The past decade has seen a rise in natural disasters of increased strength and frequency. Last year was particularly devastating, with multiple hurricanes and wildfires wreaking havoc across the U.S. and neighboring territories. In addition to dealing with displacement and discomfort, many are also dealing with immense destruction and damage.
It is becoming increasingly more important to have a plan for protecting your art in the wake of these unprecedented natural disasters, and many don’t immediately think of ARTA as a potential resource. Particularly over the course of the past year, ARTA has leveraged our technology and extensive vendor network and relationships to be a go-to resource for collectors, conservators, institutions, and insurance firms during times of crisis.
How ARTA can help
ARTA works with local and national agents to collect and pack on a tight timeline. Given that there is generally little — if any — advance notice when these disasters will hit, we do the legwork to coordinate with partner network to find the best options available for urgent transport before, during or after a natural disaster hits. Given these situations change quickly, we offer quotes in real time as new information comes in, communicating with our users over email, phone, and text for constant updates.
In early 2017, a museum in Georgia suffered a storm with extremely high winds, tearing off a portion of the roof. ARTA’s client, a conservation firm, reached out requesting logistical assistance to help remove, pack, and transport 3,000+ works to a secure, climate-controlled local storage facility, then onto their conservation center in Chicago. Time was of the essence, as every moment the work was left in a compromising state, the harder it would be to salvage and/or restore. ARTA leveraged our extensive partner network and strong relationships to secure a local art handling and shipping firm quickly. We also contacted regional firms and identified additional crew to fly in and support the disaster recovery process within a matter of hours. Fortunately, all of the works were saved.
With Hurricane Harvey approaching, ARTA proactively secured fine art transportation and handling firms in advance to prepare for any disaster response efforts. Given our extensive vendor network and strong vendor relations, firms were incredibly responsive and flexible. Once zones were safe to enter, ARTA was able to coordinate various trucks and handlers (at one point, the work was far more than anticipated and we had to bring in additional last- minute crew from San Antonio) to move between various collection and storage points ultimately allowing for the safe removal, packing, shipping, and storage of over 2 tractor trailers (~53 feet trucks) worth of works to safety.
The devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey instilled a heightened sense of panic for those in the path of the Hurricane Irma. Fortunately, we have a sizeable partner network in the Miami region, but resources were booked quickly. Storage facilities were approaching capacity, and began to shut down earlier than planned. Shipping companies scaled back on staff and had limited availability to assist due to safety concerns. ARTA received an unprecedented number of requests from users, and we had a matter of hours to find resources to de-install, pack, and transport entire collections to storage facilities while the situation was evolving every minute. After extensive outreach and coordination between collectors, insurance brokers, insurance carriers, art handlers / transportation firms, and storage facilities, ARTA facilitated safe packing and transport of these collections to a Category 5-ready warehouse.
After Irma passed, ARTA assisted claims and conservation agencies in recovery efforts. Knowing time was of the essence, ARTA was able to secure resources for even obscure regions, such as Naples, Florida, as well as for unique works (one of which required rigging and craning activities that call for permits, barricades, signal men, etc!) in nearly real-time.
ARTA secured several exclusive trucks in preparation for and response to the California wildfires, leveraging our network to hold trucks on reserve for several clients. Our proactive disaster response initiatives saved clients from having to scramble for resources reactively, ensuring guaranteed coverage and providing a more organized and streamlined experience during a chaotic time. On a Sunday coinciding with the end of Art Basel Miami Beach, we were approached with two emergency requests from different clients. Our team discovered one remaining exclusive truck, and upon identifying that the two pick up sites were near each other, we acted as a centralized resource to consolidate the safe removal of works for both clients.
If you are ever in need of timely assistance to protect your art and artifacts before or after a natural disaster, you can contact Team ARTA via any of the channels below:
PHONE, NORTH AMERICA: +1 646.828.7333
PHONE, INTERNATIONAL: +44 (0) 2030 028467
TEXT: +1 646.846.2187
UPDATE: Read more about our disaster relief effort on Forbes.com.