Joe Patti, senior contributor

Focus Areas

Marketing, Legal Issues, Operations (backstage and front of house), Arts Presenting and Producing, Business Models, Outdoor Festivals Presenting Contemporary Indigenous Artists, Arts and Technology, Leadership in the Arts, Collaboration (between organizations, communities, artists-all permutations), Professional Development and Training, Organizational Culture, Volunteers, University Arts Environments

About

When I was a teenager if anyone had told me that I would be excited to share information about contract law, marketing, human resources, grant writing and the philosophy behind ticket pricing, I would have laughed…and laughed. But there is such a dearth of this information applicable to the needs of non-profit arts organizations that I do get excited when I see the opportunity to discuss these topics. I am currently the Director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University. Across my career I have worked at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.

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Joe Patti

Article Archive

A Question Of Face Masks And Liability

In an earlier entry, I had written about meeting the legal duty of care and planning to re-open your venue as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.  It is good to be aware of legal duty of care as a general concept because it exists entirely independent of diseases concerns and is applicable to every aspect of an organization’s operations and decision making. As plans evolve, there are myriad questions that arise about the…

Meeting Your Legal Duty Of Care In Post-Covid Reopening

In another post, we had shared some general guidance provided by the Downtown Professionals Network for re-opening arts and cultural venues as Covid-19 restrictions ease up. The Event Safety Alliance, which is comprised of over 300 professionals from live event venues of all sizes, has recently issued a Reopening Guide that provides much more detailed guidance in this regard. While it is focused on live events, a great deal of the content…

Legal Considerations For Live Streaming Performances

As live-streaming performances moves from being quickly assembled, impromptu performances organizations were using to keep connected with audiences during Covid-19 quarantine toward being a consistent mode of content delivery for individuals and organizations, there are some important legal issues to consider. Please note, these legal considerations are the same regardless of your motivations. Even if you have live streamed content before without issue, there is likely to be more attention paid and…

Guidance On Covid-19 Re-Openings, Even If Only Virtually

If you are looking for advice on best practices for arts and cultural entities once they are allowed to re-open, Downtown Professionals Network (DPN) has created a website specifically focused on this topic called Reopen Main Street.  The advice is broken down by types of business so arts and culture has its own devoted section. Since restrictions on public interactions vary across the country, there is guidance for both live and virtual…

Online Meetings & Open Meeting Laws

ContentsDo Your By-laws Allow For Online Meetings?Correct Processes MattersManaging Perception Is Important For Online Meetings Do Your By-laws Allow For Online Meetings? If you live in the United States, you may remember there was much ado when members of the House of Representatives had to return to Washington D.C. to approve a coronavirus relief package because the U.S. Constitution requires in-person voting. Any sort of vote conducted in another manner was vulnerable…

Handling Contractual Elements of Event Cancellations Due To Epidemics & Other Crises

As event cancellations have started to mount due to the growing number of Covid-19 cases around the country, there has been a lot of concerned conversation occurring about the invocation of force majeure clauses in performance contracts. If you are not aware of its application, the clause generally relieves all parties of their contractual obligation due to severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest, government declarations, union actions and epidemics. I say generally…

Scammers In Your Social Media Community

On my personal blog, I have written about the problem of ticketing websites that masquerade as legitimate performance venues and either sell fake or highly marked up tickets.  I have to say that Google seems to have addressed the problem of resellers and scam sites appearing in search results before the real venue. For example, if you search for Bill Maher Atlanta today, the Fox Theatre is the first result. On Bing,…

Does Your State Prohibit Non-Voting Board Directors?

A few years back I made a post addressing the assumption that ex officio positions on a board of directors were automatically non-voting. Spoilers: That is not the case. Apropos to that, I recently became aware of a 2009 law in California that prohibits non-profit organizations from having non-voting directors. I wasn’t aware that such restrictions existed anywhere so check the laws in your state. Thus, a nonprofit corporation may not have…

Toward Crafting Better Conflict Of Interest Policy And Practice

As the world becomes more connected, rules and regulations governing conflicts of interest associated with geographic boundaries start to lose their relevance. Broader definitions and applications of a board member’s duty to a non-profit are required. This is the view of David O. Renz in an excellent guide on non-profit conflicts of interest on Non-Profit Quarterly. Renz compares the conflict of interest policy of the United States, which is focused narrowly in…

