On January 11, Alliance for Response NYC hosted “Community Based Recovery After Superstorm Sandy.” Alliance for Response is a national program of Heritage Preservation and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, co-sponsored by FEMA and Heritage Preservation. See my post on Alliance for Response here.
Approximately sixty participants joined together at The Rubin Museum of Art learn from each other’s recovery experiences and identify areas for future training and development. Speakers from Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, The Noguchi Museum, and Martha Graham Dance outlined how they met the challenges of storm surge flooding. The subsequent breakout session asked participants to identify what information and training they wish they had, and how the community could do better in the future to work together during regional emergencies.
One pitfall we can fall into is the idea that recovery takes a week or two. A desire for normalcy causes us to sprint toward the imagined goal and “we’re done!” But this is unrealistic, and many around the area have settled into a year’s worth or more of recovery activity. At this time, another danger is making hasty decisions that jeopardize overall recovery goals, leading to more damage.
Cultural emergency preparedness efforts have traditionally focused on collecting institutions like museums, libraries, and archives. Hurricane Sandy reminded us in a new way that emergency preparedness needs to focus on arts organizations beyond collecting institutions, especially after heavy flooding in Chelsea, downtown, and Brooklyn.
For resources for planning right now, visit Heritage Preservation’s website, and download the ERS app free at the App Store.