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Law students working at the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts include Jamie Robertson (3L), Emily Palmer (2L), Kassandra Taverner (2L), Rebecca Penner (3L), and Lisa Haydey (2L).

Celebrating the power of art, education, legal innovation, and hope

Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts launches at Government House

May 2, 2024 — 

On March 14, 2024, The Honourable Anita R. Neville, P.C., O.M., Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, hosted a formal reception at Government House to celebrate the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts.

Guests included Manitoba artists, musicians, writers, representatives of arts and culture organizations, arts supporters, community leaders, lawyers, law students, and faculty members from the Faculty of Law, Desautels Faculty of Music, and the School of Art from the University of Manitoba. Inside the beautiful historic residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, located on the grounds of the Legislative Building in downtown Winnipeg, guests were welcomed by live cello music performed by the talented Patricia Vanucci, before a short program to learn more about the mission and purpose behind the new legal arts clinic.

The Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts provides pro bono legal services to artists, creatives, and arts and cultural organizations throughout Manitoba, including Northern Manitoba. The Clinic is operated by law students at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law. It is the only clinic in the Province that provides free legal information and services tailored to artists and arts organizations. The Clinic helps individuals and organizations with varied legal needs, including questions about contracts, intellectual property, e-commerce, governance, and business organizations.

Each guest received a formal invitation from the Lieutenant Governor, which included a card inviting guests to bring a non-perishable food item as part of The Lieutenant Governor’s SHARING HOPE INITIATIVE. This initiative aims to raise awareness of food insecurity throughout the Province and encourage others in taking an active role to support our neighbours and friends feeding their families, emphasizing that “Access to nutritious food is a fundamental human right.”

Left to right: Kassandra Taverner (2L), Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M., Lisa Haydey (2L).

Left to right: Kassandra Taverner (2L), Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M., Lisa Haydey (2L).

In her Greetings, the Lieutenant Governor began with a Traditional Territorial Acknowledgement, welcomed all in attendance, and noted that the new Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts aligns with her deep commitment to community, improving the lives of others, dedication to education, and importance of supporting the arts in Manitoba.

A short program was guided by law student Lisa Haydey (2L) [MPT 2020], who acted as the Master of Ceremonies. Lisa is a entering her third year of law school and has worked at the Clinic since the summer of 2023. In her opening remarks, Haydey thanked the Lieutenant Governor for beginning the evening with the Traditional Territorial Acknowledgment responding to its fundamental importance to everything that is taught, learned, and done at the law school as well as at the new legal arts Clinic. Haydey also noted the power of art.

“The land in Manitoba is powerful,” said Haydey. “The reason it is powerful is because it is full of stories. We all – each of us – have our own stories. It is part of who we are.”

“We also know of the power that art has  —  Art has the power to make us think, to inspire, to challenge, and to heal.”

– Lisa Haydey (2L)

 Guests then heard from Nick Slonosky [LLB/1979, BComm (Hons)/1976], Instructor and Supervising Lawyer with the Clinic. He thanked the Lieutenant Governor for making the event at Government House possible and emphasized that this event was more than just recognizing the launch of the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts. Slonosky also took the opportunity to celebrate everyone in attendance who was an artist, creative, arts organization, funder, arts supporter, educator, lawyer, or law student, and thanked all for what they do every day and their collaborative efforts to celebrate and support a thriving Arts sector in Manitoba.

Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr. Richard Jochelson was then invited to shared insights about the mission behind providing free legal services to the arts and culture community throughout Manitoba. According to Jochelson, the Clinic aims to bridge the access to justice gap in the Province and fosters a vital arts ecosystem.

“Supporting the arts community in Manitoba, including Indigenous, rural, and remote artists is fundamental to fostering cultural enrichment, community engagement, and potential economic vitality for arts communities,” he said.

“The Clinic plays a pivotal role in bridging the access to creation and innovation gap by providing essential legal services tailored to the unique needs of all artists.” – Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law

He concluded his remarks by thanking the Manitoba Law Foundation for its generous support to assist in creating the new Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts.

Guests then heard from Instructor and Supervising Lawyer at the Clinic, Yvan Guy Larocque, who shared the inspiration behind the Clinic’s logo. The logo was created by local Juno award winning graphic designer, Roberta Landreth. The Clinic’s logo has different shades of blue that are derived from the University of Manitoba’s own logo as well as new shades to create a monochromatic design.

Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts logo designed by Winnipeg artists Roberta Landreth.

Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts logo designed by Juno award-winning Winnipeg artist, Roberta Landreth.

Larocque shared that according to Landreth, logos are outward expressions of the personality and energy of the brand that they represent and quoted her as saying, “The Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Art’s mission is to grow and champion sustainable and successful careers in the arts, which is of mutual benefit to the students studying law at the U of M so that they can put their practical skills to use.”

Larocque explained that to Landreth, the logo represents the reciprocal relationship between law students and Manitoba creatives, it shows the two interacting to create a wheel, a dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship that serves both groups.

Working in the Clinic, students engage with clients and develop skills to prepare for their future legal practice while providing support to a special sector of Manitoba’s community. As the Clinic serves both groups directly, Larocque noted the incredible value in the Clinic’s reach.

“I’ve known for many years that artists are drastically underserved, but the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts is an innovative solution to address these unmet legal needs.” – Yvan Larocque, Clinical Instructor, Faculty of Law

“It has also shown how much legal professionals, including law students, want to support and provide pro bono services to artists and be involved in supporting the arts,” he said.

Guests at the event then heard from Crystal Kolt, O.M. [BMus/1984], Director of Culture and Community Initiatives for the City of Flin Flon. Kolt shared that the need for legal services in Northern Manitoba is real. She emphasized vast and inspiring projects taking place in the North, such as the Uptown Emporium; a non-profit organization and online storefront that showcases retail products created by artists in Northern Manitoba as well as ImagiNorthern which works to empower artists and strengthen communities in the North. Kolt highlighted and named many talented creators throughout various Northern communities that need legal assistance. Her remarks were filled with gratitude from individuals and supporters of the arts community in all corners of the Province. Kolt concluded by emphasizing that the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts is a needed initiative that will have great impacts, especially for artists in Northern Manitoba.

Lastly, attendees heard from Kassandra Taverner (2L) [BSc/2020]. Taverner is entering her third year of law school at the U of M and has worked at the Clinic since the summer of 2023.

For Taverner, working at the Clinic has been a notable experience, as she is both an artist and a future legal professional. Prior to law school, she was a ceramist. Through this experience, she noted the intimidation behind seeking legal information and the inaccessibility of legal services, specifically for artists.

“I am proud to contribute to this initiative that will support and empower artists,” said Taverner. “At the same time, I also feel grateful as a law student that the Clinic will provide opportunities to gain practical experience.”  

Taverner reminded guests that there are also many ways to support artists, including attending a concert, visiting a museum, a gallery, buying a piece of art, or a book. According to Taverner, engaging with art is supporting art.  

Taverner presented the Lieutenant Governor with a special, one-of-a-kind, original, hand-painted card that she created especially for this event. The card read as follows:

Your Honour, 

Thank you so much for making this evening, celebrating the launch of the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts, possible. Your support and generosity means a lot to us and demonstrates your commitment to education and the arts in Manitoba.

The rewarding experience of serving the arts sector is a common feeling, according to Haydey. In her closing remarks, Haydey noted the purpose behind supporting the arts community in the Province and reminded attendees of its necessity and contributions to human life. 

“In this increasingly complex world, I think we need art more than ever to make sense of things,” she said.


On Thursday, June 6, 2024 the Faculty of Law looks forward to celebrating its 2024 Graduating Class during Spring Convocation and to the University of Manitoba also conferring on The Honourable Anita R. Neville, P.C., O.M. an Honorary Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) LL.D. for distinguished achievement in public service.

If you are a practicing lawyer in Manitoba and interested in volunteering with the Clinic or learning more about how you can make an impact, the Clinic invites you to check out the website for the Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts and follow the Clinic on social media. See: Manitoba Legal Clinic for the Arts 

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