Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Evacuation Tips for Artists (and crafters) Part 2 the Gustav edition



Whenever we get alerted to something "brewing in the gulf" I tend to get a little antsy. Rollo May, creativity philosopher extraordinare calls this feeling the physical call to action for the artist.He says anxiety is the body's response to do something. I've put together these tips for my fellow artistas who live in areas that may be evacuated so you can do something with the antsy feeling and better prepare yourself should the worst thing happen.

1. What to evacuate with first: pets, people, & papers. The first two need no explanation I hope. The important paperwork you are going to need will be your tax documents from the past three years, your sales records,and insurance, birth certificate, passport. S.B.A. and CERF (Crafters Emergency Relief Fund) require documentation of your livelihood that comes from your art work. Without documentation they simply cannot help you. Also, even if you do not own your own home, you need to have reneters insurance if only to cover all the funds you've out into tools and supplies. Most renter's insurance policies are about $50 a month at the most expensive rates.

2. You need to decide what small supplies/tools you can take along with you to fill the anxious hours (which can turn into days, weeks,) while you wait to see what has happened to your home.Trust me, you will need something small to do to keep yourself occupied. Hopefully you wont need it.I recommend knitting or crotcheting or needlework like sewing leather for the car or hotel.

3. Take along any items you have listed on etsy or take your recent sales and mail them from your evacuation place, not your evacuation city. We lost millions and millions of bits of mail here in Katrina.

4. What you cant take, document. We have been taking photographs of all of our art work and collections and have been posting them to private files on flicker just in case of another freak storm. Insurance cannot pay you the full value if you dont have documentation and the best form is a photograph. If you have receipts those need to be taken with you as well.You cant take everything with you, obviously, so just take a picture and post them to a free shareware site so you know they are safe. You can also back this up by emailing some pics to yourself.

5. Take your most precious big tool or two if you can fit them in the car. We had to sneak back into the city to get our tools of the trade so we could work (under the cities' mandatory evacuation policy we could just look and grab stuff and then had to go). We werent sure about our jobs or employment and needed to make sure we could make money elsewhere. I ended up opening a shop in an antique mall selling my repurposed wares and Heather took carpentry jobs in the area. This also kept us less stressed out as we had something else to focus on. plus we ended up doing pretty well (it didnt hurt that Lucky magazine featured our antique mall just a short time later).

6. Get a copy of your fellow artists' emails and contact numbers just in case. After Katrina we had a few networks of our fellow crafters to comiserate with and hear about art opportunties elsewhere. This helped us feel like we could pick up and move some place if we had to and still have our creative lives somewhat intact.

I hope you never have to use these tips, but just in case, you'll feel less anxious.... One last tip- a certain source, we'll call her deep thrift, has recommended viewing www.weatherunderground.com as a source that civilian governments use to make decisions about evacuations and potential weather events. Be informed about your area in advance so you can make the best decisions for you, your family and your art business.

3 comments:

kim* said...

sweet ride!

Persimmons Gal said...

I love Wisconsin.

I don't know if I could handle that whole evacuation thing well.

Leaves of Glass said...

that's a calm, thorough and very helpful list, k. i hope you're both safe and well. i send you love and i'm thinking about you - let me know how you're doing when you get the chance.