VLA, formed in 1969, exists to provide pro bono arts-related legal representation to low-income individual artists and nonprofit arts organizations and a broad range of other services (legal counseling, educational programs, advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution) to the arts community and the lawyers who serve them in order to achieve that goal. VLA believes that individual artists and arts organizations should understand certain legal and business matters to protect themselves and their creative endeavors.
VLA operates a variety of programs to fulfill its public mission. The largest program, Legal Services, helped over 11,000 artists last year in a number of ways: pro bono placements with volunteer attorneys for low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations; in-house representation and counseling by VLA Staff Attorneys; the Art Law Line, a free legal hotline; and the VLA Legal Clinic, a regular forum to meet privately with an attorney to discuss arts-related legal issues. VLA also offers over 150 educational programs a year for the arts community; access to a public arts law resource library; and a speakers' bureau for arts and cultural organizations seeking experienced speakers. In addition, VLA's MediateArt program offers conflict resolution and negotiation services, as well as training access to a specialized mediation service for resolving arts-related disputes outside of the traditional legal framework.