It’s exciting to see how much Colorado Attorneys for the Arts (CAFTA) has grown since we quietly launched in 2015. I recently attended the National Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (NVLA) Conference, which highlighted the significance of this growth, common challenges and lots of opportunity for further expansion.
NVLA isn’t really a conference. It’s a convening of executive and program directors from across the country (and Canada) who connect artists with free legal services. We were hosted by the Arts & Business Council of Nashville, whose executive director founded Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Attendees ranged from the longest-run programs in our network (New York VLA, Lawyers for the Creative Arts, California Lawyers for the Arts) to diverse organizations spanning the country (The ELLA Project, South Carolina VLA, Springboard for the Arts) and CBCA’s peers at the Arts & Business Councils in Boston, Philadelphia and Miami.
This gathering gave me an opportunity to reflect on CAFTA’s current state and future opportunities.
- So far, CAFTA has maintained a 100% referral rate for all eligible applicants. Thank you to our amazing volunteer attorneys!
- CAFTA is truly a statewide organization. Clients have hailed from Longmont, Fort Collins, Saguache, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs, Buena Vista, as well as the Denver metro area.
- CAFTA’s database of volunteer attorneys continues to grow. Register to be part of CAFTA!
- Spreading the word that CAFTA is here is still something we’re working on. We know there is more need out there. As an artist or creative business, maybe you don’t need an attorney now, but you or a friend might need one in the near future. It’s easy to apply online when you’re ready.
- CAFTA is only a legal referral service. We don’t give legal advice or represent clients. Instead, we try to match eligible applicants with qualified attorneys who are willing to assist for free. And we want to know how we did at that match-making! CAFTA clients and volunteer attorneys are encouraged to loop back and complete an evaluation.
- CAFTA is looking for more opportunities to do educational workshops and legal presentations for creative professionals. Invite us to your arts organization, association or creative district. All the other VLA’s are doing it, so we can, too! Contact CAFTA@cbca.org to schedule a workshop.
- Similarly, we’re looking to find ways to increase the arts-related legal literacy of our local attorneys. Can you help us teach a CLE? Contact CAFTA@cbca.org to inquire more.
We share many of the same challenges and opportunities as the other VLA organizations. We are all looking to forge more community partnerships, stay on top of relevant issues for artists (i.e., affordable housing and immigration), find new avenues for funding, advocate for public support for the arts, reach more creative professionals, and keep our volunteers engaged.
It’s affirming and encouraging to know that CAFTA is not alone. We are eager to continue leading the charge here in Colorado.