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Report: North Bay Fires and the Arts, One Year Later

Publication date: 
September, 2018




October 2018 marks the one-year anniversary of the Northern California firestorm. With funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers commissioned Learning for Action, an independent San Francisco-based research firm, to conduct this study to understand the extent of the fires’ impact on the arts community in the three most affected counties: Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino.

The study, North Bay Fired and the Arts, One Year Later, draws upon quantitative and qualitative data collected in each of the three counties from individual artists affected by the fires and from arts organizations serving the region.

Key Findings

Artists have been profoundly impacted by the fires, due to physical and economic loss, as well as emotional trauma that is affecting their ability to continue producing art.

Long-term financial sustainability is top of mind for arts organizations as they work to operate amidst donor fatigue and decreases in earned income since the fires.

The financial and organizational impacts of the fires have been disproportionately felt among arts organizations serving communities of color, as compared to arts organizations that do not actively focus on such communities.

Art has played an important role in the larger community’s healing and rebuilding process, allowing children, families, and communities to make sense of their pain and trauma through creative expression.