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C.L.A.'s mission is to bridge the arts and legal communities so that: a) artists and arts organizations may gain greater competence in handling the legal and business aspects of their creative activities; b) the legal profession may become more involved in issues affecting the arts; and c) the law may become more responsive to the needs of the arts and entertainment communities. C.L.A. aims to be a model arts organization, focusing on innovation and collaboration, while providing leadership nationally and articulating a role for the arts in community development.
C.L.A. began as Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts (BALA) was started in 1974 to provide legal services and information for underserved artists and arts organizations. Lawyer referrals, mediation, educational programs and publications are designed to help artists of all disciplines become self-sufficient and to assist in sustaining arts organizations. In 1987, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts (BALA) joined with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts-Los Angeles to become statewide and changed its name to California Lawyers for the Arts. With offices in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Oakland and Sacramento, we annually serve more than 8,200 artists with alternative dispute resolution services, legal referrals, education programs, ArtHouse and job training services. The membership of nearly 1,500 includes artists and arts organizations of all disciplines; attorneys, accountants, teachers and other professionals; arts patrons and other friends. In 1992, as the result of a planning process undertaken with an NEA Advancement grant, we expanded our mission to include articulating a role for the arts in community development and initiated the Arts and Community Development (ACD) Project. ACD has since provided job training and placement services to more than 350 low-income young people while providing cultural enrichment programs to more than 4,500 San Francisco children and youth of all ethnic backgrounds. with funding from the S.F.
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