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An Open Letter from Common Field

June 19, 2020

The Movement for Black Lives calls for action. We lift up the names and spirits of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and those whose names we have not yet learned, who have been killed by ongoing state-sanctioned violence.

As a national Network, Common Field calls out to the expansive field of independent visual artist organizations and organizers to use our collective platforms to organize for justice together.

Three months ago with the onset of COVID-19, we were challenged with reimagining the ways we work, gather and center care. In the midst of urgent uprisings, we are pushed further to name pathways that lead to the anti-racist, decolonized futures in which our work can most fully manifest. This work of undoing racism, decolonizing institutions and dismantling systems of oppression demands our immediate, ongoing and long-term commitment.

There is essential work to come for and from our field: to build new organizations that transform and sustain a new vision while dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy at large.

We aim to steward this initiative through two primary channels – the assembling and gathering of a national task force from our Network that will identify resources and develop a framework through which our network can implement this protocol; and the development, announcement and undertaking of an organizational plan of action.

We – members, board and staff of Common Field – advocate for actions that reach beyond statements of solidarity and affirm the ongoing work of our network members by:

  • Listening to our network and responding to the field’s collective needs to the best of our capacity.
  • Investing in structural anti-racist protocol and centering abolition as a key tenet of our organizing.
  • Moving beyond inclusion in programming to fundamentally transform culture, practice and resource-allocation within our Network.
  • Interrogating equity in funding while advocating for the need for reparations in our field.
  • Recognizing that the transformation of our field and organizations is urgent and is also an ongoing long-term process and commitment.

As an organization, Common Field will continue to invest in efforts that result in structural anti-racist change by:

  • Enacting values both internally and to our communities, striving to create accountability, equitability and inclusivity for all.
  • Participating in the movement to defund and disengage police in the communities in which we work and partner, including providing resources and tools for members of our field to take on this work.
  • Updating Common Field’s core values to clarify our position on equity and justice with language and policies that are both more explicit and firmly rooted in our guiding principles.
  • Investing in additional leadership from Black, Native, and other individuals of color within the Common Field board and staff at all levels so we are more reflective of our field.
  • Developing and enacting an equity plan with measurable goals in the areas of hiring, organizational culture, leadership and organizational transparency.

We invite members of both the Common Field Network and the expansive national field into this process. What can we learn from each other? Who can we learn from and partner with? What distinguishes our field and provides us with a unique opportunity to undertake this difficult work?

Our society demands a radical new vision – and we believe that the independent, alternative ways in which we work creates space to actualize it. By simultaneously resisting oppressive institutional tendencies while foregrounding equity, mutuality and liberation, our field can provide one of many necessary catalysts forward. We hope you will join us on the journey ahead.

To initiate this action, we are committing to a redistribution of resources in our field via a $15,000 matching grant fund to ten Black artist organizations.

Signed in solidarity,

The Common Field Board of Directors and Staff

Sign the open letter

Signatories:

  • Courtney Fink, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Common Field (Los Angeles, CA)

  • E. Maude Haak-Frendscho, Convening Program Director, Common Field (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Chris Tyler, Convening Communications Manager, Common Field (Los Angeles, CA)

  • 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)

  • Anne Focke, writer and organizer (Seattle, WA)

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

  • Jessica Lynne, writer, art critic and co-founder and editor of ARTS.BLACK (coastal Virginia)

  • sharon Maidenberg, Executive Director and CEO, Contemporary Austin (Austin, TX)

  • Nat May, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Hewnoaks Artist Colony; Co-Founder, Common Field; and Program Officer, Arts and Music, Onion Foundation (South Portland, ME)

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

  • Aurora Tang, curator, researcher and Program Manager, Center for Land Use Interpretation (Los Angeles, CA)

  • 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)

  • Amy Hamlin, Associate Professor of Art History, St. Catherine University (St. Paul, MN)

  • Roz Crews, Artist and Educator (Portland, OR / Branford, FL)

