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Reimagining, Together

Dear Network,

This is a season of transformation, within and far beyond our field. As the national convener of independent art spaces, projects, and organizers, with nearly 700 Network members across the field, Common Field is committed to meeting the challenges this moment demands with attention and intention.

Following a period of self-reflection with our board and staff alongside feedback from former staff, partners, and collaborators over the last year, Common Field is embarking on a series of structural shifts in 2021 to reorient our practice and remain responsive to the diverse needs and ongoing urgencies facing our field.

As part of this shift, the Board of Directors would like to share the news of Executive Director Courtney Fink’s departure and welcome Interim Managing Director Sheetal Prajapati to the organization. Fink departs after four years as Executive Director and five more as a co-founder of Common Field.

Incoming Managing Director Sheetal Prajapati is an educator, artist, and advisor working across the field of art and public engagement. In 2019, she founded Lohar Projects, a consulting agency working with individual artists and cultural organizations with a focus on professional development, public engagement, organizational planning, and special projects. Since 2018, she has served on faculty at the School of Visual Arts (New York) in the Master of Fine Arts program and is currently the Chair of the board of directors at Art + Feminism.

Previously, Sheetal spent 16 years leading teams to develop public engagement, outreach, and artist projects for diverse audiences at organizations including Pioneer Works (Brooklyn), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. From 2014-2016, Sheetal co-curated Open Engagement, an international conference on art and social practice. Sheetal speaks nationally on topics including public engagement, creative forms of social practice, art education, arts advocacy, and public space and is excited to lead this chapter of Common Field’s evolution alongside the board, staff, and you, our committed Network.

In tandem with this leadership transition, we are embarking on a 360-degree audit process focused on structural reorientation towards deepened anti-racist organizing and foregrounding our commitment to equity, mutuality, and justice. As we review our existing documents, policies, programs, and practices, we will also be proactively engaging with you, our Network, to reimagine more equitable models of service, exchange and support together.

We aim to create channels of engagement at each stage of this process and remain in open dialogue with our Network and numerous stakeholders. Our hope is that this work creates space for collective reflection, reorientation, and realignment and puts our commitment to this urgent work into action together.

You will continue hearing from us, Sheetal, and staff members Chris Tyler and E. Maude Haak-Frendscho in the coming months as we share this process and invite input from our Network. Immediate feedback, press requests, and other questions may be sent to communications [​at​] commonfield.org.

We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you.

With care,
Common Field's Board of Directors

– Dana Bishop-Root, Associate Director, Braddock Carnegie Library and member, General Sisters (Pittsburgh, PA)

– Jackie Clay, Executive Director, Coleman Center for the Arts (York, AL)

– Matthew Fluharty, Executive Director, Art of the Rural (Winona, MN)

– Eunsong Kim, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University (Boston, MA)

– James McAnally, Founder and Executive Director, The Luminary and Founder and Editor, MARCH (St. Louis, MO)

– Sarah Williams, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Women’s Center for Creative Work (Los Angeles, CA)

– Martha Wilson, artist and Founding Director Emerita, Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY)