Interview #15: Meredith Calfe

Meredith Calfe and I go way back to 2006 when we were both hostesses at Casbah. I remember training Meredith on her first day—she was spunky and determined to do a great job (even in very high heels). I knew she would be well-received by the rest of the Casbah staff.

At the time we met, Meredith was just starting law school. Now, she is a lawyer and has co-founded a firm, Art Industry Law, which serves artists and nonprofits in the region. Um... go girl!

It was lovely to reconnect with Meredith at Ava, one of her favorite spots, for happy hour. (They have incredible guacamole, by the way!)

I loved hearing more about her firm. ARTiLaw's niche is quite unique and quite needed. It's great that she gives artists and nonprofits the guidance to do what they love. I am impressed with this free tool, "The ARTiLaw Business Plan Guide and Template.", an incredible resource for anyone who is starting a new venture.

I can't wait to see what's next to unfold for Meredith—her ambition is unmatched. I have no doubt there will be more greatness to come!

Enjoy Meredith's Q&A.


Name: Meredith Calfe

Job title: Owner/Partner at Art Industry Law

Twitter: @ArtIndustryLaw

Blog: Art Industry Law Blog

Neighborhood you live in: Squirrell Hill

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice:  I finally gave up coffee this year. But I drink black tea all day, so I’m probably still not doing my body any favors.

Current Shampoo Preference:  Confession - I will use Oscar Blandi’s “Pronto” dry shampoo for as many days in a row as I can get away with it.  

Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?
Pittsburgh was always home, but I came back after college because I realized some of the value inherent in a small community.  Like the resulting accountability to do what you say you’re going to do, and hopefully do it well.  

Who do you spend your time with?
My extremely supportive boyfriend, my intrepid business partner Daniel Friedson, and my chihuahua, Moose!

What are your favorite aspects of your job?  
I think Dan and I both love the fact that for the most part, Art Industry Law is invited into a project right at its inception.  A client has a really interesting and compelling vision that they want to turn into reality, and they want us to be part of the effort.  It’s a link to something exciting that I can compliment with a skill set and always feel connected to after.

Do you have a soul food?  
If Pittsburgh had a noodle bar, I would try to live there. My dad developed an attachment to ramen while he was in the service, and he used to make it for my sister and me when we were little. This year I’d like to learn how to make it from scratch, and convert my mom! She’s still holding out.

What are some of your recent personal goals?
I love to write, but don’t make the time to pursue it. Dan writes poetry and music, my sister writes short stories, my boyfriend writes screenplays and my best friend Emily is a novelist and professional speechwriter in Savannah. And they’re all seriously, remarkably talented. Recently I’ve come to feel that I’m wasting a massive resource in all of them.

What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants?  
My favorite new restaurant is Salt of the Earth, and my favorite margarita, since you asked, is at Yo Rita. I’m starting to suspect that the interviewees of Yinzpiration are working under some sort of collective, covert partnership with those two restaurants that I just don’t know about yet. I also love quick trips to Nicky’s Thai, Tram’s, and fresh baguette sandwiches at La Gourmandine.

Describe your ideal day.
Have time to read the paper! Accomplish something meaningful for a client. Cook something totally creative and bangin’ and share it with a friend.  I think that’s more than enough.

What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?  
That’s a tough one, but it has to be Neko Case at the Riverplex in 2009. The sun had just set behind the woods surrounding the stage, and of course her music has always invoked her search for an uneasy peace with nature. As she began to play, bats and fireflies flew out of the trees and surrounded her. The fireflies literally landed on her fingers and began blinking their lights. It was astoundingly bizarre and beautiful... like watching a gorgeous red-haired witch presiding over a coven of Takamines.

What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years? What do you love most about the city?
Bike Pittsburgh will have a hover-speed-bike rental program.  I think that answers both questions.


Kellee Maize's picture

Meredith is an amazing friend and someone I have loved to work with in the past. So excited for her and Dan! This is such a great blog concept!!!! Glad someone is recognizing how awesome Meredith is and giving ArtILaw some well deserved attention for the important services they are offering in pgh.(And, I too confess that I use dry shampoo as often as I can, you are not alone girl! :)

Kate Stoltzfus's picture

Thanks, Kellee! Yes, ARTiLaw is a great resource for artists and nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region. And I am going to have to give the dry shampoo a try... it sounds brilliant!

ET's picture

A profile of a lovely someone, written by another lovely someone! Who knew Big Burrito was such a hotbed of creative talent?

Kate Stoltzfus's picture

Emily! So glad you found us here. Thanks for your sweet comment. Hope all is well!

Anonymous's picture

Being a new author in Pittsburgh, I wanted to gather the best information I could from a local provider. I accomplished that by using the resourceful website of The website is easy to navigate. With each click of the mouse, I was filled with useful information. I found the business plan to be informative. I was actually able to figure out some of the preliminary steps in beginning and finishing my book. I am now in the process of completing my first children’s book and that business plan is helping me to the finish line. I was certainly a bit lost but Art Industry Law’s website did a great job of capturing my bearings and pushing me towards the right sail. Bravo and congrats to the website and to this article for highlighting their accomplishments!

Kate Stoltzfus's picture

So glad you are finding the tools on Art Industry Law's website to be useful. Keep us updated on the progress of your book!

Amanda Gerstnecker's picture

Thanks so much for the great article and especially for the link to the Business Plan Guide and Template. I have already forwarded that along to three different people who are considering new ventures. I look forward to reading more about ARTiLaw in the future, and more about this magical dry shampoo everyone is talking about . . . .

Kate Stoltzfus's picture

Awesome, Amanda! Thanks so much for passing along the ARTiLaw business plan. And yes this dry shampoo has me intrigued as well!

Se√°n O'Donnell's picture

Great interview with an awesome, talented, and industrious lady.

Kate Stoltzfus's picture

Thank you, Sean!

daniel parme's picture

ArtiLaw if a vital resource for Pittsburgh-based artists. And if "dry shampoo" is what makes Meredith so positive, helpful, and wonderfully friendly, then maybe we should all be using it. Then again, if it makes her a chinchilla, perhaps it is wise to leave it be.

Kate Stoltzfus's picture

I think you are on to something with the dry shampoo. I've had several readers mention that they are going to try it. I'm curious myself! If it makes me as fun and bubbly as Meredith I'm sold.

Emily's picture

I use dry shampoo, too! You know I hate washing my hair :)

Christina Saunders's picture

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Meredith several years ago while studying in Australia. Since 2006, fortuitously, our professional interests and lives have been on some form of parallel trajectory, albiet, we live in separate areas of the country. While building my own practice, I have kept a close eye on what Meredith has done with ARTiLaw, and I truly believe in what ARTiLaw stands for and what they are doing. I urge any artist who cares about their business to take advantage of the incredible and sound legal resources that ARTiLaw provides.