Convening 2016

Miami, Oct 20 – 23

The Common Field Convening is an itinerant annual gathering created by and for the field of visual artists' organizations. The Common Field Convening Miami 2016 focused on arts organizing in a time of accelerated capitalism. Organized by Miami orgs BFI (Bas Fisher Invitational), Cannonball, Dimensions Variable, and Locust Projects in collaboration with Common Field national, the four-day program included panels, breakouts, skill-shares, tours, and celebrations.

Why Miami

Two years ago, local Miami organizations, BFI, Locust Projects, Dimensions Variable, and Cannonball reached out to Common Field with a collectively crafted vision that framed Miami as a place with strong experimental, non-commercial, non-profits, projects, spaces and organizations, as well as a growing artist community. With the rise of the art market, and extreme growth of Art Basel Miami Beach over the past decade, as well as the ever-increasing development of larger, often private institutions, these organizations recognized an opportunity to build a strong local network and create clarity and understanding of and for the art community in Miami.

Made up largely of immigrants, our local population experiences real estate bubbles, a bottoming out middle-class, scares of mosquito-borne viruses, and face-eating zombies while radical, experimental thought and work is obscured by simulated luxury and images of a vacationer’s dream. How does one continue to exist as an artist and an organizer when representation oscillates between poles of extreme distortion?

Plopped on the tip of the peninsula of a conservative swing state, Miami’s reliance on glossy image, accelerated capitalism, and denial of sea level rise is a microcosm in our shifting world. Through all these complications, artists and spaces have adapted various survival techniques, developed one of the best funded individual artist grant programs from a local government, and is home to a network of artist-initiated projects. We are looking forward to joining forces with our national community for robust dialogue and practical skill sharing so we can all better our lot.

Despite its early reputation as a man-made paradise and the “American Riviera,” shifts in taste and the advent of air travel left Miami struggling to define its character and re-gain international attention in the 1970s and 80s. (Shout out to the 1980s TV show Miami Vice. Seriously, Google it.)

As the city transformed throughout recent decades, the arrival of Art Basel in 2002 brought dizzying, international attention to Miami as a cultural destination. Despite its intensely seasonal nature, (if you have enough energy to stick around after the after-after parties) Art Basel has helped to shed a little light on the many amazing artist-driven spaces and happenings that call Miami home year-round. 

Miami is truly a thriving gateway between the cultures of the United States, Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean. The city is home to a diverse, energetic and experimental art scene that is in the middle of a very interesting and vibrant moment. The city’s burgeoning independent art scene has grown steadily in both number and scale, from enclaves in South Beach to Little Haiti, exploring process and production in the shadow of Miami’s emergence as a global city, what it means to think and work locally, and the importance of preservation of the cultural heritage of South Florida.

As it always has, Miami continues to look forward to an exciting future, one that is imbued with a host of endless possibilities.


Located in the heart of Little Haiti, the Little Haiti Cultural Center provides visitors and residents with a resource for information on the attractions and happenings in Little Haiti as well as other heritage and multicultural neighborhoods throughout Greater Miami. The Little Haiti area boasts art galleries, Haitian book and music stores, authentic dining experiences, and is increasingly becoming a burgeoning center of small independent businesses of all kinds.

The Little Haiti Cultural Center broke ground in 2006, as a result of a long-awaited vision of the late City of Miami Commissioner Arthur E. Teele, Jr. It has become a key engine in Downtown Little Haiti and nearby neighborhoods to spur economic and community growth. Over 100,000 people per year visit or take part in programs at the cultural facility.

LHCC offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to gain exposure to Afro-Caribbean culture, expand their knowledge of the arts and develop new talents. The complex is committed to fostering imagination, creativity, and positive experiences for children and adults year round.


Bas Fisher Invitational (BFI) is a 501(c)(3) artist run space dedicated to creativity, experimentation, and discourse in contemporary art. We aim to create a bridge between Miami and the International art world by curating a program that alternates between the local and the global. BFI is committed to building the Miami arts community by offering support for artist projects, in particular, WEIRD MIAMI, a platform for exhibitions and public programming that takes a behind the scenes look at the city and its artistic offerings.

Cannonball is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), arts organization dedicated to supporting artists, innovative forms of cultural production, and education to advance critical discourse and understanding of contemporary art practice. Based in downtown Miami, Florida, Cannonball’s artist-centric values are mirrored in its experimental programs, resources, and opportunities that respond to the needs of today’s artists and reflect our efforts to better understand the nuances and textures of South Florida.

Dimensions Variable (DV) is an exhibition space based in Miami and committed to the presentation and support of contemporary art. Through a collaborative exchange with artists and institutions, DV develops a contemporary art program that engages the community and promotes new and experimental practices. DV was founded in 2009 by artists Frances Trombly and Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova who direct the gallery.

