Colorful lighthouse

Our Mission

Founded in 1969, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) is the leading legal aid and education organization dedicated to New York artists and its arts and cultural organizations. VLA strives to protect the artistic community’s livelihoods, businesses, and creative works through access to dedicated legal representation and focused innovative education programs.

Our Impact

See some of the stories from artists and arts organizations that we have assisted. Help us ensure that we can continue to serve the artistic community and protect the artists that create the work we love.


“When another group appeared online with the same name as my dance group, I reached out to VLA to go about trademarking. They clarified what was and wasn’t possible to control in this situation and set me up with a lawyer who guided me through the process to become trademarked in the US!”

Ani Taj, Founder of Dance Cartel


“I came to VLA because I wanted to learn how to protect my work and my rights as an artist. My experience with VLA was amazing. I came to my first appointment with a lot of uncertainty, and I left feeling empowered! It is so important that an organization dedicated to protecting and helping artists like this exists.”

Mafe Izaguirre
Artist, Graphic Designer, and Educator


“Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts patiently guided me through the legal process, always being at my side. The attorney made sure my rights are not only protected but also more importantly, made me aware of my rights as an artist in New York.”

Viola A. ​Yeşiltaç, Visual Artist


“The minute I walked in the door at VLA I was met by professionals. I was given a thorough consultation and had excellent pro bono lawyers representing me. They successfully negotiated with a theatrical company on a play I had worked on for ten years, which was at risk due to a poor agreement I had signed. Sometimes we need a grownup in the room. VLA is that grownup.”

Llywelyn Tudor Jones
Writer and Actor


“I came to VLA after former collaborators refused to release footage that my team and I had shot. VLA and the lawyers that worked on my case provided excellent, caring representation. I got my footage back without further incident. I’m extremely grateful for the invaluable assistance VLA provided. Their work is a great service to the arts community.”

Taylor Sisk
Writer, Editor, Filmmaker


“Everyone we worked with at VLA was phenomenal. We were consistently impressed with not only their professionalism and knowledge, but also their ease in dealing with artists who may not have experience in legal matters. We honestly weren’t sure how we were going to afford incorporating our non-profit until we found VLA.”

Alex Etling
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Cave Theatre Co.


VLA strives to make its services, programs and facilities accessible to everyone. VLA offers assistance for the visual and hearing impaired, with prior notification. VLA’s offices also are wheel chair accessible via elevator. Please call us at 212-319-2787 ext 1 to request assistance with these or other reasonable accommodations.

Sign up to receive news & events from VLANY!