Philly Field Conversations

Philly Field Conversations

Join Common Field for a summer series of conversations to explore ideas, opportunities, and challenges of arts organizing in Philadelphia.

Initiated by Common Field to engage with the core concerns of the local arts landscape through discussion and discovery, the series has been developed through partnership with local arts leaders: Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia Contemporary, Taller Puertorriqueño, and Ulises. Through these gatherings, Common Field aims to articulate and activate a local network of arts organizers that will inform both the themes and programs for the Common Field 2019 Convening in Philadelphia, and the goals for local arts organizing ahead.

Access Note: We will do our best to accommodate requests for language or ASL interpretation or captioning. If you have specific access questions or needs please email as soon as possible.

Conversation #1 with Ulises

Monday, June 11, 2018, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Facilitated by Ulises co-founders with an introduction by Common Field
Location: U31 E Columbia Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Download notes from the Ulises Conversation

Ulises co-founders invite discussion on a constellation of issues close to self organized spaces and arts initiatives: burnout, viability, and sustainability. Arts workers across the field, working at a range of scales, and perhaps with and for multiple organizations, are invited to take part in this round-table session, which touches on labor, institutions, and the values that drive self organization. This event is designed to be productive and goal-oriented, generating ideas and strategies that we can activate in our work as arts organizers.

Conversation #2 with Taller Puertorriqueño

Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 6:30-8: 30 PM
Facilitated by Rafael Damast and José Ortiz Pagán with an introduction by Common Field
Location: Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133

Download notes from the Taller Puertorriqueño Conversation

What does it mean for longstanding and established organizations to continue to advance their programming and impact as the communities they serve and artist practices change? Arts organizers Rafael Damast (Taller Puertorriqueño) and José Ortiz Pagán (Fleisher Art Memorial), whose respective organizations serve as cultural hubs to artists and local communities, invite discussion prompted by these questions: What ways can larger institutions be a resource to smaller organizations that do the essential work of providing initial support to artists’ experimentation? What is their role in connecting these processes and practices with broad audiences? How do we hold space for artists and enable creative expression to flourish outside of the mainstream?

Conversation #3 with Philadelphia Contemporary

Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 6:30-8:30PM
A conversation with Rob Blackson (Temple Contemporary), Homer Jackson (Philly Jazz Project), and Trapeta Mayson (poet, Historic Germantown). Facilitated by Philadelphia Contemporary’s Nicole Pollard with an introduction by Common Field.
Off-Site Location: Uncle Bobbie’s, Peoples Education Center | 5445 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Download notes from the Philadelphia Contemporary Conversation

Philadelphia Contemporary undertakes pop-up programming across the city through a range of partnerships with other organizations, communities, and individuals, which informs the prompt for this discussion. How are partnerships forged? How do relationships with collaborators and communities engaged in the process unfold over time? How is social impact achieved through collaboration? Philadelphia Contemporary’s Nicole Pollard moderates this conversation with Rob Blackson (Temple Contemporary), Homer Jackson (Philly Jazz Project), and Trapeta Mayson (poet, Historic Germantown) to address challenges, scale, longevity, and the future of arts partnerships in Philadelphia.

Conversation #4 with Asian Arts Initiative

Saturday, July 21, 2018, 1-3 PM
Facilitated by Daniel Park with an introduction Carol Zou and Common Field
Location: Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Download notes from the Asian Arts Iniative Conversation.

Where is Philadelphia in the national conversation for racial and cultural equity? What are the challenges that artists and organizers of color in Philadelphia face? How can we come together, build intersectional coalitions, and advocate for a more equitable arts community? How can a national network like Common Field provide a platform and resources to amplify local work on cultural equity? Carol Zou (Asian Arts Initiative) will moderate this conversation. Established in 1993 to address tensions between Black and Asian American communities, Asian Arts Initiative invites artists and organizers of color to come together for a listening session to shape an equitable vision for the April 2019 Common Field Convening and beyond.

While this will be an event of shared thinking and wisdom, this is a POC centered space. Allies are welcome and asked to listen.

About Common Field

Common Field is a national network of independent visual arts organizations and organizers that connects, supports, and advocates for the artist-centered field.

About the Convening

The Common Field Convening is an itinerant gathering that brings together 400+ organizers nationwide to share resources, knowledge and methods for artist-led, run, and centered projects, spaces and practices.

About Asian Arts Initiative

Asian Arts Initiative advances racial equity and understanding, activating artists, youth, and their communities through creative practice and dialogue grounded in the diverse Asian American experience.

About Philadelphia Contemporary

Philadelphia Contemporary brings visual art, performance art, and spoken word to the city through a dynamic model of collaboration and partnership.

About Taller Puertorriqueño

Known as El Corazón Cultural del Barrio (The Cultural Heart of Latino Philadelphia), Taller Puertorriqueño uses art to promote development within its community and the Latino Diaspora and build bridges to the Greater Philadelphia region. Since its inception in 1974, Taller has been elevating and preserving Puerto Rican and Latino culture through arts and cultural programming. With its art-education programs, socially-conscious art exhibitions, book readings, and events, Taller engages the public in dynamic discussions that stimulate the mind, create opportunities and make connections between people and communities. The 2016 opening of the 24,000+ square-foot El Corazón Cultural Center, solidifies Taller’s position as Pennsylvania’s largest Latino arts organization.

About Ulises

Ulises is a bookshop and curatorial platform dedicated to artists’ books and independent art publications. Each curatorial season invites contributors to present publications, workshops, lectures, artworks, and collaborations in response to a given theme.