The Estate Planning for Visual Artists: Workbook for Attorneys & Executors is a publication created in partnership with the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston (A&BC). Learn more about our organizations, partnership, and contributors below.
About our organizations and partnership
About the Joan Mitchell Foundation
The Joan Mitchell Foundation (JMF) celebrates the life of abstract artist Joan Mitchell by expanding awareness of her pioneering work and fulfilling her wish to support and provide opportunities for visual artists. Through grants, residencies, and related initiatives, the Foundation advances the work of today’s artists and amplifies their essential contributions to communities around the world.
The Foundation’s grant programs include the Painters & Sculptors Grants, Emerging Artist Grants, and Emergency Grants, all of which provide recipients with unrestricted funds. Its New Orleans–based Joan Mitchell Center hosts residencies for national and local artists, as well as public programs such as artist talks and open studio events that encourage dialogue and exchange with the local community. The Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) initiative provides free and essential resources to help artists of all ages organize, document, and manage their artworks and careers. Together, these programs, along with additional professional support services, actively engage with working artists as they develop and expand their practices. Learn more at joanmitchellfoundation.org.
About Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts
The Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston (A&BC) is a nonprofit arts services organization offering integrated and responsive programs and services designed to support and nurture the creative ecosystem. Its flagship program, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts (VLA), has been serving the legal needs of the state’s artistic community since 1989. The VLA provides pro bono referrals and direct legal services to artists and arts organizations as well as educational opportunities for artists, arts organizations, and attorneys. A&BC also assists local art and cultural institutions in finding attorneys to sit on their respective boards of directors.
Recognizing the great need for estate planning for working artists, the VLA has been developing trainings and tools to help artists and attorneys work together and achieve their goals. In 2006, the VLA received a grant from Fay Chandler, an artist and innovator, to launch a program educating and preparing artists to better plan for the disposition of their estates. Since that time, the VLA, through programs and workshops, has focused on educating artists about the necessity for estate planning, understanding copyright law and its implications for their estates, and practical methods for better cataloguing and preparing their works for disposition. In addition, the VLA is working to increase the panel of estate planning lawyers to whom it can refer its artists (both pro bono and for fee cases), through educational workshops on artist-specific issues that arise in estate planning, and outreach to the estate planning bar committees.
About the JMF and A&BC Partnership
Recognizing the need for greater resources on estate planning for artists, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston have partnered to create informative and helpful workbooks for use by both visual artists and estate planning professionals.
In 2014, the partnership created and released the Estate Planning Workbook for Visual Artists. That workbook serves as a guide to understanding the components and the need for the basic elements of an estate plan, as well as addressing artist-specific concerns, issues, and opportunities relating to both their physical artwork and their intellectual property. A PDF of the workbook is available to download free of charge on both the A&BC and JMF websites.
The A&BC and JMF are collaborating for a second time to produce this complementary workbook for estate planning attorneys who are professionals in their field but may not know about or appreciate some of the particular challenges, solutions, and opportunities an artist’s career and estate may pose.
The goal of this workbook is to provide a resource and framework for those working with artists, to alert them to possibilities and issues they might not have considered, and ultimately to enlarge the pool of estate planning attorneys with knowledge and experience in this area. This workbook features more in-depth sections on legal issues, such as intellectual property and estate vehicles, as well as sections designed to acquaint the attorney with art-specific issues such as conservation, inventory, and working with art professionals. Additionally, the workbook captures a dynamic conversation amongst a diverse group of art professionals on what needs to be considered during the legacy-planning process.
About the Authors & Project Manager
As the Director of Services for the Arts & Business Council for five years, Megan managed the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Fiscal Sponsorship programs. Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University, a JD from Boston College Law School, and is a member of the Massachusetts and New York Bars. Prior to law school, Megan graduated from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York and managed the art gallery at a nonprofit cultural center in Manhattan. She has also worked as a travel writer, a freelance grant writer for nonprofit arts and education groups, a producer of undergraduate theater, and an adjunct professor teaching courses on Museology and Arts Administration.
Jim Grace is the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston. Previously he was the Executive Director of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts (VLA) from 1998 until 2008, when it merged with the A&BC. Jim has experience working with artists and arts organizations in the areas of publishing law, public art, copyright, estate and legacy planning, nonprofit incorporation and mergers, negotiation training, and artist live/work and nonprofit board issues. Jim was an adjunct professor for Boston University’s Masters in Arts Administration Program for over five years where he co-taught a course on Legal Issues in Arts Administration. In addition, Jim is a working author, book editor, and publishing attorney. He is the coauthor of best selling The Worst Case Scenario Handbook: Golf. To date he has been involved in the publication of over eight books. Jim serves on the Board of the Brookline Community Foundation. In the past Jim served on the board of Associated Grant Makers and is a founding member of the Arts Services Coalition, as well as a former founding board member of the Fort Point Cultural Coalition.
