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A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends, Collaborators, and Supporters of Common Field,

As our time at Common Field is coming to end, I want to take a moment to express gratitude for the people whose labor, passion, and commitment to Common Field helped build this organization into one of the largest national networks for artists, arts organizers, and artist-centered organizations.

I want to begin with recognition and respect for the Indigenous peoples of these lands across the country; their care, attention, and rights to the spaces we now occupy and call our homes. I remember this as a call to continue the work of healing and learning from the first stewards of this land for our collective futures. I also want to express thanks to those who came before us: the elders in the field, for their trailblazing work, the founders of this organization for shaping and realizing Common Field and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts who has supported and sustained Common Field throughout its life.

Common Field has meant so much to so many people - a network of support, a place of exchange, and a space to come together. In the last two years, our team has had to do some serious reflection on how our work was being carried out. This process of listening and learning pointed to the reality that while many people were enriched by Common Field, it was, at the same time, not accessible or welcoming to others in our field of practice. We spent months considering some grounding questions: Is the form and shape of Common Field fulfilling the mission it set out to? And if not, what is the best path forward? This reflection on the past and our intentions for the future led us to the work of sunsetting.

This brings me to the people that I owe so much to - the Common Field staff and board of directors. Leadership is not a singular act, it is collective work to build trust, care and relationships over time that allow all of us to lead from the place we are. Together, this group of people have been brave and open to facing harsh realities and have taken time to return to our founding mission and values in considering the path ahead. They willingly sacrificed their roles at Common Field to ensure that we were moving forward with a new purpose. This kind of dedication to a better future is rare and humbling - a true testament to the cost and possibilities of working towards more equitable and inclusive spaces.

From the truest place in my heart, I hope you will join me in sharing thanks for this team, Maude Haak-Frendscho, Chris Tyler, Kristel Baldoz, Mars Avila and board members Sarah Williams, Jackie Clay, and Eunsong Kim. Their energy, creativity, and humility in the midst of an incredibly complex situation provided the organization and me with so much light and clarity. I am especially thankful for their dedication to this work and each other throughout this process. It has been a true honor to work together in community with them, develop deep trust, and most importantly, build a set of shared values that allowed us to move with conviction.

I hope for a future of abundance and belonging for this team, this Network, and our larger community. In that spirit, our team is excited to share our last pieces of work with you next month - projects that I hope will provide insight and learnings in how we build tomorrow.

To mark the arrival of Common Field’s organizational materials to the Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA), I hope you’ll join us for our final in-person event in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 8. The event is free and open to the public!

Beyond Sunsetting: Common Field’s Collection
Thursday, December 8, 2022 @ LACA
7-9pm

For this program, LACA Executive Director Hailey Loman and LACA Archivist and Common Field Archives Transition Coordinator Zach Whitworth will share an overview of the Common Field collection, followed by a group discussion drawing on themes from these materials. Participants will reflect on larger institutional concerns within the arts nonprofit sector, including the challenges of sustainable fundraising and the exclusionary structures of whiteness in leadership. The conversation will be led by writer, curator, and educator Anuradha Vikram, with gloria galvez, artist, organizer and co-director in the art program at the California Institute of the Arts and Sheetal Prajapati, Executive Director of Common Field.

We’ll be also sharing the first installment of our final project, Common Work: Learnings for the Future from Common Field, a podcast and writing series, with our closing message in December.

Thank you for being part of Common Field and sharing so much with us. This Network will always be at the heart of our past, and the path to our futures.

With hope and gratitude,

Sheetal Prajapati
Executive Director

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Pictured – 2022 Common Field Team in Seattle (L to R): Maude Haak-Frendscho, Kristel Baldoz, Sheetal Prajapati, Jackie Clay, Sarah Williams, Mars Avila and Chris Tyler. Eunsong Kim, not pictured. Photo: Leo Carmona

Image description - The Common Field staff and board stands in the main auditorium at Seattle's Washington Hall. It's a large white room with light wooden floors and an elevated proscenium stage in the background. Seven individuals stand, smiling, facing the camera. They all wear shades of blue, white, and black. Some wear event badges on lanyards around their necks, and some sport sticker name tags on the shirts. They all smile wide, grateful for the opportunity to hold physical space with one another for the first time in the history of the organization!​