  • Andy Johnson, Gallery Director, Curator, Arts Writer & Critic, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design; Dirt (Washington, DC)

  • Sarah Stauder, Executive Director, Aurora Picture Show (Houston, TX)

  • Lisa Dent, Executive Director, Artspace New Haven (New Haven, CT)

  • Rosa Naday Garmendia, Visual artist, Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (Miami, FL)

  • Lilly Hern-Fondation, Programs Manager, CUE Art Foundation (New York, NY)

  • Haynes Riley, Artist, Curator, Good Weather (North Little Rock, AK)

  • Megan Berner, Artist and Public Art Administrator, City of Reno (Reno, NV)

  • Amanda Vincelli, Organizer, Program Director, NAVEL (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Jacqueline Saragoza McGilvray, Curator and Exhibitions Manager, Blue Star Contemporary (San Antonio, TX)

  • Amy Leigh, Community Organizer, Cultural Worker, Artist (Edmonton, AB.)

  • Laura Blumenberg, Office + Volunteer Manager, Charlotte Street Foundation (Kansas City, MO)

  • Corrina Peipon, Independent Curator & Consultant (Culver City, CA)

  • Leslie Anne Condon, Visual Artist (Massachusetts)

  • Franklin McCauley, Curator, VisArts (Rockville, MD)

  • Laurencia, Artist (Miami, FL)

  • Amy Mae Garrett, Producer (Lorane, OR)

  • Xandra Eden, Executive Director & Chief Curator, DiverseWorks (Houston, TX)

  • Lynn Susholtz, Artist/Director, Art Produce (San Diego, CA)

  • Babette Pendleton, Director, Yellow Fish Durational Performance Art Festival (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Brett Hunter, Artist and Organizer, Like Riding A Bicycle (Hornell, NY)

  • Shana Lutker, Executive Director, Project X Foundation for Art and Criticism (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Elke Krasny, Curator (Vienna, Austria)

  • Annette Farrell, Arts Administrator, Co-Founder, FEM+FEST Spokane (Portland, OR / Spokane, WA)

  • Virginia Broersma, Artist, The Artist's Office (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Erik Moe, Artist, Future Cartographic (Washington, DC)

  • Yasmine Diaz, Artist (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Emily Searles, Membership Coordinator, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Jennifer Baker, Director and Chief Curator, Tarble Arts Center (Charleston, IL)

  • Peter Prinz, Co-Founder and CEO (Birmingham, AL)

  • Earnest Thomas, President, Onyx Fine Arts Collective (Seattle, WA)

  • Ellen Lake, Managing Director, Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA)

  • Royal Alley-Barnes, Executive Director CoCA - Center on Contemporary Art, Anti-racism and Pro-equity in the arts (Seattle, WA)

  • Mimi Zeiger, Critic and Curator (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Alexis S Chapman, Arts Professional, Ms. (Bremerton, OR)

  • Ishi Malik, Board Co-Chair, Center on Contemporary Art (Seattle, WA)

  • Kristin Fleischmann, Director of Public Engagement, Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO)

  • dorit cypis, Director, PeoplesLAb (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Julie Wills, Artist & Educator, China Hutch Projects & Washington College (Chestertown, MD)

  • Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, Inc, President | Curator, DVCAI (Miami, FL)

  • Joshua Peder Stulen, Assistant Curator of Public Projects & Engagement, Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO)

  • Stephanie Garrison, Operations Director, Brew House Association (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • Em Downing, Arts Organizer (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Sarah Bernhardt, Founder and executive director, Intersect Arts Center (St. Louis, MO)

  • Maiko Tanaka, Executive Director, Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center (Buffalo, NY)

  • Ekrem Serdar, Curator, Squeaky Wheel (Buffalo, NY)

  • Lorie Mertes, Executive Director, Locust Projects (Miami, FL)

  • Jennie K Carlisle, Curator/Director, Smith Gallery, Appalachian State University (Boone, NC)

