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NEP Virtual Happy Hour Notes and Resources

Beginning March 26, NEP will host weekly zoom Happy Hour meetings for members to connect and share resources. Please register for upcoming weekly meetings here. Additional meetings will be offered as needed. 

Notes and resources from past meetings can be found below. These are not exact minutes, but reflect topics discussed and resources shared.

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April 23

April 17 - Presenters Consortia Leaders (national)

April 16

April 9

April 7 - Season Announcements

April 2

March 26 

Thursday, April 23

  • Thank you to everyone who has filled out our survey! Survey will remain open until 4/30 if you would like to provide feedback.
  • Based on the preliminary results of the survey, we offered three breakouts 
    • Planning for fall programming 
      • One presenter shared a short survey that went out to artists/agents. This was accompanied by a note that they were gathering this information for contingency planning purposes. Questions are below. 
        • Is [GROUP NAME] still planning on touring in the fall?
        • Would you prefer to try and reschedule the show into the spring or even early summer? (Keeping in mind a second or third wave could make this a challenge as well.)
        • Would you prefer to reschedule the show into the 21-22 season?
        • If applicable: does the artist have their visa yet?
        • If the tour is cancelled, or the  venue cannot be opened, would the artist be willing to create streamed content for our audience (or a combination of our audience and another audience on the tour, but not free and open to everyone)?
        • If the show can happen, but we only are allowed to have a small number of audience members in the house, would you be willing to renegotiate the fee perhaps to a smaller guarantee plus a percentage of streaming income?
        • Would the artist (s) be willing to stream or prerecord a Q and A, or other special offering for the audience?
        • If the above happened, would the artist be willing to do more than one show for the same fee? Perhaps a 6 pm set and an 8 pm set with socially distanced audiences?
    • Engaging with audiences remotely 
      • Some orgs have started offering "creative prompts." Most success with easy to do ideas, such as taking a picture of what's outside your window 
      • Not everyone is able to offer commissions to artists that provide/participate in virtual content, although some orgs can offer micro-commissions
      • VIMEO is offering a free upgrade to live streaming until June 1 
      • Keep in mind licensing when livestreaming
      • Folk Alliance has a number of great webinars about livestreaming 
      • Experimenting with paywalls on live content - you can include a "pay what you can" option, but this is a great way to collect contact information as well 
      • Focus on local/regional artists right now 
      • Still some concerns about oversaturation of content 
    • Financial Impacts 
      • The financial impacts are still developing
      • Almost all orgs are facing some degree of budget cuts, loss of revenue, and staff layoffs/furloughs 
      • Having to make short term decisions while still planning long term
      • Accessing funding such as NEA CARES and Paycheck Protection Program 
      • Share resources with your networks! 
      • Keep connecting with your donors
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    Friday, April 17 - Presenters Consortia Leaders

    • This is a loose national network of consortia leaders across the country 
    • Lots of great resources from APAP and Western Arts Alliance (WAA) are available. 
    • Most networks have hosted at least one virtual call with members, many having standard schedules/breakout groups 
    • Some networks have invited guest panelists 
    • Annual conferences are being converted to online/remote content. Most annual conferences take place in summer months
    • At this point, most orgs are producing some sort of virtual content. Some are experimenting with donations or payments for the content 
    • Connect with your state/regional arts organizations 
    • This is a great time to feature and partner with your local artists and businesses
      • One org has been hosting virtual "Dinner and a show" events, where they partner with a local restaurant offering takeout, and feature a local artist.
    • Keep communicating with your donors, just a phone call can help tremendously 
    • Collect as much data as you can right now, it will be incredibly important 
    • What resources will we need to reopen?
    • Arts advocacy efforts are especially important right now! 

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    Thursday, April 16

    • What have you done to keep your team safe and connected?

