Copyright & Contract Basics for Visual Artists workshop on March 23rd

We are excited to be hosting a NOEW In Your Neighborhood event this March as a part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week ! Register to attend at

Presented by The Ella Project, Hosted by Lionheart Prints

This workshop is led by attorney Bri Whetstone and will address copyright and contract topics relevant to visual artists. We will cover a range of legal and business topics for artists developing their careers. This workshop will be an introduction to copyright issues, including an explanation of what copyrights are, information on registering copyrights, an overview of other areas of intellectual property law, issues related to collaborations and commissions, an overview of work for hire agreements and other contracts commonly encountered by visual artists, and more!

Get access to this and the other seminars in our Small Business Workshop Series by buying the total pass here:

Copyright & Contract Basics for Visual Artists
Monday, March 23rd 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Lionheart Prints
3312 Magazine St.

Collecting Royalties in the Modern Age Workshop March 11th

The way people are accessing, consuming and listening to music has changed dramatically, and the laws and mechanisms for collecting royalties are still catching up.   The Music Modernization Act was passed by Congress in 2018, and it’s supposed to make it easier for musicians to collect certain royalties.  In order to maximize revenue streams, musicians have to know their rights, organize their catalogues and register with the rights organizations that will be play a role in carrying out the Music Modernization Act. 

On March 11th, join The Ella Project’s Ashlye Keaton and Dash Rip Rock’s Bill Davis at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at 6:00 p.m. as they discuss:

  • What local musicians need to know Modernization Act
  • Why copyright registration is more important now than ever
  • Organizing Your catalogue and how Ella Project can help with that
  • How and why to register Performance Rights Organizations, especially Sound Exchange
  • Plus, your questions!

Collecting Royalties in the Modern Age

A workshop presented by Ella Project Co-Founder Ashlye Keaton,

with Special Guest Bill Davis of Dash Rip Rock

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

New Orleans Jazz Museum,

400 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA

Free, but please RSVP

An event co-presented by The Ella Project and the New Orleans Jazz Museum, this workshop is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Julie Jackson joins The Ella Project Board

The Ella Project is pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Jackson to our Board of Directors. Julie has been a critical part of Ella since the beginning, serving as an original co-founder back in 2004 when we were a program partnership.

Julie served for 28 years as Assistant Dean for Public Interest Programs at Tulane Law School.  She implemented the nation’s first mandatory law school pro bono program, through which students provide free legal assistance to those lacking  access to justice. She created legal advice programs in coordination with non-profits in New Orleans to address specific unmet legal needs. 

Julie also taught Mediation and Dispute Resolution at Tulane, and served as a mediator for EEOC.  A native of Alabama and graduate of Wellesley College, Julie has worked as Assistant Psychologist at a community health care project  and subsequently as a Parole & Probation Officer and Volunteer Coordinator,  in Birmingham, AL.  Following Harvard Law School, she clerked for the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, and then practiced labor law in Atlanta, GA for 7 years before moving to New Orleans.  She is now retired and lives in the University neighborhood of New Orleans with her husband, Mark Wessman, a professor at Tulane Law School, and with her 2-year-old Italian greyhound, Contessa. Please join us in welcoming Julie Jackson to our Board of Directors!

Working with Queen Rukiya to get her work to Paris

The Ella Project proudly celebrates Big Queen Rukiya of the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian tribe for her enormous achievement in having her amazingly intricate and profound artwork selected for exhibition at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris.  We were happy to work with Rukiya on the legal mechanisms required to ensure she secured a fair, equitable and favorable arrangement, which ultimately took her fabulous Indian suit from the streets of New Orleans to one of the world’s finest art institutions.  As a result, Rukiya’s White Buffalo suit will be on display for art lovers around the world to observe and appreciate while getting a taste of some of what makes New Orleans so special.

The Mardi Gras Indians, or black masking Indians, are unique to New Orleans and one of America’s oldest, urban, indigenous cultures that continues to thrive today.  We have worked intimately with many Mardi Gras Indians since our organization was founded in 2004.  We have also had the privilege to represent the Mardi Gras Indian Council since day one of our legal clinics, going back 16 years now.  We are honored to have served the Queens of the Nation and the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, which awarded us a Golden Feather in 2016. In 2010, we worked with Mardi Gras Indians to secure recognition by the U.S. Copyright Office of the their  elaborate suits as works of sculpture, which extended the rights afforded to these authors beyond photographs alone.  Because their underlying work, their suits, are subject to copyright protection as works of sculpture, Mardi Gras Indians have greater recourse to protect and enforce their rights.  Our Co-Founder Ashlye Keaton often says that working with Mardi Gras Indians continues to be the highlight of her professional life, and she credits the Indian community for continuing to inspire her to commit to public service.  We  are blessed with the good fortune to collaborate with creators like Rukiya to tell their own stories and to spread the joy of New Orleans culture across the globe.  Cheers to Big Queen Rukiya for being an inspiration to us all!