As the Artist Support Manager for the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Shervone Neckles-Ortiz manages the Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) program and professional development programming. Before joining the Foundation, Shervone worked as an art education consultant and adjunct professor for Pratt Institute and other leading NYC art institutions and organizations. For several years, Shervone served her Brooklyn community as a high school teacher in the NYC Department of Education before moving into roles as a department chair and contributor to the Arts Achieve: Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Program. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Castle Gallery of the College of New Rochelle.
As a mixed-media artist, Shervone has held residencies in areas as diverse as the Youlou Arts Foundation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies, The Center for Book Arts in New York, The Fabric Workshop & Museum in Pennsylvania, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Previous awards include grants from The Puffin Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and fellowships from Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and Manhattan Graphics Center. Her work has been shown worldwide in both solo and group exhibitions. Her practice also includes curatorial projects: Amplify Action: Sustainability through the Arts with Pratt Center for Community Development and Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn, 2012 and From Taboo to Icon at The Ice Box Gallery, Philadelphia 2008. She’s earned an MA from Teacher’s College, Columbia University; MFA from Queens College; and BFA from the College of New Rochelle.
Jordan P. Bowne
Jordan P. Bowne is an Associate in Burns & Levinson’s Private Client Group where he focuses his practice on all aspects of divorce, family law, and probate and trust litigation. In his practice, Jordan has experience handling issues involving the valuation and division of collections of art, trust assets, and intellectual property on behalf of divorcing spouses, as well as for fiduciaries and beneficiaries of trusts and estates. Jordan has a passion for the many nuances of art law and has written articles on subjects ranging from estate planning and tax consequences related to art donation to cultural property protection during armed conflict.
Michelle DuBois, PhD
Michelle DuBois has a PhD in art history from Boston University. Her specific area of expertise is mid-twentieth-century American abstract painting, and she also has a strong depth of knowledge in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American painting, European modern art, African American modern art, and photography. As head of Winston Art Group’s Boston office, Michelle focuses primarily on business development in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. She has been engaged in various aspects of the art world for more than twenty years. She has worked in retail gallery and museum settings, taught university-level art history courses, and has lectured on a variety of art historical topics in settings such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as venues in Seattle, Boston, Providence and Newport, RI. Michelle is the author of numerous publications, the most notable being the co-authorship of the catalogue raisonné on Jacob Lawrence and the monograph Jacob Lawrence: Over the Line, which was awarded The George Wittenborn Award for Excellence in Art Publications. Prior to joining Winston Art Group, Michelle had her own appraisal and advisory practice in Boston for six years.
Since 2013, Kate Haw has been Director of the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. Leading the world’s largest resource for the study of American art, she sets the direction for collecting, preservation, and dissemination of a growing collection of more than twenty million documents and 2,300 oral histories, providing leadership in the field on emerging research trends and adoption of digital tools in the study of art history. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Kate held curatorial roles at the National Gallery of Art and the American Federation of Arts, where she helped to organize exhibitions including Johannes Vermeer, Georges de La Tour and His World, Gerard Ter Borch, Degas and the Dance, American Impressionists Abroad and at Home, and The Sensuous and the Sacred: Chola Bronzes from South India. In 2004, she transitioned to fundraising and institutional leadership, serving as Director of External Affairs at the American Federation of Arts from 2004 to 2006 before becoming Co-Director of the renowned Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in New York and Maine from 2006 to 2011. Among her achievements at Skowhegan was the establishment of a comprehensive archive and the school’s oral history program. Immediately prior to joining the Archives of American Art, Kate served as Vice President for Development at the National Building Museum in Washington. Kate received a BA in art history and religion from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, and a MA in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Josh T. Franco, PhD
As National Collector at the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Franco works to identify, investigate, and acquire personal papers, institutional records and other primary sources that tell the stories of American art. In addition to ensuring their preservation at the Smithsonian, Franco advises researchers working in the Archives, making them aware of materials relevant to their pursuits. He also advises early and mid-career artists on planning for the future of their personal papers. Previously, Franco served as Latino Collections Specialist at the Archives of American Art from 2015 to 2017. He completed his PhD in the Art History department at Binghamton University in April 2016. His graduate work was supported by the Clifford D. Clark Fellowship, the Ithaca College Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship, and the Imagining America PAGE (Publicly Active Graduate Education) Fellowship. Franco was an Artist-Guide at Judd Foundation, 101 Spring Street from 2013 to 2015. He has presented scholarly and critical work in the following venues: Marfa Book Co., Stanford University, College Art Association, Association of Art Historians, Utrecht University, American Comparative Literature Association, Dartmouth College, HEMI Graduate Student Initiative (Hemispheric Institute), zingmagazine, The Frick Collection, …mightbegood, Latino Art Now!, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and Independent Curators International.
