The Crafts Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) is a 26-year-old service organization providing resources for emergency preparedness – and, when disaster strikes, financial and other assistance to craft artists. Offering a large array of insurance and business topics, CERF+ should be a bookmarked site on your computer.
CERF+ Executive Director Cornelia Carey acknowledges that these subjects aren’t sexy. “They can be boring. Boring, but scary.” Scary, because lack of awareness means artists are at risk as they often don’t know what they need to protect their businesses and livelihood.
Assistance. One of the most important functions that CERF+ performs is helping craft artists recover after a loss or career-threatening emergency. Grants up to $2,500 and loans up to $8,000 are available to craft producers who qualify and request assistance. Other benefits, such as donations of studio equipment, tools and materials can help artists get back on track. And, discounts or waivers of booth fees solicited by CERF+ from show promoters can be obtained as well.
Insurance. Imagine a fire destroying your studio and your inventory. Would your business survive? Carey states that “Seventy percent of artists surveyed have no business insurance at all, or not the appropriate coverage they need.” Likewise, individual health insurance can be difficult to get, and self-employed artists often need resources for these policies as well.
Enter CERF+. They worked with industry partners to put together plans for artists to get coverage, through groups such as Fractured Atlas and Benchmark Insurance. “We didn’t want to scare people into getting insurance without offering them viable options,” says Carey.
Preparedness. An indispensable artist’s guide offered by CERF+ is found at the Studio Protector website. Find everything from safety, cyber-security and preparedness tips, to crucial disaster aid provided by arts organizations and information on recovering from a loss. CERF+ offers a handy wall guide for $16.00 and stories of artists’ real life experiences with loss and recovery.
Carey mentions that future plans include creating resources for artists with disabilities, and more information on how artists can plan to leave their legacy – including documentation and inventorying of their work.
CERF+ and their companion website at Studio Protector have an incredible amount of pertinent information, videos and articles on a wide range of topics. Subscribe to their newsletter for updates.