More About Open Meeting Laws & Non-Profits

Three years ago, I wrote an entry about non-profits and open meeting laws. In the last year or so, people have been posting a lot of questions on that post about the laws governing different states. In the interest of helping people out, I have been trying to do research and provide answers. But as I note in pretty much every answer I give, I am basically just doing Google searches to…

Panels And Post Show Discussions

Conversations around performances and events really can enhance the experience for people, but making it an effective and enjoyable experience can take some preparation and discipline. One of my favorite pieces on the practice was written for HowlRound by Brant Russell reflecting on his experience leading the discussions at Steppenwolf Theatre. He presented 11-ish rules that were basically aimed at having the moderator employ the lightest touch while also keeping the discussion…

Briefly–Still Working At It After 400+ Years

Around 1600 Shakespeare wrote about brevity being the soul of wit in Hamlet. Roughly 400 years later,  phone text messaging and Twitter limited us to the number of characters one could post. The fact that Twitter has expanded their character limit and most phone messaging software either provide capacious limits or automatically parse messages across multiple texts it something of a testament to our inability to briefly encapsulate our meaning. Yet there…

Preparing For A Kiss Like An Eviscerating Slash – As Boringly As Possible

A recent development in theater, television and film performance, in terms of theory and practice, is the role of intimacy director. There was a video on The Atlantic which frames it as emerging out of a recognition that performance situations were being used to provide a veneer of legitimacy to sexual assault. I don’t think anyone questions that it is of paramount concern to safeguard the physical, emotional and mental well-being of…

You Need To Pay Taxes On Program Book Ads

ContentsNon-Profits Pay Taxes On Unrelated Business IncomeNot Everything In Your Program Book Is AdvertisingPermitted RecognitionWhat About Concessions and Merchandise? Non-Profits Pay Taxes On Unrelated Business Income Just because your organization is tax exempt doesn’t mean everything you do is exempt from taxes. There are a number of activities that result in what is known as Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI) which may be as much as 21%. While there are some subtle…

Valuing and Acknowledging Donations

I recently attended a webinar conducted by John Taylor of John H. Taylor Consulting providing updates on IRS rules on acknowledging charitable giving. Neither Taylor nor I are lawyers and there are a lot of subtleties and exceptions when it comes to tax law. There were a number of interesting things Taylor mentioned that are worth being aware of, if only to serve as a conversation starter with your accountants and attorneys….

What Is A DUNS Number And Why Do I Need It?

If you have ever applied for a grant, especially from an entity or program receiving funds from the federal government, you have likely been asked to provide your organization’s DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number. You may also wonder why you need to set one up. A DUNS number has the same number of digits as your employer ID number (EIN).  If your organization doesn’t have one, you may also wonder why…

Common Deal Structures For Touring Groups

When it comes to paying touring performers, there are all sorts of deal that can be made. The payment terms on those deals can get pretty confusing. There are a number of resources available online that explain these agreements. One of the best I have found is a blog post on the site Making It With Chris G. Chris Goyzueta addresses a number of common deal structures and creates a YouTube video…

New IRS Decision Could Keep Foreign Artists At Home

Due to budget and staffing issues, as of October 1, 2018, the IRS will no longer create Central Withholding Agreements (CWA) with artists making less than $10,000. Wait, wait, wait, wait..before you click away thinking this fine Arts Hacker post has nothing to do with you, it actually might if you typically host any type of creative artist from other countries. These new regulations will make it more difficult for some artist…

16 Is The Font Size Of Wisdom (For Web Design At Least)

The assertion that arts and cultural audiences are getting older and dying out probably reached trope status decades before the word trope entered popular usage. While this may be true and require programming and market positioning that will appeal to younger audiences, there are some very practical experiential considerations for serving older audiences to keep in mind.  One of them is web design. Entrepreneur magazine had a guest post by Brian Greenberg…

Your Contract May Not Provide Cover From Music Covers

Copyright and intellectual properties rights are important considerations in the arts and culture industry. The industry strives to expand the awareness and exposure of creatives, but often either intentionally or inadvertently fall short when it comes to properly compensating creators. Admittedly, knowing your responsibilities when it comes to intellectual property/copyright and contracts in general can be confusing which is why they are subject of a fair number of posts on ArtsHacker. One…

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