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David P. Stoeberl, ArtLoupe

Law Firm Business Changes

Though he once aspired to become an artist, David P. Stoeberl admits that the pressures of the real world got in the way.

David P. Stoeberl“When I was in high school, I was actually considering going to art school,” said Stoeberl, a native St. Louisan and a principal at Carmody MacDonald. “One of the things that dissuaded me from that and took me on the path to law school was just making ends meet and the financial considerations involved in becoming an artist.”

That’s a problem he wanted to help alleviate for others. As part of the board of Art Saint Louis since 2013 and president of the organization from 2016-2018, he found himself in a unique position to help local artists by assisting pro bono in the creation of ArtLoupe, a unique mobile app.

“The whole point of it is to provide a platform for artists to publish and sell their artwork and for consumers to locate art and purchase it,” he said.

Stoeberl’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, handling matters in both state and federal court for a variety of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to individuals.

He said the ArtLoupe concept was originally the brainchild of Art St. Louis Executive Director Chandler Branch, but Branch quickly found that he needed help with legal logistics in everything from contracting with app developers to crafting user agreements with artists.

“That’s how I, as a board member, got drawn into it. It was a fascinating project,” Stoeberl said.

The attorney, who also has done pro bono work for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Our Lady’s Inn and the Miracle League of Fairview Heights, found himself recruited to help with making the new app a reality.

While some similar ideas have been put into production, Stoeberl said this one was more “artist-focused” than most.

“In other words, the point of it was really to provide artists with a platform to manage their portfolios and their business,” he noted of the app, which originally launched in 2016.

The software, which is free to download, enables users to filter available artwork by various criteria, visualize pieces in a given environment, follow certain artists and ultimately buy pieces from creators.

“I honestly don’t know of any other nonprofit arts organizations that have done this,” said Stoeberl, who worked with fellow Carmody MacDonald attorney Mariquita L. Barbieri on the project. “It was the vision of Chandler Branch that recognized how things were changing with e-commerce and app-based commerce.”

Stoeberl, who was recognized by Missouri Lawyers Media as an Up & Coming award winner in 2011, admits that art might seem a bit beyond the wheelhouse of a commercial litigation attorney.

“This is a stretch outside,” he said, chuckling. “It is just more of a passion project and something I’ve always been interested in.”

It’s also something he wanted to do for local artists.

“St. Louis has, I think, an underappreciated visual arts scene,” he noted.

Stoeberl, who is marking a dozen years with Carmody MacDonald, acknowledges that, between work and family, he doesn’t have much time to pursue artistic endeavors these days.

“That’s why I like being on the board of Art St. Louis — just to encourage and help others with the time I have,” he said.

And he still likes to appreciate the art of others. Asked if he’ll make any purchases through ArtLoupe, his answer is clear.

“Absolutely,” he said.

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