The Arts & Business Council connects artists and arts organizations with the services, skills, and opportunities they need to thrive from their creative endeavors. To this end, the Arts & Business Council provides pro-bono legal services to low-income artists of all disciplines, as well as legal and business assistance to emerging nonprofit arts organizations through the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts (VLPA) program.
[My volunteer attorney] was not only professional in all my dealings with him but he also cared about my situation. Nowadays that’s a rare thing to find, and I am most grateful.” -Dan Demay, Musician
VLPA helps artists and arts organizations of all disciplines including painters, musicians, playwrights, authors, photographers, songwriters, graphic artists, dancers, filmmakers, actors, poets, sculptors, craft organizations, theater companies, visual arts organizations and others pursuing or supporting artistic endeavors.
We provide legal services for artists and arts organizations, including:
- Drafting and reviewing contracts
- Protecting your work with copyright and trademark
- Resolving arts-related disputes
- Nonprofit formation
I feel strongly about the arts and what they bring to the city and the public education system. I enjoy the opportunity to do work with the creative types and step out of the everyday grind that is practicing law.” – John Ray Clemmons, Chaffin & Burnsed, PLLC
Plus, VLPA connects arts organizations with annual budgets of $1,000,000 or less with skilled professional volunteers in these areas:
- Accounting/Finance – whether setting up accounting and payroll systems, evaluating cash flow management, or budgeting and planning, our skilled volunteer accountants are here to help.
- Computers & Information Technology – our IT volunteers conduct a needs assessment, work with you to address specific problems, and improve your organization’s technology systems.
- HR/Personnel – these volunteers can help your organization evaluate and develop personnel, consult on hiring and firing best practices, and design board evaluation tools.
We exist to serve artists—in fact, we have worked with over 1,500 artists and 300 arts nonprofits in the past five years! Even if you don’t see your need listed above or aren’t sure whether you qualify, email or give us a call. We are here to help.
The VLPA Program is made possible, in part, through the generous support of:
HOW WE WORK If you think you might need legal or business help, please contact VLPA at (615) 460-8274 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of the questions we receive from artists and arts organizations can be answered by VLPA staff, so we always start with a phone call to discuss your issue. If you need additional assistance, VLPA can connect you with one of our volunteer lawyers with the expertise to handle your matter. Full pro bono referrals require that you be a Tennessee resident and meet our income guidelines. Contact us for more info about our eligibility requirements and other resources available to you. To support our operations, we ask clients to become members of the Arts & Business Council. Membership is $30 for individual artists and $50 for arts organizations.
BECOMING A VOLUNTEER
To become a volunteer lawyer or professional, please fill out the volunteer profile form here.