Changing the Tune Breakout Session at Folk Unlocked

Changing the Tune:

Building Resilience for the Folk Community

Folk Unlocked Breakout Session

Folk Unlocked Session Recording


This guide is a companion resource to the Folk Unlocked conference session “Changing the Tune: Pandemic Resilience and Organizational Recovery” held on 22 February 2021. You’ll find links below to the story-sharing opportunities, organizations and resources mentioned in the panel.


In our session presentation, we provided three big picture strategies to support organizational resilience and response in confronting the pandemic or other emergencies. We noted that exactly how you use them are going to look very different for every local context and performer or organization. So what can you do right now to plan for these next few months? In the following short video, our panelists help translate those ideas into concrete advice and considerations depending on if you expect to be performing live, ramping up your virtual shows, or developing new hybrid formats. As we’ve all experienced, pandemic response is a constantly changing landscape, so the guidance in this video, provided in early February 2021, may change as the situation evolves. We’ll start first by introducing the process of scenario planning as an evergreen approach to help guide your decision-making, with links to some useful toolkits to help in this process in the Resources section below.


You can also view this guide as a slideshow at 



The whitepaper “Tough Times Call for Tough Action: A Decision Framework for Nonprofit Leaders and Boards” by SeaChange Capital Partners, providing advice and best practices for leaders to make decisions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


The toolkit “Navigating Uncertain Times: A Scenario Planning Toolkit for the Arts and Culture Sector” by the Wallace Foundation, comprising an overview, examples, hands-on worksheets, and a list of additional literature and resources for scenario planning over the next five years in response to the pandemic


Take a look at Folk Alliance’s webinars! Mark Lourie told us about the importance of production value for those working in the virtual sphere, and several of these sessions cover designing for virtual and streamed events specifically, including Getting the best sound for your livestream and the Legal Landscape of Livestreaming.

Come back to the Changing the Tune project portal in March 2021 for our own toolkit to “Designing Inclusive Virtual Events.”


Arts Organizations at a Crossroads has already released a resource list for organizations considering significant structural shifts or which are in distress, with additional tools and guidance coming soon. See also the Organizations section below for other organizational resources. 

Performing Arts Readiness, whose support makes Changing the Tune possible, regularly presents free webinars on a wide variety of topics related to safety and preparedness. Check out the PAR webinar schedule. Upcoming and available recorded sessions include “Networking for Disaster Management” about how to develop or take part in community emergency response networks, “Business Continuity for Performing Arts Organizations,” and “The Art of Modified Gatherings: Optimizing Online Events” led by Majestic Collaboration co-founders Matthew Kowal and Molly North.


The National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) was founded by a group of like-minded US based independent talent agencies and independent management companies for the purpose of promoting the welfare of our members and their represented artists. NITO advocates for the direct benefit of our members as well as for the indirect benefit of associate members represented in a broad coalition of entities in the live touring ecosystem. Currently, NITO is advocating in Congress the passage of the RESTART, Save Our Stages and HITS Acts as well as supporting, amongst other bills which would benefit the independent music industry community. It also provides informational resources to members, including currently a comparison of streaming platforms and list of socially distanced and drive-in venues operating during the pandemic. US-based managers, talent agencies, touring artists, and live touring professionals can join NITO for access to members-only resources, town halls, and to be part of their community and advocacy work. 


The National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) is 

a voluntary task force of national, regional, state and local arts organizations, public agencies, and foundations the Coalition helps ensure that artists, arts/cultural organizations, cultural funders, and arts businesses have the capacity and ability to respond effectively to disasters and emergencies affecting the arts and culture sector. Arts Organizations at a Crossroads (OAX) is a project of NCAPER specifically focusing on existential crises and decisions faced by nonprofit and for-profit arts organizations, with an emphasis on governance and management strategies.


ArtsReady is committed to making business continuity planning a priority in the arts, and encourages all arts organizations to develop and maintain readiness plans to ensure their sustainability.


The Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) project was formed in the recognition that performing arts organizations are especially vulnerable to disasters and emergencies which can halt performances, sometimes indefinitely, and can put an organization out of business overnight. They bring together knowledge of the performing arts field and expertise in emergency preparedness, providing grants, informational resources, consulting, and training to organizations to support in their development of emergency preparedness plans and networks.

Are you a musician interested in being part of Project Joy Bomb from the Handsome Little Devils, a community seeking to bring Project Joy Bomb to your area, or an organization interested in connecting with them? They want to hear from you! Learn more about their work and connect.

