Media Release: Insurance law specialists HBA Legal has raised close to $5000 for a national community legal centre, after using its recent Sydney office opening event to stage a fundraiser.
The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) is a community legal centre based in Sydney providing education, advocacy and free or low-cost legal advice to Australian artists and arts organisations.
HBA Partner Dr Andrew Lu OAM, who sits on the board of Arts Law, said the not-for-profit organisation provides a national service that many artists would not be able to receive otherwise.
"Thanks to Arts Law, the rights of Australian creatives working across all art forms can be better protected. Arts workers are incredibly generous with what they create and share with audiences, but they are vulnerable to exploitation.
"Through its 'Artists in the Black' program, the Arts Law team does particularly valuable work in remote Indigenous communities where there are no lawyers to explain how best to protect their rights.
"Sustaining the good work of Arts Law is only possible due to much appreciated support from different friends and sources including government, philanthropists, and the generosity of industry partners across the legal profession," Dr Lu said.
CEO of Arts Law Robyn Ayres said funding is a constant challenge so any donation is gratefully received.
"Artists should be able to earn an income from their work. But if their work is reproduced without permission, effectively stolen, their copyright infringed, then they are losing income to which they are entitled – this is the exact thing we are trying to protect against.
"We have a current campaign called 'Fake Art Harms Culture' focusing on the exploitation of Indigenous culture and tradition while addressing the economic and cultural damage caused by inauthentic Indigenous art. This is a significant problem in this country," Ms Ayres said.
To shine a spotlight on this issue, HBA ethically sourced a large Indigenous artwork by respected Ngaanyatjarra artist Elizabeth Holland, a member of the Warakurna community in the Goldfields-Esperance region on WA's border with the Northern Territory. The artwork was raffled to raise funds for Arts Law.
"It was never going to align with our values to put on a fancy office opening cocktail party without substance," said HBA co-founder Nathan Hepple.
"While we wanted to celebrate moving into our beautiful new space, we felt strongly that it was important to make something of the occasion that would add value to the community and Arts Law was the perfect fit," he said.
Dr Lu added: "Marking our office opening in this way is a clear demonstration of the values-driven culture we strive to foster, and our commitment to social inclusion via our four core values of being collaborative, creative, genuine and generous."
Around 80 people gathered in the firm's new space within a heritage building on Pitt Street, as Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW, declared the office officially open. Her Excellency is the immediate past-President of Arts Law.
Guests included many of HBA's clients and employees, as well as barristers and members of the judiciary.