Common Field was inspired by numerous conversations amongst arts organizers about the need for a coalition to bring visibility and regular connection to the broad spectrum of independent, experimental, contemporary visual artist projects and spaces operating today. Historically, groups such as the National Association of Artists’ Organizations (NAAO) (1982-2001) and the Warhol Initiative (1999-2012), neither of which remain active, provided forums for exchange, advocacy, and learning for visual arts organizers.
Common Field’s six foundersElizabeth Chodos, Courtney Fink, Nat May, Abigail Statinsky, Stephanie Sherman, and Shannon Stratton — connected through their participation in the Warhol Initiative program, supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Inspired by the network created by that program and process, they began shaping a model for what would become Common Field. The first iteration of this work was Hand-in-Glove, a two-day conference organized by Threewalls in Chicago in October 2011, which brought together local organizers to discuss sustainability, regionalism, new models, archives, and more.
In 2013, co-founders organized a retreat at Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, MI and invited 20 additional field leaders to identify needs, discuss visions and missions, explore historical precedents, and devise infrastructures that could support a larger, open body of membership. The next iteration of that work was the 2013 Hand in Glove gathering hosted by Press Street in New Orleans, where the founders worked with various field members to lay the groundwork for Common Field.
In 2015, a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts enabled the public mobilization of Common Field as a Convening and Network, launching public paid membership in 2015 at the Convening in Minneapolis. Common Field ran as a project from 2015-2016 funded primarily by the Warhol Foundation. Common Field earned its 501c3 organizational status in 2017 which was supported by an increased gift from the Warhol Foundation.
In the years that followed, Common Field continued to produce national Convenings in 2016 (Miami), 2017 (Los Angeles), and 2019 (Philadelphia), and Houston (2020) which moved online due to the pandemic. Convenings in cited locations worked with local partners, garnered local financial support, and brought 100s of people together. In 2021, Common Field organized its first online Convening with national partners from around the country. From 2019 to 2022, Common Field received support from the National Endowment for the Arts for Convenings as well.
During its life, Common Field also focused on building and expanding its Network membership program offering members discounts to attend the Convening, grant opportunities, and various partnerships for publication, programs, conversations, and support of projects. Common Field aimed to build an organization that supported the pluralities and multiplicities of perspectives in the field and develop an operating structure that can enable flexibility, feedback, responsiveness, rotating teams, and broad participation from the field and its friends.
In 2020, Common Field’s founding executive director departed and new leadership at both the staff and board level was established in 2021. During that year, Common Field strategically expanded its staff (from three to six) and embarked on a serious reflective process through a 360 Organizational Audit process conducted by consultants Shana Turner and S. Mandisa Moore-O'Neal. The process focused on understanding misalignments between the organization's founding values and its practice from 2015-2020. The resulting report and the organizational leadership’s work to understand the financial, structural, and ethical outcomes of these misalignments led to the decision to sunset the organization in 2022.
The 2021-2022 Common Field staff and board moved through this process and decision with intention and with the founding values of the organization at heart. In sunsetting, we hope that the lessons and outcomes of this process will provide possibilities for new paths forward in our field. We thank you for being part of this great work.
Common Field provides a platform for visual arts organizations and organizers to join as members of Common Field. Currently, over 650 members connect with one another and share resources, insights, and opportunities. Members receive priority registration and discounts for the Common Field Convening, and can post listings for announcements, opportunities, jobs, and services to our national online listings directory. Members of the Network also have the opportunity to participate in members-only forums, discussion groups and share research and documents through a members-only online login.
The Common Field Convening is an itinerant annual gathering that brings together 500+ visual arts organizers to share resources, ideas and methods for artist-led, artist-run, and artist-centered spaces, projects and practices. The convening goals are to develop local and national peer connectivity, to build knowledge from the field and create a growing set of resources to share broadly. The convening connects and incorporates the interests, themes and issues of the national Common Field network with the issues, contexts, and conditions specific to the location the convening takes place. The Convening has been hosted in New Orleans 2013, Minneapolis 2015, Miami 2016, Los Angeles 2017, Philadelphia 2019 and online (initially scheduled for Houston) in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Projects consist of Common Field's year-round programs including Conversations, Grants, Histories, Meet-Ups, Mentoring, Partnerships, Perspectives, Research, Resources, Toolkits, and Workshops.
Common Field connects, supports and advocates for the artist-centered field by providing a network for independent arts organizations and organizers.
Common Field’s vision is to build platforms and advance thinking that support diversity in identity, geography, history, orientation, perspective, and circumstance and create space for many people to enter and shape the field.
Common Field will be a primary entry point for the field to identify existing models, engage with shared histories, create new connections, and combat the isolation of starting new initiatives and sustaining long-term projects alike.
Common Field is a national network of independent visual arts organizations and organizers that connects, supports, and advocates for the artist-centered field. Launched in 2015, Common Field has nearly 900 Network members across the country. Programs include national convenings, grants, research, resources, forums, meet-ups, and advocacy. Our vision is to increase understanding, involvement and knowledge of artists organizations and their value, and increase their capacity through national connectivity, dialog understanding, and support.
- Creating broad public visibility for artist organizations and organizers
- Articulating the common practices and values of visual arts organizing
- Sharing histories and stories of the field
- Facilitating forums for convening, peer-to-peer knowledge, and exchange across geographies and communities
- Providing platforms for resources, tools, and advocacy
- Demonstrating responsive, diverse, and accessible approaches to creative production
Writing Help to Arm With Words for Extra Benefit
Common Field encourages visual artists to share their experiences with other fields' representatives for a broader community and networking. It includes writing for the students of art colleges and other corresponding academic institutions, as well as essay publications in thematic journals and online newspapers on visual arts. Collaborating with reliable essay writing help providers, we thus assist our writers with writing practices that are necessary but often challenging for them to master. Thanks to such collaboration, we are proud to see our organizations get new platforms for advocating visual arts creativity and new channels for communicating their research and knowledge. With professional assignment help online, we master the art of convincing with words, not with visuals only. It's a way of showing our openness and flexibility for achieving the goals and increasing the network's visibility to involve society in the topic discussion.