Additional projects mentioned

Are you a musician interested in being part of Project Joy Bomb from the Handsome Little Devils, a community seeking to bring Project Joy Bomb to your area, or an organization interested in connecting with them? They want to hear from you! Learn more about their work and connect.


Mollie mentioned the Alliance@Work project that involves theatre performers in providing corporate and personal training.

Matthew mentioned the Arts and Events Community Resilience Corps, a new model to mobilize mutual aid, increasing paid employment for arts professionals and developing community capacity for emergency or disaster response and recovery.

About the panelists

Mark Lourie

VP of Contemporary at Skyline Artists Agency and founding member of NITO (National Independent Talent Organization)

Mark Lourie is the VP of Contemporary of Skyline Artists Agency and a founding member of the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO). He is also a leader and active advocate within the music community. Mark was involved this past year in the development of the Save Our Stages initiative and has contributed guidance in the past to other community projects, among them The Americana Tour Blueprint, a touring resource for members of the not-for-profit music trade organization. 


Jan Newcomb

Executive Director of the National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER)

Jan Newcomb directed eight arts organizations including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, four arts councils in NY and SC, a community arts center and was Director of Grants at the SC Arts Commission prior to becoming Executive Director of National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness & Emergency Response and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Performing Arts Readiness Project in 2017. She has consulted for Long Wharf Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic, Miami Summer Music Festival, and South Arts. Jan works virtually out of her home in Corning, NY and holds a BA in Music, Hood College; MA in Dance, from GWU. Contact:


Mollie Quinlan-Hayes

Project manager of the Arts Organizations at a Crossroads (OAX), an initiative of NCAPER

Mollie Quinlan-Hayes served as Deputy Director of South Arts in Atlanta, GA, from 2006 through 2020 and has directed the national initiative ArtsReady since its inception following the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mollie has led workshops across the country and online helping arts leaders incorporate readiness planning into their organizational activities and culture, including work around crisis readiness (ArtsReady), accessibility for individuals with disabilities (founding board member of ARTability), and establishing cash reserves (Arizona ArtShare). Mollie is a skilled writer, facilitator and strategic planner, and has served as a speaker and panelist for many organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts and Grantmakers in the Arts. She contributed to the Cultural Placekeeping Handbook, and served as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of NCAPER. Previously, Mollie was with the Arizona Commission on the Arts for 14 years and is a 2015 inaugural class graduate of Executive Arts and Culture Strategy through the University of Pennsylvania and National Arts Strategies. Contact: 


Cole Huling

Artistic Director of the Handsome Little Devils

The artistic manager of performance and production group Handsome Little Devils, Cole is a producer, writer and performer living in Denver, Colorado. She holds a degree in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and worked as a producer in film and TV before joining the Handsome Little Devils, who have traveled the world bringing live interactive and immersive experiences to audiences. Cole has helped to bring the Educational Outreach program to the forefront of the company’s goals, piloting innovative kinds of community partnerships. Perhaps English actor and director David Crellin says it best: “There is no disputing that The Handsome Little Devils are a rare breed of artists, performers, and individuals.  The work they present can only derive from an environment in which there is a sincere devotion to their craft and a humble ambition to make a meaningful contribution to the performing arts, and to the world.”


Matthew Ché Kowal

Co-Founder of Majestic Collaborations

Matthew is a festival coordinator, artistic director, spokesperson, musician, and community leader. His consulting work with Performing Arts Readiness spans agencies, festivals and venues in emergency and disaster preparedness. Contracted by Denver Arts & Venues, the Canadian Government, brands like New Belgium, and festivals like Tour de Fat, and Five Points Jazz Festival, he has organized hundreds of gatherings since 2005, collectively raising over $5 million to raise awareness and resources to capitalize locally-directed initiatives and inspire advocacy. A passionate skill-sharer, Matthew has used collective leadership to arrive at state-of-the-art festivals that are sustainable, safe, and equitable. A recovering marketer with a knack for initiating and identifying trends; he envisioned the experiential learning platform Art of Mass Gatherings Symposium as a way to catalyze emergency preparedness training across multiple stakeholders. Email him at


Jenny Filipetti

Project Consultant, Majestic Collaborations 

Jenny Filipetti is a Milan-based artist and the circuit rider for the Folk Alliance Changing the Tune project. She serves as technical designer for Afro Fashion Week Milan and continues to lead Immersive Denver, a community organization she co-founded to connect Colorado’s experiential creative community and advance efforts around performer and participant safety, agency, access and inclusion. She is also a former member of the faculty of Inworks at the University of Colorado, an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to developing capacities in design thinking and rapid prototyping towards addressing hard human challenges, such as those of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


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