  • Shana Lutker, Executive Director, Project X Foundation for Art and Criticism (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Josiah Golson, Civic Artist, 800 Collective (Chattanooga, TN)

  • Karyl Newman, Founder and Director, Positional Projects, West Coast Organizer, BrickxBrick.org (Yucca Valley, CA)

  • Susan Main, Artist, curator, founder/director Cultivate, Cultivate (Kensington, MD)

  • Asher Hartman, Artist, Director, Gawdafful National Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Elizabeth Cline, Executive Director, The Industry (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Mayumi Hamanaka, Gallery & Communications Director, Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA)

  • Mary Mattingly, Artist, Swale (New York)

  • Alison Post, Operations Manager, Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) (Seattle, WA)

  • Adriana Widdoes, Managing Editor, www.eastofborneo.org (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Emily Artinian, Member, Street Road Artists Space (Cochranville, PA)

  • Lauren, Artist (San Francisco, CA)

  • Kate Van Steenhuyse, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Harvester Arts (Wichita, KS)

  • Mary Magsamen, Curator, Aurora Picture Show (Houston, TX)

  • Cherry Yang, Student (Providence, RI)

  • Kelsey Halliday Johnson, Executive Director, SPACE & @womenartandtechnology (Portland, ME)

  • Josephine Heston, Programs Associate, CUE Art Foundation (New York, NY)

  • Esther Grimm, Executive Director, 3Arts (Chicago, IL)

  • Sandra Ono, Artist and adjunct professor (Berkeley, CA)

  • Samantha M Connors, Organizer (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Nicholas Shick, Studio Technician, Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA)

  • Wendy Kveck, Artist, Founder, Settlers + Nomads (Las Vegas, NV)

  • Kayleigh Wold, Board Member, Center on Contemporary Art (Seattle, WA)

  • Rachel Stuckey, Artist, Gallery Director, Women & Their Work (Austin, TX)

  • Blake Shell, Executive and Artistic Director, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center (Portland, OR)

  • Ellen Ziegler, Artist and independent curator, Member of Soil Artist-Run Gallery (Seattle, Washington)

  • Maria Sykes, Executive Director, Epicenter (Green River, UT)

  • sara daleiden, artist and facilitator, MKE<->LAX (Los Angeles, CA and Milwaukee, WI)

  • Jane Claire Hervey, Executive Director, bbatx (#bossbabesATX) (Austin, TX)

  • Greyory Blake, Office Space 2 (New Brunswick, NJ)

  • Kara Braciale, Artist (Virginia)

  • Jan Williamson, Executive Director, 18th Street Arts Center (Santa Monica,)

  • Penelope Boyer, Artist/Organizer (San Antonio, TX)

  • Sarrita Hunn, founder and editor, MARCH (formerly Temporary Art Review) (Berlin, DE)

  • Lexa Walsh, Artist & Organizer, Oakland Stock, Bay Area Contemporary Art Archive (Oakland, CA)

  • nick wylie, Managing Director, Public Media Institute (Chicago, IL)

  • Jennifer Gardner, Deputy Director, DiverseWorks (Houston, TX)

  • Charlotte Caldwell, Director, Stove Works (Chattanooga, TN)

  • Frances Cathryn, editor and organizer, wip projects (Kingston, NY)

  • Lauren Rossi, Arts organizer and consultant, Stellar Friend and Partner (Detroit, MI)

  • Brandy Eggermann, Organizer, Writer, Producer, Trans Asylum Seekers Support Network (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Hannah Lodwick, Assistant Director (Kansas City, MO)

  • Mary Welcome, Cultural Worker (Palouse, WA)

  • Max Presneill, Founder, Durden and Ray (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Kaitlyn Ovett Clark, Exhibitions and Public Programs Coordinator, Tufts University Art Galleries (Boston, MA)

  • Joaquin Guzman-Velez, Political scientist & Art management alumni. Studio assistant at, Artist Carolina Caycedo studio (Los Ángeles CA)