Locust Projects is a not for profit exhibition space dedicated to providing contemporary visual artists the freedom to experiment with new ideas without the pressures of gallery sales or limitations of conventional exhibition spaces. Local, national and international artists are encouraged to create site-specific installations as an extension of their representative work. Locust Projects supports the local community through educational initiatives and programming that are free to the public.

Common Field (CF) is a nationally-focused visual arts network connecting contemporary, experimental, noncommercial artist organizations and organizers. CF provides a platform for visibility, learning, and exchange for artist-run and artist-centered organizations. Projects include convenings, research, resources, chapters, forums, and advocacy, with the aim of developing a more accessible and resourced visual arts organizing field. Common Field officially launched in Fall 2015 in Minneapolis at the Common Field Convening. Since then 400+ organizations and organizers have joined in the effort--which is really just beginning. For more information and to join as a member, visit us online at

An Alliance of 60+ Miami Organization and Partners have been a part of developing the convening program and leading Miami arts experiences.


From the beginning of the planning process, the four Miami partners set out to create a platform to recognize and advance Miami's artist-centered community. We are profoundly grateful for the contributions of the network and hope to create a more visible and connected local ecology in Miami through and beyond the Convening. 

Aaron Wide; AIRIE; Amanda Crider, IlluminArtsAnd Gallery; April Merleaux; ArcadiaLabsArt Center/South FloridaArt ServeArts 4 LearningAwesome FoundationBFIBookleggersBorscht; Both/And/Or/Neither/Nor; Bridge Red StudiosCannonballCentral FineCornell MuseumCreative MorningsDesign and Architecture Senior HighDavid CastilloDeering EstateDiaspora Vibe Cultural Arts IncubatorDimensions VariableDwelling ProjectsEmerging Art Leaders MiamiEmerson DorschEXILE BooksExtra Virgin PressFall SemesterFat VillageFIU Urban StudiosFlowerBox ProjectsFormalist Sidewalk PoetryFountainheadFreedom TowerFringe ProjectsGallery Diet; Gean Moreno; Girls’ ClubHattie May Williams + Loni JohnsonIncub8IRL InstituteJacqueline Falcone - B+B Rosy; Jane Hart; Key West Artist ResidencyKnee PitsLaundromat Art Space; Liana Perez, Art CircuitsLittle Haiti Cultural ComplexLocust ProjectsMade at the CitadelMoon Lighter MakerspaceMiami Beach Visitor's BureauMiami Dade Dept. of Cultural Affairs  / Miami Dade Parks & RecreationMiami Downtown Development AuthorityMiami Light ProjectMiami RailMiami Visitor's Bureau; Natalia Zuluaga; Noguchi BurtonNew World School of the ArtsO, MiamiOpa-Locka Community Development CorporationObsolete Media MiamiPaul B. Hernandez(Hialeah); PlaceholderPrizm Art FairRadio Espacio EstaciónRauschenberg Foundation Residency; Rich Ejire; SpinelloSwampspaceThe Lab MiamiThe NightclubThe Writer’s Room at the Betsy Hotel; Tigertail ProductionsTM SistersTurn Based PressUniversity of Miami Special Collection; VOCE; Wolfson ArchiveYoungArts.


Thanks to The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Knight Foundation, The Hemera Foundation, and Common Field Members for their generous support of Common Field.


Thanks to the Common Field 2016 Convening Collaborators!

Lead Partners and Convening Organizers: Ashley Ford / Cannonball; Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova + Frances Trombly / Dimensions Variable; Chana Budgazad Sheldon + Elizabeth Shannon / Locust Projects; Naomi Fisher + Danielle Bender / BFI; Michelle Lisa Polissaint / Miami Rail; Courtney Fink and Stephanie Sherman, Common Field.

Common Field 2016 Staff: Courtney Fink, Co-Director; Ashley Ford, Miami Convening Manager; Stephanie Sherman, Co-Director.

Common Field Council: Dana Bishop-Root, Transformazium (Braddock, PA); Elizabeth Chodos, Ox-bow School of Art (Saugatuck, MI); Matthew Fluharty, Art of the Rural (St. Louis, MO); Anne Focke (Seattle, WA); Deana Haggag, The Contemporary (Baltimore, MD); Kemi Ilesanmi, The Laundromat Project (New York, NY); sharon maidenberg, Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA); Nat May, SPACE (Portland, ME); James McAnally, The Luminary and Temporary Review (St. Louis, MO); Cameron Shaw, Pelican Bomb (New Orleans, LA); Aurora Tang, Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) (Los Angeles, CA); Martha Wilson, Franklin Furnace (New York, NY).

Common Field Founders: Elizabeth Chodos, Ox-bow School of Art (Saugatuck, MI): Courtney Fink, (Formerly @ Southern Exposure, SF, CA): Nat May, SPACE (Portland, ME): Abigail Satinsky, (Formerly @ Threewalls, Chicago, IL): Shannon Stratton (Formerly @ Threewalls, Chicago, IL).