Real World Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Practice CLE/CPE

Monday, May 11, 4:00 p.m. with a rofftop reception following the program
Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar

Co-sponsored by the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation
Using a lively format, Mike Downey and our expert panel: James Guest, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri; Patricia Lee, Saint Louis University School of Law; and Jennifer Schwendemann, Husch Blackwell; will examine everyday issues of professional responsibility and ethics in pro bono and public interest practice. The faculty will discuss hypothetical fact patterns to address common issues that attorneys and accountants may encounter when undertaking pro bono representation, including confidentiality and conflicts, limited scope representation and communication difficulties. Free but reservations are requested. Please send an email to

UMB Gift

During our December board meeting, VLAA Board Member Arthur Clyne (left), vice president and wealth advisor, UMB Investment & Wealth Management, gave Board President Matthew Smith (right) a $5,000 check from UMB. The generous gift will help underwrite our new "responsive design" website and our ARTtalks program. ARTtalks features engaging presentations followed by networking receptions.During our last board meeting, VLAA Board Member Arthur Clyne (left), vice president and wealth advisor, UMB Investment & Wealth Management, gave Board President Matthew Smith (right) a $5,000 check from UMB. The generous gift will help underwrite our new "responsive design" website and our ARTtalks program. ARTtalks features engaging presentations followed by networking receptions.

Tax Prep at Metropolitan Artist Lofts

Thanks to the Gateway EITC Community Coalition's amazing volunteers, under the leadership of Executive Director Russ Signorino, for helping 16 grateful artists, including Michael Martinez (left) with Rain Yang (right), prepare their tax returns on March 12. And thanks to Metropolitan Artist Lofts for hosting.



Copyright Clinic

Kenny DeShields (left) was among the 35 artists who attended our Copyright Clinic on February 24.The program began with an overview of copyright basics presented by VLAA Board Member Dan Cohn, Husch Blackwell. Then Harley Blosser, Polster Lieder; Dennis Donahue, CreatiVenture Law; Eric Kayira and John Kepler did one-on-one consultations. "This is awesome," DeShields said. "Thank you guys so much."






Every Artist Insured

Thanks to SLU law students Katelyn Daniel, Srishti Miglani and Talia Linneman (left) for speaking at our Navigating Health Care Reform info session on February 19. The law school is partnering with Missouri Health Care for All to conduct presentations given by health law students and professors throughout Missouri communities. Read more about our campaign.


Artist as Bookkeeper

Our 2014 series of professional development workshops kicked off on Jan. 27 with Artist As Bookkeeper. Peter Thurmond, UHY Advisors, was the speaker. The new edition of our popular booklet, also called Artist as Bookkeeper, is available here.




Thank You Reception 2013

Longtime volunteer attorney Randy Bretton (center) was among the 85+ guests who attended our annual "thank you" reception at the Regional Arts Commission on December 12. Musical entertainment was provided by street performers Fred Walker, saxophone; Steve Franklin, guitar; Bryson Gerard, dulcimer; and Chris Otto, wooden flute.


Celebrating 30 Years of Service in 2012

More than 130 guests celebrated our 30th anniversary at the Metropolitan Artist Lofts on Dec. 6. Located in Grand Center, the newly renovated building, which was developed Dominium of Minneapolis, features 72 units specifically designed as affordable housing to suit the needs of artists. Ten tenants graciously opened their lofts for tours. Executive Director Sue Greenberg’s toast recognizing the Regional Arts Commission and Associate Director Ken Konchel was preceded by Board President Steven Korenblat’s shout out to former board members and volunteers. Co-founder Marvin Nodiff reminisced about our early days, and Rene Dimanche Jr., a recipient of legal pro bono assistance and a Metropolitan Artist Loft resident, thanked our organization for making the region more artist-friendly. The Thin Dimes, a blues/folk band led by Nick Pence, provided musical entertainment. Guests received 30th anniversary note cards that were designed and hand printed by The Firecracker Press, a former client. We will return to Metropolitan Artist Lofts in the spring to offer tenants free tax preparation services and a walk-in legal clinic.
photos: Top (Ray Marklin); Marvin Nodiff (L.D. Ingrum Gallery & Studio); Steven Korenblat (RM); First Row: Rene Dimache Jr., "Mike" Ochonicky and Adelia Parker (LDI); Alex Kersting, Hannah Castellano and Amy Altholz (LDI); Second Row: Roseann Weiss and Terry Good (LDI); Dee Coleman and Mark Pappas (LDI); Third Row: The Thin Dimes -- Paul Rhodes, Nick Pence and Hannah Satterwhite (RM); 30th anniversary note cards (The Firecracker Press)

