In-depth, collaborative, legal experience

General/In-House Counsel Services

Sharon provides tailored general counsel/in-house counsel services to arts and cultural organizations, large and small charitable nonprofit organizations, grantmakers, and small businesses.

Services include providing legal advice, transactional services and risk management analysis, along with advice on government ethics and lobbying issues for nonprofits.

Copyright and Licensing

Advice on copyright issues, from creation to licensing and protection.

Assist artists, creatives and their heirs in identifying, analyzing, and protecting intellectual property rights.

Assist authors and their heirs in working with publishers.

Public Art Practice

Legal representation through all aspects of both permanent and temporary public art projects, from conceptual planning through commissioning, related contracting and licensing, installation, maintenance, conservation, and removal.

Representation of both commissioning parties and of artists. Projects include multi-million dollar and multi-year commissioning agreements, work with local, national and international artists and curators of recognized stature.

General Art and Culture Practice

Legal representation in cultural and historic preservation projects and disputes.

Negotiate long and short-term art loan agreements.

Advise arts organization on policy issues and day-to-day operational issues.

Advise Boards of Directors on governance and policy issues.


Developed and continues to teach Legal and Ethical Issues in Arts and Culture in the Drexel University Arts Administration and Museum Leadership Graduate program since 2002 (focus on online program since 2008).

Member, Drexel University Graduate College Diversity Advisory Council

Presentations and publications on legal topics in arts and culture

  • Selected Legal Issues for Temple Creatives, Contract and Copyright Issues (2020 and 2021) (Presentations).
  • The Marabar Controversy, Purpose, selection and meaning of public art, site-specificity and art history,  The Arts and Cultural Heritage Newsletter of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section, August 2020.
  • Public Art/Public Controversy:  Legal Issues in the Disputes Over Confederate Monuments, A Supplement to the presentation:  Public Art, Politics and Philadelphia’s Rizzo Controversy, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, April 15, 2019.
  • Arts and Cultural Organizations – Setting the Pace with Social Media, Art & Cultural Heritage Newsletter, Art and Cultural Heritage Law Committee of the American Bar Association, Winter 2011, Vol. II, Issue No. I.
  • Local Treasures: Refining Philadelphia’s Cultural Heritage Policy, by Sharon M. Erwin, The Philadelphia Lawyer, Fall 2008, Vol. 71, No. 3.
  • Representing the Public Interest in Deaccessioning Disputes, American Bar Association, Section of International Law C.L.E., The Deaccession of Art Works from Museum Collections, February 12, 2008.
  • Cultural Heritage Law, the Cultural Heritage Debate and the Philadelphia Experience, by Sharon M. Erwin, Cultural Heritage, Museum Ethics and the Law: Philadelphia Reflects the Global Debate, PVLA C.L.E., December 2007.
  • Introduction to International Law for Museum Professionals, by Sharon M. Erwin, ALI-ABA Legal Issues in Museum Administration, March 2007.

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