Frequently Asked Questions

ArtsReady’s Technology | About Partnership | Members’ Questions

General Questions

What is Readiness Planning?
Creating your Readiness Plan means making decisions about how you will respond to a crisis before one occurs. You and your organization collect all of the information and documents that you will need to take action, so you can get your business operations back up and running as quickly as possible in the face of disaster. There is no one correct design for a Readiness Plan. You need to address the particular size, assets, activities and risks for your own organization in your own particular environment.

Your Readiness Plan should focus on your critical business functions, so your organization can curb loss of service or resources no matter what type or size of disaster you face all-hazards planning. It will likely encompass a combination of documents, processes, and training that formulate what your organization will do when the unexpected occurs. It should be thorough but practical, so it can actually be deployed easily. Files needed for the plan should be maintained as both on- and off-site hard copies, and there should be an accessible electronic version stored securely, and backed up off-site (internet-based cloud storage is ideal, like the ArtsReady Critical Stuff feature). The ArtsReady platform guides organizations like yours through creating such a plan, and the ArtsReady community provides advice, examples, and templates.

How can ArtsReady help make a Readiness Plan?
ArtsReady is a web-based emergency preparedness platform designed to provide arts organizations with customized business continuity plans for post crisis sustainability. We know that arts managers and artists likely don’t have training in readiness planning, and it takes time to learn. ArtsReady takes the leg work out of the process for you. We have gathered the best ideas from continuity experts, and arts administrators who have lived and /worked through crises to develop this easy-to-use planning tool. Watch how it works on this quick five minute tour or you can read more about ArtsReady here.

My area isn’t vulnerable to hurricanes. How will ArtsReady be relevant?
Unfortunately, there are many types of unexpected events that can threaten your operations. Fire, theft, sudden loss of a leader, IT failure, programmatic controversy, and pandemic are just some of the disasters that can impact any organization anytime, anywhere. ArtsReady is designed as “all-hazards planning,” so you are prepared to rebound quickly no matter what interrupts your business operations.

We already have an emergency plan—why do we need ArtsReady?
We applaud you for protecting your assets through readiness planning. Through the ArtsReady, you can share your best practices and examples with the ArtsReady community. Our online platform lets you start wherever you are; if you’ve already done planning in some areas, you’ll record your “Ready” status, upload your existing documents or files, and move on to the next step.

Our research indicates, though, that most organizations do not have plans that consider all of their critical business functions (People Resources, Facilities, Ticketing and Messaging, Finances and Insurance, IT, Productions/ Performances, Exhibits, Programs, and Grantmaking). ArtsReady makes sure all of your areas are covered, and; reminds you to update information regularly so your plan stays current. ArtsReady also centrally stores the work and plans you’ve already done in one easily-accessible, well-organized digital database, and gives you the chance to share your plan with Battle Buddies that you select, so you can get help from a fellow arts agency when you need it most.

Our organization is cash-strapped—I’m not sure we can afford ArtsReady right now.
Consider ArtsReady a type of insurance — a means to protect your valuable assets. Premium Members also receive a free associate membership in Fractured Atlas, which specializes in arts-specific insurance. Finally, your state arts agency, local arts council or arts service organization may be, or can become, an ArtsReady Partner, supporting reduced-cost memberships for a larger group of organizations. Ask us for more information. Meanwhile, join the movement as a Basic Member for free!

Once I finish my plan in ArtsReady, why would I want to keep paying for a subscription?
The only thing more dangerous than no plan is when you are relying on an outdated plan. Keeping your annual Premium Membership current makes sure::
• You have ongoing access to the Critical Stuff stored in ArtsReady.
• You will be prompted annually to review your plan materials, so you can either update them or affirm they are current.
• You are able to respond to regular updates and upgrades in ArtsReady system so your plan stays as relevant as possible.
• You get information about upcoming training, and orientation sessions that new staff and board members can take advantage of.

I already have a daily offsite data backup system, why would I need Critical Stuff?
Great! Each organization should have secure offsite data backup systems. You should also test them regularly AND test your restore function. These are some of the readiness recommendations we make in the Technology section of the ArtsReady Assessment.

However, Critical Stuff is quite different. It’s like your organization’s safety deposit box. It doesn’t store all of your data. It’s a place to store copies of key emergency-relates files. You can upload insurance policies, communications procedures, contact lists, and banking information. You can type up instructions such as how to turn off the water and gas main lines for your facility, or describe how to change your organization’s voicemail messages remotely. You can also link to your own online resources or ArtsReady Library articles that relate closely to your organization. Having such documents, references, and write ups in one central, designated place can eliminate frantic searches for or the loss of vital information while you are already in duress because of a crisis.

