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CERF+ guide helps working artists plan the ‘afterlife’ of their tools and other studio assets.

In October 2017, British artist Clifford Rainey’s home and studio in Napa were destroyed by the Altas Peak Wildfire in Northern California. Principally a sculptor who employs cast glass and drawing as primary methodologies, Rainey’s work has been exhibited internationally for 35 years. To help Clifford, check out his gofundme campaign. How were you impacted by the Atlas Peak California wildfire in October? We just got wiped. We had a rental house which got totally destroyed. Then I had my studio with all the equipment and collections of artwork that got completely destroyed and then Rachel [Clifford’s wife] had her little studio for her floral business. It all got destroyed. So we got hit three times. We had 15 minutes to get out so we left everything except what we were wearing and that was it. That’s our new life. We’re starting from there.No one knows the full story of your artistic career better than you—your artwork, your creative vision, your art-making process, and the professional activities through which you have shared your passion and talent.


To ensure that you have a say in how you are remembered, it is vital to have a plan in place that will serve as a guide to your heirs for protecting and preserving your artistic legacy. These resources can help demystify the work of estate planning—and help break down the tasks into doable steps.

Crafting Your Legacy is designed to be used either as a supplement to other guides on estate and legacy planning, or to initiate the process. The 22-page workbook includes eight case studies, checklists, and resources to help studio artists think about and plan for the fate of their tools, equipment, materials, library, archives, and other art-making assets as part of their creative legacy.

“Through educational workshops and new publications, legacy planning for artists is becoming a much more public topic of discussion,” said Project Director Meg Ostrum. “Up to now, the focus has been on protecting and preserving artwork.  We’re adding a look at the value of studio contents as part of a more comprehensive approach.”

Veteran curator and writer Mark Leach authored the publication, which is based on interviews with mid and late-career visual artists across the country at mid and late stages of their careers.  CERF+ also drew on the expertise of attorneys Jim Grace and Megan Low (Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts). This expert team co-authored the CALL Estate Planning Workbook for Visual Artists published by the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

Research and publication of Crafting Your Legacy was made possible by grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

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