VLAA Wins 2012 Kick Ass Award

You gotta love the name. We are the delighted recipients of a 2012 Kick Ass Award, complete with the exquisite trophy. Begun in 2004 by Thomas Crone and Stefene Russell, editors of the late culture and literature magazine 52nd City, the awards recognize individuals, businesses, organizations and projects that contribute to the health and vitality of the region, especially the city of St. Louis. During the award event, held on Oct. 25 at the Heavy Anchor in the Bevo neighborhood, we had the pleasure of congratulating the other winners: Juan William Chavez and Kiersten Torrez of NorthSide Workshop, a community center dedicated to cultural and community issues; Emily Piro, founder of St. Lou Fringe Festival; Turner Center for the Arts, a multi-use art studio space offering programming for adults and children with disabilities (and former VLAA client); Minerva Lopez, owner of Gooolll Soccer Apparel and organizer of the Cherokee Street Latino Business Owners Association and the Mexican Cultural Center; Aaron Pritchard, vice president of the Killer Blues Headstone Project, which is providing headstones for blues musicians in unmarked graves; Nicole Hudson Hollway, general manager of the St. Louis Beacon and force behind the St. Louis for the love Facebook page; Tabari Coleman, project director of the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference Institute; Christy Augustin and Pint Size Bakery; Amanda E. Doyle, author, and her husband Brian H. Martson, whose latest is project is Codesteader, a startup for web development education; volunteer extraordinaire Julie Hageman; and Pam Ross, who has spent a lifetime defending the rights of women. The lively awards program began with a special presentation by Holly Schroeder, president, St. Louis Office of Good Deeds, and ended with the presentation of the 2012 Kick Ass Mystery Award to Amy Rome, principal, The Rome Group, which provides consulting services to nonprofit organizations.

Don't say "action" yet!

We couldn’t say "no" to this opportunity. While Daniel R’bibo, president of LA-based Liberty Entertainment Insurance Services, was in St. Louis to speak at Webster University on Sept. 12, he stopped by the Loop to speak to St. Louis-based filmmakers. His overview of film production insurance included general liability, auto, workers' compensation and E&O. While the insurance needs of major productions are more complex than those of low-budget films, R’bibo’s presentation and the lively discussion that followed, touched on several practical issues. For example, everyone agreed that it is important to determine who is an employee and who is an independent contractor both for workers’ compensation and tax purposes. When shooting on location, R’bibo said, pre- and post- walkthroughs with the owner — documented by photographs — will help avoid misunderstandings and facilitate the insurance claim process. He also recommended hiring stunt and pyrotechnic experts...then listening to their advice! The free "What You Should Know About Film Production Insurance" workshop included screenings of three short films provided by our friends at KDHX Community Media: International Documentary Challenge, 2012 Finalist Venom & Fire, directed by Brandon Faris; National Film Challenge, 2011 Best Film Click. Flash, directed by Hannah Macpherson; and 48 Hour Film Project St. Louis 2012 Best Film Imagined Slights, directed by Jake Houvenagle.

More practical information for filmmakers

Sophisticated Charitable Giving CLE/CPE and Rooftop Reception

More than 50 attorneys and accountants attended our fourth annual CLE/CPE and rooftop reception on May 15. Nationally recognized expert Larry Katzenstein (above left), Thompson Coburn LLP, provided an overview of the rules relating to deductibility of charitable contributions, including works of art, and discussed giving vehicles techniques that can be particularly attractive to donors when interest rates are low. Steven Rosenblum, director of planned gifts at the Saint Louis Zoo, provided the nonprofit perspective — with great humor — and described Will to Give, the region’s only community-wide initiative designed to educate donors about the importance of charitable bequest giving. The event was co-sponsored by the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation, now under the leadership of Amelia Bond (above right).
The weather was perfect. Mike Kahn (top left), Lisa Thorp (top right) and Corge Umlauf (above left), were among the volunteers who attended the reception. Silk Pajamas (above right) provided the classy jazz music.

