Spring Creative Entrepreneur Series at Arlington Arts

March 24, 2020  •  Arlington, Virginia

Event Summary

WALA Creative Entrepreneurs Series @ Arlington Arts (Arts Enterprise Institute)

(Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)

WALA’s Creative Entrepreneurs Series is a series for creatives of all kinds who want to take the next step in their professional career by creating their own business. Explore the basics of forming a business for your creative endeavors, from deciding whether to incorporate as a non-profit or for-profit entity, to understanding copyrights and trademarks, to contract and negotiation skills, and finally to taxes and understanding the grants process.

The series comprises of six sessions to be held on consecutive Tuesdays, starting Tuesday, March 24, 2020, and continuing through Tuesday, April 28, 2020, from 7 pm - 9 pm at Arlington Cultural Affairs’ “Theatre on the Run” located @ 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA 22206. (*see location details at the end of the workshop session descriptions)

The series is free for WALA members and $20 per workshop for non-members.

**Attendees must Register for each individual session. To do so, select the corresponding session DATE from the list below.

The complete series includes:

Session #1: Tuesday, March 24, 2020 ~ Tax Strategies
(Select this date to attend this session)

Presentation and Q & A with:
Benjamin Grosz, Benjamin Takis, & Jonathan Holbrook

“Pursuing your art as a business can be daunting, and one of the biggest challenges is understanding the tax laws. Between the many types of federal and state taxes that apply to your business, it is easy to make a mistake that can set back your business for years.”

“Benjamin Takis and Benjamin Grosz, both having active experience in the arts in addition to practicing as tax attorneys, will provide an overview of the federal income tax, a guide to the different business structures you should consider, as well as more advanced federal tax issues relevant to artists in the Washington, DC area.”

Benjamin Takis is the founding attorney of Tax-Exempt Solutions PLLC, a law firm specializing in tax, corporate governance, employment issues and business transactions for non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs. Since beginning his practice in 2006, Ben has devoted his career to representing non-profit organizations and tax-exempt entities. Ben honed his skills as an associate at the premier Washington D.C. labor firm Bredhoff & Kaiser and the leading employee benefits boutique Groom Law Group. At Bredhoff and Groom, Ben represented some of the largest pension funds, health care trusts, and labor organizations in the country, along with public charities, lobbying groups, trade associations, and other non-profit organizations of all types and sizes.

Benjamin Grosz is a partner with Ivins, Phillips & Barker, where he advises clients on a broad range of federal income, estate and gift tax planning matters, as well as employee benefits issues. Before law school, Ben started his own financial planning business. Prior to that he was a business manager at Capital One Financial Corporation, where he developed strategy and analysis for its credit card and banking businesses. His experiences in starting his own financial planning business and developing business strategy for Capital One help him understand the needs of clients ranging from entrepreneurs to large corporations. Although lacking the talent to be a professional artist, Ben spent years singing with various choirs and has had the privilege to sing at the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap, and the good fortune to participate in a singing “tour de France” with one of his college choirs.

Jonathan Holbrook is an associate with Ivins, Phillips & Barker. His practice focuses on federal income taxation, as well as estate planning and employee benefits issues. As a student at Harvard Law School, Jonathan co-founded HLS Effective Altruism, advised low-income taxpayers through Harvard’s Federal Tax Clinic and was a winner of the 61st annual Williston Negotiation Competition.


Session #2: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 ~ Copyright/Trademark Protection & Use
(Select this date to attend this session)

Presentation and Q & A with:
John D. Mason

This session covers:

• Copyright Registration
• Fair Use
• Works Made For Hire
• Trademark
• Rights Management
• Creative Commons
• Licensing
• Protecting your creations

John D. Mason of Copyright Counselors, LLC is an art, entertainment and intellectual property attorney, and literary agent. He is based in the Washington DC/Maryland area. His practice focuses on copyright and trademark transactional matters, litigation, publishing and media issues, contracts, and commercial matters. He works with writers, artists, filmmakers and people and companies in creative industries to protect, promote and exploit their work. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Mason is adjunct faculty teaching Entertainment Law at UDC Law School, past adjunct teaching Art and the Law at George Mason University, Board President of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, and past Advisory Board member of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington. His email is jmason@copyrightcounselors.com and his firm website is www.copyrightcounselors.com.


Session #3: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 ~ Business Entities Formation
(Select this date to attend this session)

Presentation and Q & A with:
Cynthia Gayton

This Session Covers:

• Overview of Business Entities
• Types and Organization
• Management and Control
• Liability Protection
• Tax-Related Issues
• Business Agreements
• Shareholder and Membership Agreements
• Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements
• Non-Disclosure Agreements
• Non-Profit Entities
• Types
• IRS Form 1023 for Tax-Exempt Status
• Common Mistakes for Entrepreneurs

Cynthia M. Gayton, Esq. holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University in Arlington.

