Back up plans for bad weather should include some of these items:
- Put it in writing in the application or contract that you have each artist sign. Be clear if you will want them to do a piece inside, what the size would be, medium, etc. Will the event supply boards, paper, etc.? That way the artists can have an idea ready, and bring materials, like colored pencils, paints, etc. They are here to create art and perform, so if it’s indoors because of weather, that’s OK, as long as they all understand what that means ahead of time.
- Plastic, tarps, duct tape – Be clear about what the event plans to do about covering the artworks. I always bring some of this stuff with me just in case, but the heavier plastic is better for larger art, and is more able to be reused during the event. But it's way too heavy to bring on a plane. Contact your local Home Depot or Lowe's and see if they will be a sponsor and provide these items to the event. You can ask the artists to bring their own, but do you really want to take that chance? This kind of event is all about the art, and if it washes away, that's it, game over. You want to prepare for all kinds of weather, and other issues that may impact your event.
- Staff/Volunteers - Have a designated staff or volunteer watching the weather for the artists. If weather is coming, they can use a bull horn or other volunteers to warn that it’s time to cover. Also enlist a crew with leaf blowers to come and blow off the water on the tarps after the rain.
- Tents – renting tents is an option, but it's expensive. You could actually buy 30 decent tents with weights at $250 each for less than what some will charge you, and then you could reuse them each year if you have someplace to store them. The bad thing about tents (besides the cost) is that it makes it harder and darker to photograph the art work. Some events feel like it separates the crowd from the artists, but it can also control the flow so they aren't walking through the art.
- Insurance - Most events do not buy this insurance, unless it's really a huge event. It's not cheap, but it might be worth it for some events.
The bottom line is prepare for the worst, hope for the best. One of the best events that is prepared for inclement weather I've attended is Chalktoberfest in Marietta, Georgia. One year we had three storms/rains come through in two days, yet we were able to have finished art at the end of the day on Sunday, because of the preparation and planning.