and night-time economies to help cities better leverage their music economies to create more inclusive, prosperous music communities
  • The Event Safety Alliance regularly provides training, programming, and networking events related to the intersections of event preparedness and emergency response.
  • The City of Vancouver, Canada has been doing great work in creative and integrative resilience planning. In June 2019, the City of Vancouver’s Office of Resilience partnered with Arts House Melbourne, Resilient Melbourne and 312 Main, to host 70 artists, story-tellers, knowledge holders, scientists and resilience practitioners at a Creative Lab aimed at sharing and  generating new knowledge and approaches to disaster resilience through the arts. This short video captures the 2 day event, and observations and ideas from participants.
  • The Urban Sustainability Directors Network Resilience Hub initiative is one of a handful of grassroots organizations across the nation working to equip sites in a diversity of communities to become resilience hubs through infrastructure design and informal leadership training.
  • A number of cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and New York, have developed community resilience corps that activate residents to provide needed community services

Are you working on an aligned project that isn’t on this list? Let us know!

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Majestic Collaborations acknowledges that all of its activities take place on ancestral, Indigenous lands.
Majestic Collaborations’ roots are in Denver, CO, the traditional land of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, and others.

Are you a current or aspiring arts or event worker, venue, organization, or small business? Take the 5-minute survey to demonstrate the value that creative industries can contribute to communities. Show our leaders that now is the time for meaningful investment in the future of our creative workers and organizations.

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