Sarah Conley Odenkirk is a partner at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP, where she co-heads the Art Law practice group. She is based in the firm’s Beverly Hills office where she has a core practice in fine art and emerging technologies, and advises clients on matters pertaining to navigating the art market, business transactions, intellectual property, blockchain, public policy, and strategic planning.
Sarah works with artists, collectors, dealers, art institutions, and a wide range of creative entrepreneurs to guide them in the art market, business development, sustainable growth, the protection of intellectual property assets, and the application of emerging technologies such as NFTs and blockchain. Sarah also works with municipalities to craft ordinances, policies, and procedures pertaining to public art in both public and private development.
In addition to her practice, Sarah serves as co-president of the board of directors for Fulcrum Arts, and sits on the Art Council for Cedar-Sinai Hospital.
Previously, Sarah served as the Associate Director for the Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s Art Business program at Claremont Graduate University where she was instrumental in curriculum development, management of adjunct faculty, administering of internship programs, and taught courses including: Legal Foundations for the Creative Industries (Art Law); Cultural Property and Restitution; International Transactions; and Public Art..
Sarah is the author of A Surprisingly Interesting Book About Contracts for Artists and Other Creatives.
Review of Noah Charney, Art Crime: Terrorists, Tomb Raiders, Forgers and Thieves, May 2017, International Journal of Cultural Property, 24, pp 243-247.
Review of Herbert Lazerow, Mastering Art Law, December 2015, International Journal of Cultural Property, 22, pp 541-544.
A Surprisingly Interesting Book About Contracts for Artists and Other Creatives. 2014, AMMO Books, LLC.
Public Art in Private Development Database available in print and online at: www.artconvergecommunity.com.
“The Relevance Of Authenticity In The Art Market: A Survey Of Claims And A Proposed Solution,” The Art and Museum Law Journal, Volume 1, Fall 2004.
“Funding Culture: Fundamental Structural and Philosophical Contrasts Between the US and France,” prepared for the French-American Foundation in New York, April 2003.
“International Art Theft,” Wisconsin International Law Journal, Volume 13, No. 2, Spring 1995.
Sarah is a frequent speaker at professional conferences in both the legal and art fields in the United States and abroad. Recent speaking engagements include:
Speaker, UIA International Association of Lawyers, Art Distancing – How the Art Market is Turning Digital, October 2020.
Moderator, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Resisting Now: Art and Policy Talk, Online Panel, September 2020.
Speaker, American Planning Association, Public Art Life Cycle, Online Webinar, September 2020.
Speaker at International Municipal Lawyers Association Mid-Year Meeting, Public Art Life Cycle, Washington, DC April 2020 (remote).
Speaker at Art Law Day at Cardozo Law School, New York, NY November 2019.
Organizer and presenter at Seattle Art Fair, Achieving True Market Disruption in the Digital Realm, Seattle, WA August 2019.
Host and moderator for Art + Law in Outer Space, Los Angeles, CA July 2019.
Host and moderator for Using Memory & Connection to Occupy Space: Art in the Virtual and Natural Realms, Los Angeles, CA June 2019.
Host and moderator for A Conversation About Block Chain Technology and the Art World, Los Angeles, CA, July 2018.
Presenter at the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Pre-Conference, Monuments, Public Memory and the Artist, Denver, CO, June 2018.
Panelist for Copyright Society of the USA, Public Art as Provocateur, Midwinter Meeting, Savannah, GA, February 2018.
Organizer and presenter for LA as Lab: Extra Territories, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, April 2017.
Panelist for Copyright Society of the USA, Lawful, Awful or Artful, Midwinter Meeting, Napa Valley, CA February 2017.
Panelist for Intellectual Property Scholarship Symposium (Copyrights), American Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Conference, Bethesda, MD, April 2016.
Organizer and presenter at the Art Law Executive Education Program and Conference for Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Los Angeles, January 25-31, 2015.
Guest Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon Arts Management program course. Public Art Commissions and the Life Cycle of Public Art Projects. January, 2014.
Associations & Activities
- Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA)
- American Bar Association (ABA)
- International Municipal Lawyers Association
- American Planning Association