Reopening Arts and Culture

Updated March 2021

As part of a county-wide effort to develop mitigation strategies to help reopen local businesses (led by our parent organization, the Economic Development Board), Creative Sonoma gathered a Creative Sector Work Group to develop a plan for “Best Management Practices” (BMP) customized to reopening arts organizations. These plans provide guidance for what will need to be in place for reopening once allowed by local and/or state health orders.  

BMPs include two key elements: 

  1. The Mitigation Measures that the Sonoma County Health Officer and Department of Health Services have established for reopening businesses. 
  2. Additional and/or customized mitigation practices that an organization can reasonably maintain–and that you believe are essential–to help your employees and your audiences, clients, and/or participants feel safe in re-engaging (once allowed by local and/or state health orders).

These BMPs should be seen as a guide, not a mandate. There is definitely not a “one-size fits-all” answer to reopening each creative organization. BMPs for the Creative Sector and for Summer Camp Producers are posted on this page, along with additional reopening resources pertinent to the creative sector.

Regularly updated tools are available at the EDB’s website, SoCo Launch, including the Business Mitigation Checklist, a link to the County’s Business Self-Certification Assessment, and links to all of the industry-specific BMPs that have been produced. 



  • Facilitator:  Creative Sonoma
  • Industry Leads:  Elizabeth Clary, Alchemia; Marc Hagenlocher, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts; Margie Maynard, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art; Collette Michaud, Children’s Museum of Sonoma County; Anthony Wilson, Sebastopol Center for the Arts; Jacob Yarrow, Green Music Center
  • Best Management Practices Plan


  • Facilitator:  Creative Sonoma
  • Industry Leads:  Wendy Cilman, Santa Rosa Symphony; Heather Cullen, Windsor Performing Arts Academy; Stefanie Hirayama, Move Over Mozart; Patty O’Reilly, Sonoma Conservatory of Dance; Bridget Palmer, Santa Rosa Children’s Theater
  • Best Management Practices Plan

If, after reviewing the published plans found here or on the EDB website, you decide to create your own customized BMP for your specific type of business and would like us to submit it for inclusion in the EDB’s collection, please email it to



These guides are not endorsed by the County of Sonoma Department of Health Services, but are meant as resources for innovative ideas to manage creative spaces and in-person activities safely during a continuing pandemic. 

American Association of Museums:  Considerations for Museum Reopenings (updated January 29, 2021) recommends that museums build flexible plans for reopening that are regularly reviewed and refined based on the latest science. The AAM webpage also includes sample reopening plans from various types of museums (art, historical site, children’s, and more).

American Repertory Theater:  Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater (3rd Edition February 1, 2021) considers areas and practices that may benefit from new protocols and interventions, including overall healthy building strategies, administrative procedures, rehearsals, production operations, and audience interactions.

Event Safety Alliance:  The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide (published May 2020) addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers. The Alliance released their Six Month Update: What We Have Learned About COVID-19 Since May 2020 (published November 2020) to add to the original guide. 

American Camp Association | YMCA of the USA:  Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance (updated January 22, 2021) is an 82-page expansion on the CDC’s one-page reopening decision tool for youth programs and camps; the field guide will be useful to arts and culture organizations that typically operate summer youth programs. 

National Endowment for the Arts:  The Road Forward: Best Practices Tip sheet for Arts Organizations Re-engaging with Audiences or Visitors (published June 2020) is guidance, based on a review and compilation of promising measures that arts organizations are taking to address COVID-19 to date. The list is not prescriptive or comprehensive. It does not supersede guidance from local, state, and national public health authorities.