Most artists don’t want to think about what might go wrong in their businesses. It’s not sexy to talk about backing up, getting insurance, or mitigating risk.
Art Biz Blog readers (you!) know that these unsexy topics are necessary to confront.
Do not put this off. Right about now you’re probably saying Bor-ing! and you want to leave. But this is critical.
Take a look at any of the stories on the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) website and you’ll see that many artists haven’t acted in time.
Whether it’s the floods in the Midwest, the hurricanes on the East Coast, the fires in the West, or a freak accident, your livelihood is at risk.
You cannot control disasters. You are a victim to their fury.
You might as well work on the things you can control and mitigate the effects of a natural or manmade disaster. These tips were generated with the help of CERF+.
1. Understand your business insurance coverage.
Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance almost never covers business-related losses or liability. Your art business most assuredly falls under the category of business insurance.
Read your policy! Know where you stand and seek supplemental business insurance if you're not covered.
You need a cushion of savings to get through any disaster. This comes in handy even when the disaster is a prolonged illness.
Put aside money in a savings account to help you survive a rough period.
3. Consider flood insurance.
What is your risk of flooding? Serious flooding can result not just in coastal areas but far inland in low-lying areas and near rivers and streams.
We are currently witnessing the devastation from spring rains and snow thaws and hurricane season begins a month from now.
Be aware that serious flooding sometimes occurs in areas that are not designated as flood zones.
While insurance normally covers water damage from burst pipes or leaking roofs, neither business insurance nor homeowner’s insurance covers damage from “rising water.”
The National Flood Insurance Program sells insurance to cover these risks. You need separate flood insurance policies to cover your home and your business assets, even if your art-related business operates from your home. Renters can also buy this insurance.
4. Back up your computer and store a backup copy in a safe place.
You’ve heard this before, but are you doing it? No one really believes it’s necessary to back up off-site until it’s too late.
A safe offsite location can store copies of your images and critical records such as business documents, sketches, glaze formulas, and process notes. This place should be 50-100 miles away from your studio, where it is unlikely to be affected by the same disaster.
A safe deposit box in your community, while useful, may not be the best place to put this material.
A good option these days might be online storage, like Dropbox. I use Backblaze to back up my computer to the Cloud.
5. Get the Studio Protector.
CERF+ has created the Studio Protector, a terrific and inexpensive tool to help you prepare for an emergency. (One side is shown here.) At only $16, the Studio Protector will help you be savvier about your assets.
Today is MayDay, designated by the Society of American Archivists as a time to encourage those in the cultural communities to prepare for disaster in order to protect our heritage. Your art is part of that heritage.
Share your stories about disaster-related lessons you learned too late. Your experience may prompt another artist to take action this MayDay.