Art and cultural heritage are artifacts that need protection. In addition to traditional legal issues that arise in handling art objects and managing cultural institutions, art law practice raises unique legal questions surrounding responsible stewardship and ownership. Students selected for the Art Law Field Clinic extern with various arts-related government, for-profit, and nonprofit law offices. They take a co-requisite seminar exploring substantive legal issues around art law and critically examining the practice in which they participate. The objective of the course is to examine various aspects of art law—funding, national and private ownership, sales, title insurance, tax consequences, collection management, and operations—as they manifest themselves in arts-related organizations.
Placements include, among others: the Whitney Museum, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Christie’s, New York Foundation for the Arts, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and government agencies overseeing arts issues. Students engage in substantive legal work, which depending on the placement includes research, writing and other work related to tax law, copyright law, museum management, title insurance, art sales, and nonprofit and corporate governance.