I see all kinds of emergency planning tools and resources out there, why did you create a new one?
During our research and community design process, we did not find a tool that addresses all of an arts organization’s unique critical functions,; nor did we find something that is a project management system, a critical data storage facility, and a network for response in one. These four components were all deemed necessary by the advisory team of arts organizations and continuity experts that helped us build ArtsReady.

Also the ArtsReady Library, linked throughout the tool, provides you with pertinent resources from the readiness field in one searchable, sorted database, so you can find what you need to enhance your plan. External links lead to things like trainings from American Alliance of Museums and Heritage Preservation, human resource and finance guidance from Nonprofit Finance Fund, or CompassPoint, or technology preparedness advice from TechSoup . This network and series of references are constantly being updated, so that as a Member of ArtsReady you always have access to the latest developments in business continuity and arts preparedness.

How does ArtsReady connect to FEMA and state/local emergency responders?
ArtsReady is focused on business continuity – restarting your regular operations AFTER the crisis, and after personal, family and human safety and humanitarian needs have been addressed. We encourage you to make connections with your local response and recovery agencies in advance of disaster, including your neighborhood fire and police services, but ArtsReady is not a response agency similar to FEMA. . Our Library and Useful Links sections offer resources and guidelines published by emergency responders. You should particularly look through these resources before a crisis if you are in an area that is known to be vulnerable to particular catastrophic, natural events. For our part, we continuously work to engage with emergency officials on a national level to communicate our mission of readiness in the arts, so they understand our community’s unique needs.

How can ArtsReady help me after an emergency?
Thanks to your ArtsReady plan you will know exactly how to handle your crisis! Also, through the ArtsReady and the Critical Stuff feature, you will immediately be able to access the materials you need for insurance, facility damage mitigation, communications, and so on, from any web connection. You can also choose to activate the ArtsReady Crisis Mode, and share your emergency status and needs with the greater ArtsReady community and your pre-established Battle Buddies. Then, the community or your Buddies can notify you (or your proxy) of what assistance they can provide and when. The ArtsReady community and Library can connect you with people who have been through situations similar to your own that you can call upon for guidance and advice, and our Useful Links has a list of recovery resources.

What customer support does South Arts provide for ArtsReady?
ArtsReady provides a customer service help-desk during Eastern Standard Time/ Daylight Savings business hours. In addition, there are online instructions for each leg of the tool to guide users, and South Arts schedules web-based trainings for each new Partner cohort joining ArtsReady. Plus there are regular, quarterly trainings that any users to participate. Contact Mollie Quinlan-Hayes for more information and support, 404-874-7244 x31.

ArtsReady’s Technology

Why do I get a certificate warning when visiting ArtsReady on my smartphone or tablet?
ArtsReady’s security certificate (or SSL, secure sockets layer) was provided by the well-known and reputable company, Network Solutions. However, a coding problem in some devices, particularly androids, has resulted in recognition issues for sites using Network Solutions and certain other SSL vendors. This bug affects several websites, not just ArtsReady (you can read more about here). Developers at the devices’ companies are working to resolve the issue, but until then you can rest assured that the ArtsReady website is perfectly secure.

Who is hosting the server that houses ArtsReady?
ArtsReady is not hosted on a traditional server. It is hosted by services based in the Amazon Web Services environment. The database and the file storage utilize Amazon RDS, and the application is on Heroku. The source code for the functionality is stored in the web service, GitHub, which is hosted by Rackspace, a different company.

Who is managing the data?
South Arts is responsible for administering the service and all of the data, though we cannot see or access your private organizational files unless you choose to provide permissions through the tool itself.

Where is the server located?
There are no dedicated ArtsReady servers. Only Rackspace, who provides the hosting for GitHub, where our source code is located, is based in Texas. Rackspace has data centers in San Antonio and Dallas (as well as Virginia, the UK and Hong Kong). The application itself is hosted entirely in Amazon Web Services. We are using Amazon’s US East region, which is based in Northern Virginia, for the application. Amazon RDS (the file storage service) is nationally replicated to multiple Amazon regions.

What kind of facility is the server housed in, and how is my sensitive information guaranteed to be secure?
State-of-the-art, ISO-certified, high-security data centers: house Rackspace. For the clearest explanation about the database and application security read about Amazon Hosting, and the Amazon Cloud.

How large is the data storage?
There is no practical limit to the amount of data we can store. It will scale with the service. This is one of the advantages of this kind of cloud hosting.

Is there a smartphone app?
Not yet but it’s on our radar for our next phase. You can access ArtsReady via your smartphone browser though as long as you are somewhere with wireless, 3G, or 4G access.

How is ArtsReady open source and secure?
Only ArtsReady’s development code is open source and available publically through GitHub. That includes the building blocks used to create our site. However, all of the data that the system receives as you sign up, and develop your plan in ArtsReady is separate from GitHub, completely locked away in Amazon RDS. Dividing the two allows us to share the achievements our developers made in coding with the technology community while assuring that everything you do as you create your plan in ArtsReady is private and safe.

