We provide presenters and panelists for programs sponsored by professional organizations and community groups. 

Our experts are available to address copyright, contracts, taxes and other legal and accounting topics. They are engaging presenters who enjoy interacting with creatives. Upstart, our college outreach program, sends teaching artists, lawyers and accountants to classrooms through the bi-state region. 

Nonprofit Board Training

We also offer hands-on training directly to arts organization boards during their regular meetings. This free training program includes a 20-minute presentation by a volunteer or VLAA staff member, ten minutes for questions and easy-to-understand handouts. Organizations select the date, time and location. Training options include:

  • Board Excellence highlights the most important aspects of board operations, and appropriate for organizations that are just getting started or are in transition.
  • Financial Oversight ensures that the board will be able to read financial statements, determine whether the organization is fiscally sound and identify red flags.
  • Legal Duties of Nonprofit Boards defines the duty of care and the duty of loyalty and explains how to fulfill these legal obligations. This session includes a discussion of conflict of interest policies.
  • Developing a Freedom of Expression Policy uses the First Amendment as a framework and a self-examination process to discuss decision-making practices and and accountability so the board can adopt a policy and action plan before a controversy erupts.
  • Evaluating the Executive Director gives board members the tools they need to conduct a constructive assessment based on overall performance and job-related behavior.

To book a speaker, please contact us or call (314) 863-6930

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

On September 22, 2022, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s weekly High Noon at the High Low lecture series highlighted Banned Books Week with Maxi Glamour and Mark Sableman. Glamour, who has participated in several public library drag queen story hour events, began the program by reading What Riley Wore by Elena K. Arnold, a sweet and timely picture book. Then Sableman, Thompson Coburn, discussed notable freedom of artistic expression cases and Missouri’s 2022 school book ban law. VLAA co-presented the free midday program.

We returned to the High Low on October 5, 2023, to co-sponsor Librarians Respond. The High Noon program began with Actor Jacqueline Thompson reading “The Hill We Climb,” Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem. In May, the poem was put on a restricted list at a South Florida elementary school after one parent complained. Then Tony Rothert, director of integrated advocacy for the ACLU-MO, provided an overview of the lawsuit challenging Missouri’s school library law, which caused districts across the state to remove hundreds of titles from library shelves. Finally, a panel of “in the trenches” librarians, Rachelle Brandel, Kathleen Gallagher, and Joe Monahan, discussed how the controversial administrative rule issued by Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft in 2023 is impacting their work. Vincent Volpe, president of the board of the St. Louis Public Library and former VLAA board member, moderated.

Of course, no one is celebrating banned books — except those banning books! The annual week-long event, held in October, celebrates the freedom to read. It spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Photo Credit: Phillip Hamer