Local lawyers resume leadership of Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
A Big Win for Philadelphia’s arts and culture community.
Philadelphia, PA (December 4, 2019) – Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (PVLA), a pro bono legal services organization serving emerging artists and arts organizations, announced today that after 10 years as a program of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s Arts and Business Council, it has returned to an independent nonprofit organization. While it will continue to operate during this transitional period with support from the Chamber, the newly reconstituted nonprofit is undertaking a top-to-bottom reimagination of its programming, in order to further enhance and augment its support of Philadelphia’s thriving arts and culture community.
“Philadelphia is a city of the arts. Not only big arts organizations, but small arts organizations and individual artists that add to the city’s quality of life,” said Robert Louis, PVLA Board President. “I am proud of PVLA’s history of civic achievement, education, and most of all, our service to artists and smaller arts organizations in the region who would not otherwise have the benefit of legal counsel. This is the reason why the interim board and I stepped in to create a new PVLA to address the needs of the local arts community for today and tomorrow.”
PVLA has been an invaluable legal services provider to the Philadelphia arts and culture community for more than 40 years. It is the only legal aid organization in the region that is singularly dedicated to providing pro bono legal services to the arts and culture sector, with a focus on providing essential legal services to low-income artists and fledgling arts organizations. In recent years, PVLA has provided, on average per year, roughly 3,600 hours pro bono legal services valued at approximately $ 1.4 Million to more than 265 artists, arts groups and inventors.
PVLA’s work has also included rallying the community to save treasured Philadelphia icons, such as Isaiah Zagar’s Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, the Maxfield Parish mural “The Dream Garden”, and The Prince Theater. The organization has also come to the aid of Pennsylvania Ballet and Philadelphia Theater Company to help resolve financial difficulties and provided support for the founder of The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) as she started her dance company.
“I went to PVLA for legal assistance for an issue with Philadanco’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status in the 1970s,” said Joan Meyers Brown, founder of The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco). “Spencer Wertheimer, a PVLA volunteer, was paired with me and after his initial help with my legal issues, he quickly became my trusted legal advisor. Spencer’s volunteer work led to his continued support of Philadanco as a Board Member and Chairman Emeritus over the last 40 years.”
PVLA’s services to the legal and arts communities have also included continuing legal education for lawyers, free educational programming for artists regarding their legal rights, a speakers bureau offering speakers at no cost to arts organizations and schools, and other resources. For more information or to learn how to get involved, please visit www.pvla.org.