News and Notes
From the Land of Bad Ideas: Street Performer Auditions
With all due respect, I’ve been wondering if the St. Louis city street officials who conduct mandatory auditions for street performers seeking permits missed their 8th grade social studies classes. If they passed their Bill of Rights exam, they wouldn’t be defending this blatantly unconstitutional practice. The American Civil Liberties Union-Eastern Missouri is suing St. Louis over the way the city approves and regulates street performers. As staunch advocates not only of freedom of expression but also of the benefits street performances bring to the artists, their audiences and our region’s rich cultural fabric, St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts wholeheartedly supports the ACLU’s lawsuit. (Nick Pence and Frederick Walker v. City of Saint Louis)
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.
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.
Sophisticated Charitable Giving CLE/CPE and Rooftop Reception
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.
Annual Holiday Reception 2011
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.
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.