      • This varies greatly from team to team, especially depending on size 
      • Weekly or more frequent team meetings 
      • Keep checking in with furloughed staff
      • Institute a no-meeting day so staff can focus on work 
      • Individual check-ins with each staff member, can be short 
      • Optional staff happy hours - no shop talk, yes drinks
      • Keep communication flowing 
    • What is your most immediate concern?
      • Still dealing with the uncertainty - when will we be able to reopen? When will audiences want to gather?
      • How will international artists be impacted?
      • Different restrictions by city/county/state 
      • Can smaller programs still run?
      • Proving the value of the program
      • Navigating staff layoffs/furloughs
      • Converting to digital content in a meaningful way
      • Perception vs reality 
    • What positive changes do you want to see in the post-pandemic world?
      • Greater connection between presenters, artists, and agents - we're all in this together
      • Rethinking the capitalist structure of arts funding
      • New ways to engage audiences
      • A focus on regional artists and businesses
      • Reinforcing the value of the arts
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    Thursday, April 9
    • More organizations are canceling summer events, and planning for the impact on fall events is increasing
    • Some organizations are applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
    • Breakout discussions
      • Conversations with Artists and Agents 
        • Remember that both sides are experiencing loss.
        • Be honest and upfront
        • Focus on local artists
        • If you're part of a large org, check with the legal counsel
      • Digital Responses and content
        • Members are offering interactive sessions as well as curricular needs
        • Look into your own archives before creating new content 
        • This can be a great way to bring in international participation 
        • A concern about over-saturation of digital content right now
        • How can we best engage with audiences?
      • Fundraising amid the crisis
        • Check in with your donors, especially individuals
        • Get creative with digital advertising
        • Ask for contributions, not charity. Desperate, frantic asks are less effective
        • Hope and the power of the arts are something to lean on
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      Tuesday, April 7 - Special topic: Season announcements
      • In general, organizations are giving more time before announcing, or including language regarding possible changes 
      • Navigating the challenges of rescheduled spring shows to the fall
      • How can contracts be issued in a responsible way, with so many unknowns?
      • International artists and projects are especially vulnerable right now
      • How legally binding are LOA/LOI? (Check with your lawyer)
      • Realistic budget cuts 
      • Communication with funders and sponsors
      • Will this exacerbate last minute ticket buying?
      • When to offer refunds to ticket buyers
      • Next steps: a call with agents, presenters, and artists to help get everyone on the same page?
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        Thursday, April 2

        • Things are still changing drastically each week. 
        • Navigating contracts, both for canceled performances and planning for next year. 
        • Keep connecting with artists, agents, and communities. 
        • Are there opportunities for new block booking configurations, with shifted dates?
        • Impacts on our local business partners and funders 
        • Don't lose sight of your mission
        • Communicate, communicate, communicate
        • Break out groups by presenter type 
          • University presenters 
            • How do we serve the broader community?
            • Creating online content, curricular or otherwise
            • Creating value in our work
            • Living with the uncertainty 
            • Some decisions are out of our hands 
          • Independent presenters 
            • How do we deal with clutter next season from rescheduled performances?
            • How can artists help with dealing and healing?
          • Summer festivals 
            • Will the digital market still be viable in the summer, or oversaturated?
            • What level of togetherness is possible remotely?
            • What are our ethical responsibilities, to staff, artists, community?
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          Thursday, March 26

          • First meeting.
          • We recognize that we are facing unprecedented circumstances that will have long term impacts on our field. 
          • Regional Councils are helpful to communicate through and receive info from.
          • There is optimisim around AFTA- loan forgiveness
          • NEA- 75 million dollars for general operating out by early May.
          • All funders are trying to figure out how to release restrictions.
            • NEFA- working hard to figure out how to release all restrictions
              • If you have a grant with NEFA currently feel free to be in touch. 
              • Don’t assume you won’t get the grant. 
              • You will see a survey coming out soon.
              • Don’t make assumptions about funding.
              • All NEST apps are planning to review and award.
            • Concerns about 
              • Will we want to sit in a 300 seat theatre?
              • Not knowing how far out to cancel/plan
              • Revenue loss
              • Honoring and navigating contracts with artists
              • Producing digital content/teaching online 
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