We are Becoming Independent!

From 2013, the year of our first founding members gathering, Common Field has operated as a program of several of our founding organizational members: first Southern Exposure, then Threewalls, and most recently SPACE Gallery. Strong in our fifth year, we’ve decided to incorporate and apply for our own nonprofit 501(c)3 status.

As our network, convening, and programs grow nationally so does our budget, which is another reason we believe it’s time to become independent. Under the guidance of Courtney Fink, Common Field Director, and the Common Field Council (made up of 12 national Common Field Members) we have been learning, interrogating, and sharing our individual relationships within our own organizations and regions with the 501(c)3 structure. We are in agreement that while becoming a 501(c)3 is imperative, it is just as imperative to model healthy and evolving models of 501(c)3 organizational function to our network. We are guided by the wisdom and experience of Council member Martha Wilson, “We can’t change the structure of a non-profit, but we can change how we operate within a legal framework.”

Immediate Filing Process:

We went through the incorporation process with the legal team at Neo Law Group based in San Francisco California. We filed our paperwork with an initial Board of Directors and are building an initial set of bylaws. Over the next five months, the Governance Team of the Council and the Director will be working together to document and outline structures that include a small Board of Directors, a 12-20 person Council made up of working teams, our staff, our expanding national network, and our partners. This Common Field governance process and structure will be ready to be approved by the full council—our founding board—at the November annual meeting and then shared with the full member network.

Initial Board and Future Board:

In the interest of transparency, process, and our origin story of Common Field, we have decided that the initial Board will be made up of all of the current members of Common Field’s Council. This decision was made based on several factors: 1) we do not yet have a process or criteria in place for choosing board members, 2) we are still working on the overall governance structure, and, most importantly, 3) the Council Members and Staff felt very strongly that the initial Board needed to be representative of the process Common Field has engaged in so far and also to be representative of our existing network and expanding field.

In November 2017, after the governance process is decided, the initial Board members will elect a smaller board with a clear process for their selection, their job description, and their relationship to the Council and Staff.

Founding Board Members Include:

Dana Bishop-Root, Transformazium (Braddock, PA)

Elizabeth Chodos, Ox-Bow School of Art (Saugatuck, MI)

Courtney Fink, Common Field (Los Angeles, CA)

Matthew Fluharty, Art of the Rural (Winona, MN)

Anne Focke (Seattle, WA)

Deana Haggag, United States Artists (Chicago, IL)

sharon maidenberg, Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA)

Nat May, Hewnoaks Artist Colony (Lovell, ME)

James McAnally, The Luminary and Temporary Art Review (St. Louis, MO)

Cameron Shaw, Pelican Bomb (New Orleans, LA)

Stephanie Sherman (London, UK)

Aurora Tang, Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) (Los Angeles, CA)

Martha Wilson, Franklin Furnace (New York, NY)