The Business of Art (Artists Legal Drop-In)

Learn about and share with your peers the ins and outs of art entrepreneurship—navigating the business side of your art practice and the legal knowledge and tools needed to succeed—in our artist-led community legal drop-in session!

This virtual event is intended to provide a relaxed space for artists to learn both from each other and from our expert facilitators—Melanie Yugo (artist, policy researcher, and educator), Sarwar Qureshi (chartered professional accountant), and Vandana Taxali (art-tech entrepreneur and intellectual property lawyer). Designed as a community-led session, participants are encouraged to bring and share their questions, experiences, struggles, and successes with their peers and facilitators. Potential topics for discussion include: types of business structures; considerations related to setting up a business; navigating negotiations; understanding basic copyright and intellectual property laws; when and how to use different agreements/contracts; protecting your rights as an artist; and better accounting and tax practices, including bookkeeping and invoicing tips.

This session is open to artists working in all disciplines; however, focus will be on issues relevant to independent and/or collective visual and media artists. If you are an arts worker and/or arts organization, we ask that you join only with the intention of better understanding how to improve services and resources available to artists.

Date: November 15th

Time: 5.30pm – 7.00pm ET

Virtual via ZOOM

This session will not be recorded.

ASL interpretation and auto-captioning will be provided.

FREE to attend

To Register:

We acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts de l’Ontario et le gouvernement de l’Ontario, et la Ville de Toronto par l’intermédiaire du Conseil des arts de Toronto de leur soutien financier.

For questions regarding this session, please contact Flora,

Artists Legal Drop-In Series

“Artists Legal Drop-In Series” is an artist-led drop-in series that brings artists and lawyers together for meaningful exchanges and valuable knowledge-sharing so that artists are empowered to voice and act upon their rights. Artists attending can share and/or learn about legal / legal-adjacent issues and information while supporting each other in navigating their artistic practices. This series is a new, experimental model, designed to be flexible and responsive to artists’ needs.

Full guidelines and general information:

Facilitator Bios

Melanie Yugo is a Filipina-Canadian policy researcher, educator and artist. She explores the areas of cultural expression and identity, diasporic storytelling, community engagement and care, public engagement models in arts and culture, citizen empowerment, and institutional transformation through a decolonized lens.

Melanie is Director and Co-Founder of Possible Worlds, a community-driven, curatorial platform and multidisciplinary space specializing in art, music and publishing. She is also Senior Policy Analyst at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, where she is helping to lead the Department’s review of citizenship through an Anti-Racism lens.

A socially-engaged artist, Melanie has presented her work and developed educational programming across Canada and internationally. She is the recipient of multiple provincial and municipal arts grants for projects related to alternative arts engagement models, her Filipino heritage, printmaking and publishing. The National Gallery of Canada launched a new public program based on work pioneered by Spins & Needles, the art and music collective she co-founded and led with her partner Jason Pelletier. Federal museums, community health centres, technology corporations, festivals, academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations are among their past collaborators.

Melanie brings a range of experience in social and cultural policy, leading projects in equity, diversity and inclusion, cultural diplomacy, stakeholder and partnership management, and policy research. She has worked at federal institutions and the not-for-profit sectors, including Canadian Heritage, Global Affairs Canada, with Canada’s public arts funders, and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. With 15 years in the federal arts and culture sector, Melanie was instrumental in the launch and renewal of key national research, program reviews, partnerships, networks, convenings and youth leadership initiatives, with a particular focus on amplifying the stories and worldviews of underrepresented groups, to help reshape programs and policies across the country and abroad.

She holds an M.Sc. in Social and Cultural Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), B.Sc. in Psychology from McGill University (Montreal), in addition to completing summer studies at the School of Visual Arts (New York City).

Melanie was born in Toronto and is currently based in Ottawa.

Sarwar Qureshi (CPA, CA) is an Ottawa-based accountant and partner at Paterson & Company, a CPA firm that provides income tax, financial and business services to small businesses, corporations, and individual professionals. Sarwar is passionate about small businesses and helping entrepreneurs succeed. He has extensive experience working with small business owners and incorporated professionals, assisting them with business and financial planning, accounting, income tax filing, and more. LinkedIn

Vandana Taxali is an art-tech entrepreneur and intellectual property lawyer practicing in the area of entertainment, art, music, film production, intellectual property, copyright, technology, blockchain and NFTs.

She is the founder of Artcryption, a platform to protect, manage and licence art, creative assets and IP. She is also an art arbitrator with the International Court of Art at the Hague.

Vandana serves on the Standard Council of Canada blockchain committee and the Art Identity Standard, NFT & Metaverse Working Group which is a consortium of art industry leaders developing a universal art ID standard.

Vandana is also a consultant and educator for to promote the education of innovative technologies for artists. See for more details. Read her report on innovative technologies and the art world at” / LinkedIn


Nov 15 2023


5:30 pm - 7:00 pm