Happenings this Spring for Independent Arts

Access, knowledge exchange, ecological renewal and the anthropocene: there is much to look forward to this spring and summer in the world of independent and artist-organized happenings.


This weekend, the Supermarket Art Fair will be held in Stockholm from April 4 to 7. Supermarket is one of only a few artist-run art fairs, and operates on an international level, welcoming exhibitors from over 50 countries. This artist-run initiative has been in existence since 2007 and works to create a space for artists that may not have traditional commercial gallery representation to exhibit their work and to build a network of independent artist initiatives and artist-run spaces both within Sweden and internationally. This year’s Supermarket includes talk and performance programming centered around the theme “Temporary Moratorium: All Allowed?” as well as a meeting program to encourage networking. Supermarket will also publish the Supermarket Art Magazine in conjunction with the festival.

Participating exhibitors are by and large independent not-for-profit galleries and spaces, and the fair places emphasis on visitor experience over sales. Some highlights from this year’s exhibitors include non-profit gallery Berlinskej Model from Prague, artist/curator group and gallery Durden and Ray from Los Angeles, artist-run space and collective Galleria Huuto from Helsinki, independent artist-run organization Greylight Projects from Hoensbroek, Netherlands and Brussels, independent artist-run initiative kunsthallekleinbasel from Basel, residency program and curatorial platform Land404 from Jämjö, Sweden, artist-run residency and curatorial platform Ormston House from Limerick, Ireland, and non-profit artist-run space Shelter Artists Run Space from Izmir, Turkey.

Images captured by Ian Byers-Gamber and Chris Kallmyer at the Common Field 2017 Los Angeles Convening.


Next up is the Common Field Covening, held in Philadelphia, PA, from April 25 to 28. The 2019 Covening will bring together over 400 arts organizers from around the United States to dialog, discuss, debate, and engage in workshops and exchanges on the subject of the state of the artist organizational field. The various program types include intimate group conversations around both practical and theoretical topics, Reports from the Field on local organizing and activities, artist projects including book signings, performances, tours, and other activities in nearby neighborhoods, skill-sharing workshops, dialogue sessions, and panel discussions. A complimentary breakfast and lunch buffet by Fikira X foodeveryonedeserves will be available on Friday and Saturday, and attendees will be invited to satellite dinner programs hosted by local participants. Some program highlights include “We Like Out Size, Thank You: Resisting Organizational Growth Within Capitalism,” a conversation between Dorothy Santos, Leila Weefur, Jerome Rivera Pansa, and Liat Berdugo of Living Room Light Exchange, Practices in Collective Care, a session organized by Dianne Loftis of Creative Resilience Collective with Li Sumpter, LaTreice Branson, and Andrea Ngan, and Mama’s Day Bail Fund poster and t-shirt printing with the People’s Paper Co-op (PPC).


From May 22 to 24, the Rural Generation coalition will gather in the Mississippi Delta for the Rural Generation Summit. The coalition consists of Art of the Rural, ArtPlace America, the Center for Rural Strategies, First Peoples Fund, the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, the National Consortium of Creative Placemaking, the Rural Policy Research Institute, Springboard for the Arts, and Alternate ROOTS, and will work through issues of local engagement, regional development, and artistic and cultural equity and social context in a rural context. The Summit seeks to provide a venue for engagement, learning, and exchange for those connected to the Mississippi Delta, bringing artists and community organizers together with economic developers, funders, elected officials, and researchers. The speakers are yet to be released but attendees can look forward to Main Street tours, Sipp Culture social hour, and homecoming supper in Utica, MS. on Wednesday; visits to the BB King Museum and Smith Robertson Museum in Indianola, MS, on Thursday; and workshops at Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS, on Friday.

Both Open Engagement, an artist-led initiative focused on care in the field of socially engaged art, and Allied Media Conference, a conference bringing together media and communications, art, technology, education, and social justice, will be taking a year off in 2019, but be sure to keep an eye out for 2020 edition announcements.