At ArtsReady we believe in open source development because we feel that it provides the world with the best technology possible. Developers can share what they have learned, and what problems they have solved with each other, so bugs can get fixed faster, and new, better software and applications can be built. For more about open source here is a great article from E-Commerce News, or you can read this elegant philosophy from the developers at Red Hat.

About Partnerships

My agency is interested in participating as a subsidizing Partner. How do I sign up?
Contact Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, (404) 874-7244 × 31!

I’m interested in being an ArtsReady Partner, but don’t think I can budget the Partner fee. What can I do?
We can work with you to find funders and collaborators to underwrite your constituent base. We can also work with your existing budget to develop a program that works for your current situation.

Why are you charging organizations a subscription, even a small amount, if a Partner is already paying into the initiative?
We know in our commercial culture that a dollar amount represents value. To offer this free would be promoting a misperception about its value. Also, we are very committed to making sure that ArtsReady is there, running and up to date if an organization has a crisis. A subscription basis makes sure we have direct contact with each user group at least once a year to keep them active and updated.

Members’ Questions

I have an account with ArtsReady already but can’t remember my password…
Basic Membership doesn’t require a password. You can search the community resources, and learn about preparedness at your leisure.
If you are a Premium Member, your ArtsReady Team manager can help you. To do so, they must log into ArtsReady, go to “Settings” on the top right of the screen, and open the “Our Team” tab. Next to your name, have the manager select “Reset Password.” You will receive an automatic email with instructions for re-creating your password.

If you are a Premium Member, your ArtsReady Team manager can help you. To do so, they must log into ArtsReady and go to “Settings” on the top right of the screen. Select the “Our Team” tab. Next to your name have the manager select “Reset Password.” You will receive an email to the address listed in ArtsReady that has a URL linking you to the reset page. If you are the manager or if your manager is unavailable? Contact ArtsReady’s Support! We’re happy to help you.

If you are a manager or if your manager is unavailable

Contact ArtsReady’s Support! We’re happy to help you.

Tell me more about your payment system.
Our new payment application (launched June, 2012) provides our Members with more control and flexibility on future payments for your ArtsReady subscription.

If you were already a Member when it launched, next time you log into ArtsReady you will see a prompt on your Dashboard to sign up for a subscription within our system. This can be done anytime at your leisure prior to your expiration/ renewal date. You would not be charged until that time in the future (example: if you signed up with us last April 1, 2012, you would not be charged until April 1, 2013 even if you put in your information today). Otherwise, you can choose to wait until your renewal date nears. At that time, we will prompt you to re-subscribe if you have not already done so. Until you enter your payment information you will see a placeholder account ending in “0027” as a default. Unfortunately we could not automate the subscription set up, because to provide the best security possible, we have never retained any key payment information for your account.

Members that join after the payment system launched will always be accurately represented in our subscription system. To learn more about how it works, please visit the Billing Help Page.

Why can’t I change my payment format from checking to a credit card (or vice versa) online in the new system?
Unfortunately our ecommerce account does not support switching from Credit Card to e-Check via your online billing information. You can change only within the same payment method. Read the ‘official’ explanation here (go down to the error codes and look at E00036). If you need to change your method of payment from on type to the other, contact the team at ArtsReady for assistance.

I am a Premium Member and would like to learn more about my Fractured Atlas benefit.
Fractured Atlas is a New York-based service organization that focuses on professional development, insurance guidance and technology services for artists and arts organizations. As a Premium ArtsReady member you get free access to their associate level membership. That comes with everything they offer—advice for insurance, workshops, online representation—the list goes on! The only exclusion is access to fiscal sponsorship. Check out Fractured Atlas’ website to see everything they offer!

As a Premium ArtsReady Member, I forgot my Fractured Atlas membership information. In fact I’m not even sure I signed up for my Fractured Atlas membership.
Contact our fantastic friends at Fractured Atlas. They’ll double check and guide you through the process as needed.

As a Premium Member, what should my first steps be in ArtsReady?_*
Great question! There are three important first steps to starting your readiness plan in ArtsReady…

  1. Add a second user to your organization, in case you become unavailable for some reason.
  2. Do the ArtsReady Assessment for your organization.
  3. Join the Battle Buddy Network.

To learn more about these tasks visit the Help page for the Dashboard.

I am a Premium Member and am having a hard time with an aspect of the platform.
Please visit ArtsReady Help. There you’ll find detailed instructions about each section of the platform including: the Dashboard, Declaring a Crisis, the Assessment, To-Do List, Battle Buddy Network, and Critical Stuff and Library.

Did we miss your question? Ask us at

ArtsReady is a
national initiative of:

South Arts