Hand-in-Glove Conference

Hand-in-Glove Conference

Hand-in-Glove is a national convening for visual arts organizers, co-hosted by Common Field and its member organizations, a coalition of artists and artist organizers working to share resources, ideas and methods for artist-led and artist-centric spaces, projects and practices, of which Threewalls is a founding member.


For documentation of past conferences, please see


Hand-in-Glove is a convergence for independent visual arts organizers working at the crossroads of creative administration and studio practice; those engaged in the pragmatic realities and imaginative possibilities of organizing exhibitions, re-granting programs, publications, residencies, public programs, pedagogical experiments, and a variety of other programming that challenges traditional formats for the production and reception of art at the grassroots level. The conference welcomes spaces and projects that are self-organized, independent, and noncommercial. It also welcomes organizations that started small but have grown big, retaining the artist-run values and priorities that were a part of their founding.

Hand-in-Glove was conceived as a way to start a national conversation on creative activity happening outside of traditional institutions and spread the word about innovative organizing models and under-the-radar opportunities that could be useful to artists and organizers. A vibrant and vital art world would be unimaginable without these spaces and projects. Despite the fact that these programs offer most — if not all — of the ground floor support for artists, they operate with very little to no funding or resources beyond sweat equity, volunteer labor, and personal resources. In short, these spaces lack the proper support system and infrastructure to fully thrive and actualize their programs on a fully resourced scale. In response to this realization, the conference was formed to bring together independent arts organizers from across the country to address the practical and philosophical issues prevalent in their work and network together.

Threewalls Hand in Glove 2011

The first conference took place October 20-23, 2011 with over 250 attendees and included the release of PHONEBOOK 3 and the Propeller Fund award ceremony. Hand in Glove also took place in conjunction with the MDW Fair,which Threewalls co-organized with Public Media Institute, Roots & Culture, and document. Food was catered by Roots & Culture Community Kitchen. Additional advisory and organizing help came from Elizabeth Chodos, Bryce Dwyer, and Sarah Workneh.

This four day event featuring keynote speaker curator Nato Thompson, panels curated with guest respondents from artist-run culture around the nation, and artist-designed events, parties, food experiences and tours around the city of Chicago. Panels were held at the Geolofts, Keynote lecture at Chicago Artists Coalition gallery and Phonebook 3 release party at Threewalls.  


2011 Photography by Caitlin Arnold