On this Give Nola Day, the needs of our city are massive, and The Ella Project is working at full capacity to use our skills to do our part to make our community whole.
On March 13th, we held our last in person legal clinic, and by March 20th, had successfully transitioned to a virtual service model that has allowed us to provide pro bono services unabated throughout the pandemic. We’ve added services to directly assist artists with identifying and applying for relief funds, advocating for them with the State unemployment office, and partnering with a local foundation to distribute grocery store gift cards to low income artists. On the advocacy front, we’re working with our national partners to design and champion the Reopen Every Venue Safely series of guidelines and better practices to ensure the safety of musicians, club workers, and patrons when venues can reopen.
The staff and board of The Ella Project believe that art and culture provide a common language among an often-disparate population, and that the culture of Louisiana, with its traditions rooted in the communal joy of a fais do do or the participatory nature of a second line, is a worldwide cultural treasure. The artist is at the heart of this culture, and their ability to make a living, or at the very least enter into a business transaction knowing that a committed team of experts has their back, is essential to our culture’s continued success. The threat to our culture is real right now, and we are doing everything in our power to stem the tide.
We know there are some many great causes in New Orleans, and our work takes place in the shadows. We don’t have pictures of beaming kids covered in paint, we have pictures of lecture halls and clients with us in the office. We meet tirelessly with artists, work the phones, fire off emails in the middle of the night, and keep working every day to ensure that our creative community has control of their creative content, and because of attorney/client confidentiality rules, we can’t even talk about most of this work. The fact that you join us on this journey to keep working, person by person, issue by issue, to transform the way cultural creators are treated and supported in New Orleans means the world to us, and we’re honored and humbled to keep doing this work for our community, and we asking for your support. Will you support us once again this year with a GiveNOLA Day gift?