Friday, March 06, 2020

Coronavirus & Art #1: Risk Management for Artists & Art Events

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”

It strikes me now is a good time for artists, art teachers, art societies, art organisations as well as art galleries and museums to start thinking through the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) in terms of
  • what are the practical implications 
  • what are the potential risks
  • what mitigating action can be taken.
This is after noting this morning that:
  • art galleries and museums are changing practices
  • art fairs are taking action
  • arts organisations are providing advice
Plus remembering that:
  • not everybody is equipped with the knowledge of how best to prepare and plan for risky situations
  • some might be inclined to snooze at this stage - and then have a really horrible shock later in the year as the impact of the virus hits. 
Don't be one of those who'll be saying "I never thought that......"
    Are you currently sleeping on the job?

    Risk Management for Artists

    I created a Risk Management Resource for Artists for artists some years ago - based on my training in risk management for work.You can find this resource on my Art Business Info for Artists website (in the section on PRACTICE / Office Practices)

    The first half of the first page of "Managing Business Risks" (Version 2)
    This FREE 5 page guide:
    • outlines risk assessment and risk management processes that enable you as an artist to reduce and better manage risks to your art business
    • enables an artist to get a much better appreciation of the relative importance and priority of the different risks you are exposed to and how these might be tackled.
    • Identify all the risks you’re running
    • Identify their relative level of importance
    • Analyse the probability of the risk actually occurring
    • Rank the likelihood and importance of different risks to determine priorities
    • Devise a plan to reduce the likelihood of all major risks occurring

    What's Happening

    Art Galleries and Museums are Changing Practices

    The Louvre closed for three days earlier this week after its staff refused to work, fearful of infection from the museum’s more than 30,000 daily visitors. Yesterday, workers struck a deal with their employers to reopen. The agreement included limiting direct contact between visitors and employees, in effect reducing crowd control in the gallery where the Mona Lisa hangs; a refusal to handle cash, only credit cards; and the distribution among workers of face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
      • Italy’s Museums Reopen With Coronavirus Rule: Stay a Meter Apart | New York Times - I must confess I'm somewhat bemused by the notion that people should stay at least a metre away from one another when visiting an art exhibition.  That would require art galleries to think long and hard about what is a safe number to allow into a gallery to enable that to happen. Apparently reduced attendance makes this easier than you might think!
    All the staff were required to wear masks, and visitors had to present their identification and have their temperature taken at the entrance. For those who reported that they were from those “most affected areas”, more detailed personal information was recorded. According to one article published by Shanghai Museum, ten people from these areas were admitted into the museum and those who showed high temperatures were dissuaded from entering the museum that morning

    Art fairs are taking action

    Some are moving faster than others
    A New York art dealer has been dropped from the Affordable Art Fair’s forthcoming London edition after she disinvited an Asian curator from working at her booth out of concern that his presence would scare away fairgoers worried about the coronavirus. 
    We're also seeing some international events postponed.

    While the international events / art fairs and those galleries which attract international visitors are attracting most attention at the moment, it won't be very long before the level of viral load within each country is such that it's no longer an issue of where you come from - so much as what is safe activity within lots of people you do not know.

    I'm expect there will be a knock-on effect within local art fairs - for both organisers, visitors - as well as the artists attending

    At the moment we just can't tell whether:
    • an artist (or organiser) will be well and able to do all art fairs
    • all art fairs will go ahead or a few or a lot will be cancelled
    • the government will issue orders that all ban all events attracting public of more than ?,000 people (which will almost certainly happen at some point - because it's already happened elsewhere in Europe e.g. some football matches are being played behind closed doors with no crowds)
    • your art insurance will pay out for any cancellations or loss of income or expenditure pre-paid. (DO CHECK what your insurance covers says)
    Hence why planning for all eventualities and having a back up plan makes sense.

    I posted this in the Art Fair Buddies Facebook Group this morning - and it is already generating some sensible thoughts as to a way forward.

    RISK MANAGEMENT for art fair buddies: "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Now Coronavirus is ramping up and we're beginning to get a taster of the very serious effect it's likely to have on things over the next 6 months+, how about a thread thinking through aspects of risk management? i.e. No need to panic - every need to plan

    • what can you identify as a RISK?
    • how likely it is to happen? (Very / more than likely / maybe / unlikely)
    • what happens to you if the risky event/action happens? (e.g. major / minimal impact on income)
    • what are your options for ameliorating or mitigating the risk of 'bad things' (e.g. checking insurance cover; changing practices re taking money; improving ecommerce options)
    • what's your preferred strategy? Do you have one?

    One artist is thinking along the lines of creating videos of a stall for a virtual visit online alongside ecommerce to maintain sales through the worst of it.

    Art Classes, Courses and Workshops

    I wrote this blog post last week after hearing about people who had booked for workshops cancelling their bookings.

    READ Coronavirus, Courses and Cancellations

    Digital rendering of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus protease as a target for antiviral drugs.

    Organisations supporting artists are providing advice

    Some organisations are getting their act together faster than others.
    Do let me know if you know of any others. I'm thinking about planning a page for my Art Business website of practical advice and solutions that people come up with.
    One thing which is going to be critical is how art societies plan and prepare for their annual exhibitions and adjust practices for the current context at the time - which might be a moving target!

    For example - having an excellent virtual art exhibition online seems like a very sensible option to both develop and promote.

    What are the risks? What are the solutions?

    I'll be inviting comments on this topic on my post of this blog post on my Making A Mark Facebook Page

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