  • Ashley DeHoyos, Curator, Diversworks (Houston, TX)

  • Patricia Miranda, Artist, Founder and Director, The Crit Lab and MAPSpace (Port Chester NY)

  • Kathleen Gilrain, Executive Director, Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Brenda (Bz) Zhang, Artist, Architectural Designer, SPACE INDUSTRIES (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Ismael de Anda III, Artist, Durden and Ray (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Neil Daigle Orians, Artist (Hartford, CT)

  • Alexandra Wiesenfeld, Member, Durden and Ray (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Amanda Lechner, Artist, Assistant Professor, Schood of Visual Art, Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)

  • Dena Beard, Executive Director, The Lab (San Francisco, CA)

  • Taraneh Hemami, Artist (San Francisco, CA)

  • Coe Lapossy, Artist & Educator, Tailgate Projects (Boston, MA and Tampa, FL)

  • Sean Noyce, Artist, curator, gallerist, Noysky Projects (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Sara Suárez, Artist, Organizer, virtual care lab (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Daniel Jimenez, Arts Administrator and Organizer (Chicago, IL)

  • Toni Gentilli, Artist, Curator, and Residency Director, Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, NM)

  • Jessica Moss, Founder + Director, The Roll Up CLT (Charlotte)

  • Carolyn Sickles, Executive Director and Artist, Tulsa Artist Fellowship (Tulsa, OK)

  • Mack McFarland, Director & Curator, Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art  (Portland, OR)

  • Axel Dāzee, Initiant, IMMEDIATE Fashion School (Seattle, WA)

  • Jia Yi Gu, Executive Director, Materials & Applications (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Ceci Moss, Director, Gas Gallery (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Meldia Yesayan, Director, Oxy Arts, Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Mariel Villere, Program Development Director (New York, NY)

  • Brion Nuda Rosch, Studio Program Director, Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, CA)

  • Dennis Nance, Artist/Curator, Galveston Arts Center (Houston/Galveston, TX)

  • Carron Little, Director, Out of Site Chicago (Chicago, IL)

  • Alejandra Moran, Artist (San Diego, Ca)

  • Yes, Artist/Curator, Durden and Ray (Los Angeles CA)

  • Michael Holt, Co-Director, NAVEL, family affairs (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Marina Grize, Artist (San Diego, CA)

  • Christine Zehner, Arts Advocate (New York, NY)

  • Brandon Cordrey, Executive Director, VAE Raleigh (Raleigh, NC)

  • Ashley Blazer, Artist (Austin, TX)

  • Nina Marie Barbuto, Executive Director, Assemble (Pittsburgh, PA)

  • Rachel Hausmann Schall, Artist, Writer, Educator (Milwaukee, WI)

  • Tana Quincy Arcega, Artist (San Francisco, CA)

  • Judit Navratil, artist (San Francisco, CA)

  • Charlotte Murphy, arts organizer (Mount Airy, MD)

  • Lia Wilson, Engagement Manager, SPACE (Portland, ME)

  • Erika Nelson, Artist (Lucas, KS)

  • Patricia Miranda, Artist, Founder and Director, The Crit Lab and MAPSpace (Port Chester NY)

  • Gabriel de Guzman, Curator & Director of Exhibitions, Smack Mellon (New York, NY)

  • Jennifer Bastian, Co-founder, Director and Arts Manager, Communication (Madison, WI)

  • Terry Suprean, Artist, Organizer, Civic TV (Houston, TX)

  • Karen Schifano, Administrator, "A" World Update (online)

  • KT Duffy, Co-Director, Langer Over Dickie (Chicago, IL)

  • Tom Dunn, Artist, Durden and Ray (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Christopher Lynn, Artist, Independent Curator, Educator (West Valley City, UT)

  • Deirdre O’Dwyer, Artist, Rakish Light Press (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Gina Reichert, Artist, Director of PHP, Power House Productions (Detroit, MI)