Reaching Beyond St. Louis

When spring approaches, I always look forward to connecting with the members of the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies (MACAA), who meet each March in Columbia. A few days later, I also had the pleasure of attending the Best of Missouri Hands conference in Lake of the Ozarks.

MACAA is a statewide network of more than 70 organizations that enrich rural communities and small cities with arts programming. During their annual conference, these dedicated arts leaders share challenges and go home reinvigorated with new ideas. For the second year, our session was co-presented by Dani Merrick (right), executive director of the Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts. She discussed artist-gallery consignment contracts. My topics were internal controls and document retention and destruction policies. “The VLAA legal and accounting issues session consistently receives the highest scores in our post-retreat evaluations, not only because the information provided is current and practical, but also for its ‘we get it’ delivery,” said MACAA Executive Director Michael Gaines
 (left). “Countless community arts agencies and arts administrators are now more equipped, knowledgeable and able to serve their communities better. VLAA helps us raise the bar!”

Founded in 1989, Best of Missouri Hands educates the public about Missouri’s arts and crafts and supports members by providing professional development and networking opportunities. The organization’s three-day ARTsmart conference featured nationally known speaker, Don Casper; how-to workshops; an exhibit; and several social gatherings. My presentation touched on contracts, copyright and business entities. “Some artists attending the conference are from smaller rural areas, such as Ava and Daisy, so the session was a rare opportunity for them to learn about arts-related legal matters,” said Executive Director Martha Greer (above). “The only complaint was that there was another session at the same time and that the discussion was so valuable that it should have been scheduled all alone.”
— Sue Greenberg

Annual Holiday Reception 2011

Networking, food, drink, music, silent auction and raffle. Board Members Linda Paradis, Dana Lasley and Rebecca Thomas were among the 85 volunteers, clients and other friends who attended our annual holiday reception on Dec. 6. Thanks to the many arts organizations, individual artists and authors who donated raffle prizes. Our silent auction raised nearly $1,000 thanks to the generosity of Evan Benn and area microbreweries (Civil Life Brewing Company, Perennial Artisan Ales, Six Row and Urban Chestnut),  Susan BostwickDennis DeToye and Artmart, The Muny and Lindy Hop St. Louis. The event was held in the Regional Arts Commission’s gallery, where guests also enjoyed hearing Curt Landes on keyboard and seeing Exploring the Figure: Photographs by Jerry Levy and Stan Strembicki.

Woods Added to Artist-Speaker Roster

We are pleased to announce that Eric Woods, founder and owner of The Firecracker Press, has joined our No Artist Left Behind artist-speaker roster. The artists visit area colleges and universities to discuss their experiences and careers, show samples of their work, provide a basic introduction to copyright, contracts and financial matters, and describe our services. Located on Cherokee Street, The Firecracker Press combines antique printing technology with new thinking to design and produce event posters, business cards, party invitations, advertising and other materials. Matty Kleinberg, shop manager, also is making presentations. No Artist Left Behind is funded, in part, by a generous grant from Boeing.

Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Will and Stephanie Zorn. As far as we know, they are our only “his and her” volunteers. Both have been on our roster for more than 15 years. Stephanie works for Energizer Holdings, where she is the senior employee benefits and labor counsel. Will is a sole practitioner; his firm is The Zorn Law Firm, LLC. He also plays guitar with Johnny Vancouver, a post-rock, instrumental band, and bass with Pedestrians, a cover band. While a student at Saint Louis University School of Law he assisted with our case management and briefly held the title of associate director. The Zorns live in Soulard with their son, Ted.

"Having access to supportive organizations and resources like VLAA allows us to be and remain focused on bringing forth our creative vision to the world community."
David A.N. Jackson, artist

"I am a VLAA volunteer because I think it is a great opportunity to help artists and others in the arts community protect their work and learn how intellectual property laws affect their creations and their business."
Jennifer A. Visintine, attorney


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