As we gear up for the reopening of Western New York’s arts and cultural sector, Arts Services Initiative will be presenting a new series, Reopening Together, throughout the month of June. Join us for this free weekly series to discuss guidelines and share ideas on how we—as a community—can successfully and safely reopen our creative industry. The sessions took place virtually on Tuesdays in June at 1 PM.

You can find a list of the sessions below, as well as links to various documents and websites with more information. Session topics may be altered depending on need and questions that arise. Additional sessions may also be added. Check back for updates.

Note: ASI cannot provide legal advice. These programs are intended to be educational and to inform you of resources that are available to you. The guidelines for reopening are set by New York State and are being constantly updated. 

Upcoming Sessions

Wednesday, October 14: Storygrowing WNY

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Storygrowing WNY is an initiative of Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and The John R. Oishei Foundation designed to help nonprofits in WNY harness the power of storytelling and nurture your organization’s growth through effective communications training. This session will feature Andy Goodman, nationally acclaimed storyteller, author and speaker, for “Telling Our Stories Now.” The free virtual event will feature updated content and lessons gleaned over the past few months and is open to all nonprofits in Western New York.

Click here to register.

More coming soon. Check back for updates.

Past Sessions

Tuesday, June 2: WNY Arts vs. COVID-19

1:00 – 2:00 PM

Overview of state guidelines, regulations, and requirements as assumed at this point.

Full group webinar led by ASI’s Executive Director, Jennifer Swan-Kilpatrick, and Grants & Programming Director, Holly Grant, with guest speakers Dave Swarts (Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens) and Marisa Wigglesworth (Buffalo Museum of Science), who will speak on the measures and planning for safety and comfort of staff and patrons that they are planning.

For more information on New York State’s reopening and the guidelines for each phase, visit

Click here to download a pdf of the presentation slides.

Click here to watch a recording of the presentation.

Tuesday, June 9: Different Boats, Same Storm

This week will feature breakout discussions addressing specific challenges based on art forms and services provided. Two sessions will run concurrently during each time slot. Please contact Holly Grant at if you would like to view the recording from any of these discussions.

1:00 – 2:30 PM
Performing Arts and Literary Arts   |  Museums, Galleries, and Media Arts

2:45 – 3:45 PM
Outdoor Festivals and Events | Individual Artists

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Workshops and Classes | Organizations that don’t own their own venue and/or rent other venues

Tuesday, June 16: Catching Back Up

1:00 – 2:30 PM

Full group recap presentation addressing some of the questions that arose in previous weeks. We are excited to invite Phil Stokes, Executive Director at Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve, Joy Testa Cinquino from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, and Les Greenbaum, intellectual property attorney at Gross Shuman P.C., to join our presentation and address some of the questions that arose in the previous week.

Materials from presentation:
Click here to view the recording from this presentation.
Click here to download the presentation from Penn Dixie.
Click here to download the presentation from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.
Click here to download the presentation from Les Greenbaum on copyright.

Additional Resources based on the conversations:
NYS Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to visitors who don’t wear a mask.
NYC Health’s FAQ’s sheet on NYS’s face covering law
Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for employees.
ASCAP Guide to Using Copyrighted Music

Tuesday, June 23: Going Forward—Together

1:00 – 2:00 PM

ASI will reveal its WNY arts and culture communications plan and the results from its WNY Patron Intent Survey. ASI will address unanswered questions and roll out the sector-wide communications plan around reopening with unified safety plans and policies.

Click here to download an overview of the WNY Patron Intent Survey Results.

Click here to download a PDF of the powerpoint presentation.

Click here to view the recording of the presentation.

Thursday, June 25: A Conversation with Choral & Singing Ensembles

2:00 – 3:00 PM

The performing arts face some unique challenges in reopening as the practice of these art forms often rely on multiple people being in close proximity. We are inviting all choral and singing ensembles (including opera and musical theatre) to join us for a singing-specific conversation about the challenges and realities of reopening in the fall.  We will be joined by Adam Luebke and Angela Goldberg of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus who will share their research and plans for moving forward.

Click here to view a recording of the discussion.

Click here to download a PDF of the powerpoint presentation.

You can find additional materials about this topic below.

Wednesday, July 29: Conflict Resolution

1:00 – 2:00 PM

Guest speaker Arthur Wheaton from The Worker Institute at Cornell University will lead a discussion around how to navigate new safety measures and mandates, such as mask wearing and extra sanitation, and how to handle audiences and/or guests who may not want to follow the new regulations. This workshop is presented in coordination with the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH).

Click here to download Cornell University’s Conflict Resolution Skills in the Workplace

Click here to download WNYCOSH’s Conflict Resolution


National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response

NY Small Business Development Center’s Reopening and Recovery Checklist

Visit Buffalo Niagara
Buffalo Cares! Stay Safe Pledge

Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Keep Buffalo Niagara Working: A Guide to Reopening Your Business
BNP’s NYS Reopening Guidelines: HR and Legal Implications
Employee Health Screening Form
Employee Health Screening Questionnaire
Hurwitz & Fine COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Guidance for Gatherings and Events
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Reopening America Guidance

Chautauqua County
Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency

City of Buffalo
Reopen Buffalo
Small Business Social Distancing Exterior Premises Use Application

Erie County
Business Report Form for employees who test positive for COVID-19.

National Endowment for the Arts
The Road Forward: Re-engaging with Audiences and Visitors

New York State Guidance and Resources
New York Forward website
Phase 2 Industry Guidance – office and retail
Phase 4 Industry Guidance – arts, entertainment, and recreation
Reopening Safety Plan Template
NYSCA’s Reopening and Recovery Resources

Niagara County
Niagara County Center for Economic Development
NCCC Small Business Development Center

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workspaces for COVID-19
OSHA COVID-19 Website
National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s Safe and Just Return to Work

Cleaning and Disinfection Guidance
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Disinfectants
IAAPA Global Attractions Industry
New York State Department of Health Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfection Public and Private Facilities

Resources for PPE and Cleaning and Disinfecting
NanoSeptic Self-Cleaning Surfaces
The Partnership Center – Free Face Coverings
Range Brokers International – PPE Product Catalog
ServiceMasters – Cleaning and Disinfecting Services
WNY Covid-19 Community Response Fund through VIA – PPE product orders (contact them for next order date)