  • Roya Amirsoleymani, Artistic Director & Curator of Public Engagement, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) (Portland, OR)

  • Kristan E Kennedy, Artistic Director, Curator of Visual Art, PICA (Portland, OR)

  • Sheila McMath, Cultural Worker/Curator (Kitchener, Ontario, Canda)

  • Roni Feldman, Artist, Member, and Co-Founder of Durden & Ray, Durden & Ray (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Mary Heathcott, Executive Director, Blue Star Contemporary (San Antonio, TX)

  • Amy Hicks, Artist & Educator, Grizzly Grizzly & University of Delaware (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Vanesa Zendejas, Administrative Director, High Desert Test Sites (Joshua Tree, CA)

  • Janie Geiser, Artist, Co-Artistic Director, Automata (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Susan Simpson, Artist, Co-Artistic Director, Automata (Los Angeles, CA)

  • George Lugg, Managing Director, Automata (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Wilfredo Hernandez, Artist, Consultant & Producer, Communitas Arts & Culture, LLC (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Victoria Reis, Co-Founder; Executive & Artistic Director, Transformer (Washington, D.C.)

  • Sarah M. Russin, Executive Director, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Kiara Walls, Artist (Dallas, TX)

  • Nancy Nowacek, Artist (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Ruby Waldo, Artist (Baltimore, MD)

  • Tim Peterson, Executive Director, Northfield Arts Guild (Northfield, MN)

  • Frank Juarez, Publisher, Artdose Magazine (Milwaukee, WI)

  • Van Pham, Principal, Arcada Consulting (Portland, OR)

  • Meg Pohlod, Artist Residency Manager and Adult Classes Coordinator, Kala Art Institute (Berkeley, CA)

  • Shane Lavalette, Director, Light Work (Syracuse, NY)

  • Anna Drozdowski, Cultivator, Caretaker (Philadelphia, PA & Wilmington, VT)

  • Sharon Fantl, Board Chair, Arts Council of Windham County (Brattleboro, VT)

  • Zac Traeger, Director, The Museum of Human Achievement (Austin, TX)

  • Rachel P. Riendeau Caughey, Anthropologist (Iowa City, IA)

  • Tatiana Vahan, Artist and Organizer, Los Angeles Artist Census (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Max Puchalsky, Member, Board of Directors, Arts + Literature Laboratory (Madison, WI)

  • Yvonna J, Communications Manager, Elsewhere Museum (Greensboro, NC)

  • Cammie Hill-Prewitt, Residency Coordinator, A Studio in the Woods (New Orleans, LA)

  • Ama Rogan, Managing Director, A Studio in the Woods (New Orleans, LA)

  • Grace Rennie, Marketing and Operations Coordinator, A Studio in the Woods (New Orleans, LA)

  • Lauren Gadson, Assistant Professor, Visual Communications (Houston, TX)

  • XBunny, Co Founder / Artist (Brooklyn, NY)

  • Kelly Froh, Co-founder & Executive Director, Short Run Comix & Arts Festival (Seattle, WA)

  • Namulen Bayarsaihan, Director of Education, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Hartford, CT)

  • Mike Blockstein, Principal, Public Matters (Los Angeles)

  • Maya Livio, Cultural Producer, Organizer, and Educator (Los Angeles, CA)

  • Netha Cloeter, director of education & social engagement, Plains Art Museum (Fargo)

  • Cait Molloy, Director, The David Ireland House / The 500 Capp Street Foundation (San Francisco)

  • Suzanne Thomas, Artist (OKLAHOMA CITY)

  • Elizabeth Spavento, Co-Director, Border Patrol (Portland, ME / Bakersfield, CA)

  • Carlee J Latimer, Program Assistant, Madison Public Library (Bubbler) (Madison)

  • Catherine Haley Epstein, Founder, Author, Artist, Mindmarrow (Camas, WA)


We acknowledge the design and development contributions from Wkshps and Systemantics.