Queen Rukiya Brown, Super Sunday 2019

Ella Project to receive $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Ella Project has been approved for a $25000 Art Works grant to support our pro bono legal services and professional development for Louisiana artists. Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.   The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

Watch for new workshops and programs supported by this award from the Arts Endowment coming soon!

Bar Napkin Inventions: How to Apply for Patent Protection

Mark Melasky

Do you have an invention that you’d like to protect, but don’t know where to start? Have you always wanted to learn more about the process? Then join patent attorney Mark Melasky of Intellectual Property Consulting on Wednesday, February 12th at 6:00 p.m… for a free workshop at LaunchPad as he discusses:

  • What do you need? Patent/Trademark/Copyright?
  • How you obtain a patent.
  • What to expect during the registration process.
  • Patent infringement issues and your duties as a patent owner.
  • Deadlines, fees, and how to get help.
  • Plus your questions!

This workshop is part of The Ella Project’s Bar Napkin Inventions, a casual series preparing the inventor for going through the patent process, and attending this workshop, or doing an online course is a requirement to apply to our Louisiana Invents Patent Pro Bono Program.

Ashlye Keaton to speak at World Intellectual Property Organization

Ella Project Co-Founder Ashlye Keaton will present on the work of the Ella Project on October 18th and how artists are empowered to protect their intellectual property via pro bono legal service providers like ours in Geneva, Switzerland. Joining her will be Walter Chia of the IP Office of Singapore, Olga Dubey of Switzerland’s AgroSustain, and Suil Hong of Japan’s Nodoka Tea.

Though it’s a long way from New Orleans, the webcast of the opening session of this event will be available on Facebook live via the U.S. Mission Geneva Facebook page. Bon Voyage, Ashlye!

Gene Meneray added to NASAA board

Ella Project Co-Founder Gene Meneray has joined the Board of Directors for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. Charged with champions public support for the arts in America, NASAA works with the nation’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies and provides research, advocacy, and connections to ensure all Americans have access to arts and culture. Gene is honored to represent Louisiana on this board, and looks forward to bringing new ideas back to our state to strengthen arts funding, increase diversity in the arts, and make sure Louisiana is represented at the national level when developing new arts policy.

Our fact finding trip to Seattle, San Francisco

City of New Orleans delegation in Seattle, WA with King County’s Kate Becker

In September, The Ella Project led a delegation of City of New Orleans officials to Seattle and San Francisco to learn from those cities how they manage their nighttime economies, work with street performers, and fund their arts agencies and grant programs. We came back brimming with ideas, and more committed than ever to empower the creators of our unique culture. This trip could not have happened without the tireless assistance of Kate Becker of King County, and Ben Van Houten and Maggie Weiland of San Francisco, and our longtime friend Jocelyn Kane. We recently wrote about this trip, and what New Orleans can learn from these communities in OffBeat. Read our guest editorial and let us know your thoughts!

Sync Up: Make Your Music the Next Hollywood Sound

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and the New Orleans Business Alliance will host a Sync Up workshop on Wednesday, September 18 to help local musicians earn more money for their art. It starts at 5:30 p..m. at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street). Admission is free.

The first 50 artists who register, attend the Sync Up, sign up and complete an ELLA Project assistance session will earn a grant from the New Orleans Business Alliance to substantially offset the fees for copyright registration.

Presenters will teach local artists how to clear samples for use, register copyrighted music, and how to get their works into film, commercials and TV productions. CLICK HERE TO RSVP!

The workshop features a discussion with John Boutté, local jazz icon, whose “Treme Song” became the theme for the acclaimed HBO series Treme.

In addition, film, music and law experts will discuss the nuances of registering music for licensing or use.

Panelists feature:
•Sarah Bromberg, music supervisor, Bonfire Collective (music supervision for NBC’s Smash, Pitch Perfect 2 and commercials for Walmart, Subaru, Budweiser and more)

•Dino Gankendorff, entertainment attorney, Provosty & Gankendorff (clients include Chuck D, Cupid, Mavis Staples, Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty among others)

•Kyle Lamy, music and location supervisor, NCIS New Orleans

•Reid Wick, senior director & project manager, The Recording Academy (GRAMMYS).