Cynthia is a member of both the State Bar of Virginia and the District of Columbia Bar. In addition, Ms. Gayton is an adjunct professor of engineering law at The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She has been a volunteer attorney for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts since 1996. She worked as an associate at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, concentrating in complex antitrust litigation. At the American Institute of Architects, she was associate counsel.

Ms. Gayton is the author of Legal Aspects of Engineering, 8th Edition published by Kendall/Hunt. Finally, she is the author of several articles published by VINE: The Journal of
Information Knowledge Management Systems, including: “Commercial satellite imagery: CI, KM, and trade secret law,” Vol. 37, no.2, 2007; “Beyond Terrorism: Data Collection and Responsibility for Privacy,” Vol. 36, no. 4, 2006; “Alexandria Burned – Securing Knowledge Access in the Age of Google,” Vol. 36, no. 2, 2006; and “Legal issues for the knowledge conomy in the 21st Century,”Vol. 36, no. 1, 06.


Session #4: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 ~ Contracts & Licensing
(Select this date to attend this session)

Presentation and Q & A with:

This session covers:

When is a deal a deal?
- Offer
- Acceptance
- Consideration

What can you license?
- Ownership
- Contract considerations
- Royalties

What Happens If Someone Fails?

- Remedies
- Deadlines
- Indemnification
- Governing Law
- Limitations on Remedies


* Session #5: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 ~ Negotiation Strategies
(Select this date to attend this session)

Presentation and Q & A with:
Marjorie Conner

Covered in this session:

In business and in our personal lives, we are constantly needing to negotiate and collaborate with other people – people whose interests differ from our own.

Success in our lives therefore can hinge on how well we engage in these necessary interactions with others. This program offers attendees tips and tools for being a successful negotiator and collaborator.”


• the fundamentals of interest-based negotiations and avoiding the zero-sum game,

• the power of language in negotiations,

• what mediation is…and is not,

• when to consider facilitated negotiations,

• how to facilitate meetings and avoid breakdown and deadlock, and

• how to plan, prepare for, and participate in negotiations.

Marjorie Conner brings over 30 years’ experience in negotiation to this session. Marjorie has negotiated resolution in deals, litigation, the breakup of partnerships and businesses, and even disagreements among family members. Marjorie generally advocates an interest-based approach, using the other party’s needs to accomplish her client’s goals. Marjorie served on the WALA board from 2005 until 2012.


Session #6: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 ~ Grants
(Select this date to attend this session)

Presentation and Q & A with:
Paul Marengo, Promethean Fundraising - CEO

Covered in this session:

(1) Are you ready for funding?

(2) What kind of questions will they ask me and What do I need to apply?

(3) What kinds of grants are there and where should I look for them?

(4) Once I get funded, what are the requirements and how do I manage my grant?

(5) Additional Resources

Paul Marengo is the CEO of Promethean Fundraising, a small boutique consulting firm that helps grassroots organizations become more competitive fundraisers. Mr. Marengo has 25+ years in non-profit organizational development. In his career, Paul has been the Festival Director for DC Film Alliance, the Asian Pacific American Film Festival as well as the Volunteer Coordinator for DC Independent Film Festival, DC Underground Film Festival, Reel Affirmations, and now FilmFestDC. Further adding to his resume, Paul has been the event manager for organizations such as the Guerilla Film Festival and Reel Affirmations as well as a Theater Manager for the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Lastly, Paul has been a film judge for the NYC Independent Film Festival, The Washington West Film Festival, and Smart Philm Festival.


Arlington Cultural Affairs, which presents public programs as Arlington Arts, is a division of Arlington Economic Development. The Division is charged with fostering a creative environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and community participation. We do this by providing material support to artists, and arts organizations, in the form of grants, facilities, and theater technology; through a commitment to integrating award-winning Public Art into our built environment; and with high quality performing, literary, visual, and new media programs across the County.” https://arts.arlingtonva.us/

* Cultural Affairs is located between Oakland Street & Nelson Street. Please use the, Cultural Affairs Main Entrance, (closest to Nelson Street) in the BACK of the building. Parking is limited at 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington VA 22206. Additional parking may be found in Shirlington Village, a 10-minute walk from Cultural Affairs. For more information, visit http://villageatshirlington.com/parking.

Event Details

  • Date

    March 24, 2020

  • Time

    7:00pm - 9:00pm

  • Partner

    Arlington Arts (Arts Enterprise Institute)

  • Venue

    Arlington Cultural Affairs
    “Theatre on the Run”
    3700 South Four Mile Run Drive
    Arlington, Virginia 22206

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