Contact The NJ State Council
on the Arts
Mailing Address:
NJ State Council on the Arts
P.O. Box 306
Trenton, NJ 08625-0306

Office Address:
225 West State Street, 4th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608

Tel: (609) 292-6130
NJ Relay: 711

Preparing for Winter Weather 
As we approach months of sometimes-difficult weather, we all know that "the show must go on," but to what extent should patrons and performers be put at risk due to winter conditions?  More than likely, you are obligated to pay artists and crew for performances, so unless they are unable to travel to the venue, or local or state government has initiated a travel ban, you will likely continue with the performance.  There are things you can do to ensure that the facility and staff are prepared to handle winter storms and freezing temperatures.
Planning and preparing can make a big difference in being safe and keeping your doors open and performances continuing.  Everyone in the organization has a role to play to ensure the permanency of your organization.  One of the most effective ways to share information and motivate people to take steps for personal preparedness is to talk with your staff.  The more informed and prepared they are personally the more prepared they will be to assist in the recovery of your organization.  Share the potential impact of winter storms - from vehicle accidents, carbon monoxide issues, loss of power, water, or heat, and exposure to extremely cold temperatures.  In talking with staff, volunteers, and Board members, emphasize the importance of having supplies ready for at least 3 days.
Who in your organization is responsible for monitoring weather conditions and deciding whether a performance will go on as planned?  Does your organization have an emergency communication plan? If not, this is the time to develop one, and to test it with all board, staff and volunteers.  This will ensure that you can communicate with them effectively in the case of an emergency both during and outside of business hours.  This can be done through email, text, or phone.  Please be sure to start with THIS IS A TEST.  How do you notify patrons of whether a performance is canceled or will still be held, whether because of bad weather or another emergency?  Do you post it on your website, email patrons, alert the media?  You can also practice this with your volunteers, staff, and Board.
Extremely cold weather can have a negative impact on your organization if your facility is not properly maintained. Are pipes properly insulated and is there a back-up power supply (generator) and heating source? This is especially important if the building is inaccessible for a period during below freezing temperatures.  Has the roof been inspected recently for leaks and is there proper insulation in the roof space?  If the roof is not properly maintained, this can cause leaks that might not immediately be noticeable, but over time could cause major structural damage, which might cause your venue to be closed for a period of time. 
If you do decide to hold a performance during difficult weather conditions, special care should be taken to ensure the safety of your artists, staff, and patrons.  Who is responsible for snow and ice removal in parking lots, sidewalks and entrances to venue?  Also make sure that all emergency exits are cleared of snow and ice.  Consider having additional staff or volunteers on hand to assist patrons with walking difficulties. 
Here are some additional resources to consider:
Want to learn more? I'm here to help.
I'm Ellen Korpar, and for the next year I'll be working as New Jersey's Emergency Preparedness Consultant (EPC). Simply put, that means if you're with a New Jersey performing arts organization and you want to make sure you're prepared for emergencies of all kinds, in all the ways you should be, I want to help you - for free.

My work in New Jersey is made possible by the Performing Arts Readiness project (PAR), a national initiative focused on strengthening preparedness efforts of the performing arts sector. We believe preparedness is the key to resiliency, and resiliency means our treasured cultural resources and venues can continue to contribute to communities in the vital ways we've all come to expect.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is a founding partner in the PAR project, and my host for the year. Together we will work to support performing arts organizations of all sizes, and in all disciplines, providing one-on-one consulting and planning services, group trainings, and everything in between. If I haven't met you yet, please feel free to be in touch!

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State. The Council was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, and competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. To learn more about the Council, visit 

The Performing Arts Readiness project was formed in the recognition that performing arts organizations are especially vulnerable to disasters and emergencies that can halt performances, and can put an organization out of business overnight. This multi-year project was launched in January of 2017 through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Project Partners bring together knowledge of the performing arts field and expertise in emergency preparedness. Learn more about the free services, information and support PAR provides, visit