Brooke Penrose is an associate in the intellectual property group of Burns & Levinson LLP. She concentrates her practice on counseling creators and innovators of all sizes in a variety of intellectual property transactional matters. Brooke is an experienced copyright attorney who has cleared publication rights, prepared registration applications, appealed application refusals, advised on DMCA take down matters, counseled on infringement and fair use defenses, and drafted and negotiated license agreements. Prior to joining the firm, Brooke worked in the intellectual property department of a major art museum advising on copyright best practices and related matters.
Katy Rogers is the Programs Director and Director of the Robert Motherwell Catalogue Raisonné project at the Dedalus Foundation, where she also serves on the board of directors. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Katy received her MA in art history from Hunter College. She is an alumna of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program (ISP) where she was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow.
Katy is the coauthor of the catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s paintings and collages (Yale University Press, 2012), and of Robert Motherwell: 100 Years (Skira, 2015). She is currently working on a catalogue raisonné of Motherwell’s drawings. Since 2013, she has been the President of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association where she co-organized the 2015 conference “The Catalogue Raisonné and Its Construction” and the 2018 conference “The Afterlife of Sculptures: Posthumous Casts in Scholarship, the Market, and the Law.”
In her role as the inaugural Programs Director at the Dedalus Foundation, Katy and her team have collaborated closely with other nonprofit and community-based organizations on inclusive, extensive, and high-quality arts education initiatives, exhibitions, and public programs, primarily in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Attorney and Art Consultant, Schwanda Rountree, places contemporary art in museums and private collections, domestically and internationally. She currently serves as a Advisory Board Member of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Schwanda has also served as Board of Directors Member for Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Advisory Panel Member of CulturalDC, Executive Board Member of the Porter Colloquium on African American Art, Member of ArtTable, and Advisory Board Member for the 30 Americans exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Schwanda has curated several art exhibitions including ones during Miami Art Basel and the DC Jazz Festival. She has spoken on art panels at institutions and galleries, such as the Corcoran, the Phillips Collection, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Rush Arts Gallery in New York. She has served as Contributing Writer for the International Review on African American Art.
Jill Sterrett is Deputy Director, Museum Affairs and Strategic Impact at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. Prior to this appointment, Jill worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as Paper Conservator from 1990 to 2000, Head of Conservation from 2000 to 2002, and Director of Collections from 2002 to 2018. There she oversaw the activities of six allied departments in a museum structure designed to put the voices of living artists at the center of collaborative approaches to art stewardship and research. Jill publishes and teaches on the subjects of contemporary art, museums and conservation and she is particularly interested in the role of museums in contemporary society. In 2007, Jill was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Porto in Portugal. She has also worked at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Library of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Jill is a graduate of Denison University with a BA in Chemistry and a BA in Art History. She earned her MA in Art Conservation from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. In addition to her leadership at SFMOMA, she serves on the boards of Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA) and Beta by Design, two organizations dedicated to art and education.
Hélène Vandenberghe has been co-managing the estate of her father Philippe Vandenberg since 2009. As an art historian, she began her career in 2000 as a curator in Huis van Alijn, Ghent. In 2002 Vandenberghe co-founded the heritage weekend in Flanders and Brussels, and from 2008 she worked as artistic advisor to the CEO of the Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) in Brussels. Since 2015, she has served as advisor for The Institute for Artists’ Estates in Berlin.
Margaret Rose Vendryes
Margaret Rose Vendryes is an art historian, visual artist, and curator. She received her BA in fine arts from Amherst College, MA in art history from Tulane University, and PhD in art history from Princeton University. She taught at Princeton University and Amherst College before entering the faculty at York College & The Graduate Center of the City University of New York where she received tenure in 2006. Among several honors, Vendryes held an American Association of University Women Fellowship and was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 2008, University Press of Mississippi published Vendryes’ book Barthé, A Life in Sculpture, the first comprehensive monograph on the late African American sculptor Richmond Barthé.
The “African Diva Project” is a painting series enhanced by Vendryes’s scholarly engagement with African aesthetics and its intersection with popular Black music and visual culture. She began The “African Diva Project” in 2007, which has grown to over 45 works of art celebrating popular Black women soloists. Vendryes has had solo exhibitions in Boston; NYC; and Biloxi, MS as well as exhibited in several group shows over the last decade. She is currently associate professor and chair of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts and Director of the Fine Arts Gallery at York College.