NCAPER publicover of Cultural Placemaking Guideshed the Cultural Placekeeping Guide in June 2017 as a way to introduce a network-building approach, called “cultural placekeeping,” for both safeguarding and strengthening local arts and culture communities. Organizing a self-help emergency action network to supplement and coordinate with the existing disaster management system is a way to foster community cohesion and connectedness—important generally and invaluable when a crisis strikes. Relationships built in advance, especially with emergency management personnel, can mean the difference between waiting a few minutes or hours, rather than several days or weeks, to get an email or phone call answered when a disaster happens. Building a better safety net is also about equity and “strength in numbers”—a network of networks that links and serves the diverse constituencies that make up the arts and culture sector.

Download Cultural Placekeeping Guide (PDF, 3.56 MB)


In March 2006, leaders of major arts service and funding organizations and agencies that had been active in relief efforts to artists and artist-centered groups after Hurricanes Katrina/Rita and other recent catastrophic events convened for a national summit to address the inadequacies of the existing, ad hoc emergency safety net within the arts sector. The meeting spawned the formation of a new national (voluntary) task force with a mission to propose and advance a sustainable and coordinated system of support providing access for both artists and arts organizations to comprehensive resources before, during, and after major emergencies. Over the past five years, the cross-disciplinary task force of 20+ veteran ‘art responders’ has activated a three-pronged agenda of educational empowerment, resource development, and public policy advocacy. The National Coalition for Arts' Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) was led by CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund + Artists’ Emergency Resources) and South Arts, working in collaboration with a Steering Committee and field partners. The following organizations serve on the Coalition’s Steering Committee and/or have served as field partners: The Actors Fund, Americans for the Arts, Artist Trust, CERF+, Fractured Atlas, Grantmakers in the Arts, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Mississippi Arts Commission, Musicares, the 4 National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the San Diego Foundation, and South Arts.

Today, NCAPER remains a voluntary network of government agencies, private organizations and individuals dedicated to building and sustaining an organized safety net of services, tools and information for those involved the arts and culture sector–artists, arts/culture organizations and arts businesses–before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. NCAPER is currently hosted by South Arts.