Posted on July 19, 2011


threewalls, Chicago (photo by Jenny Ramos)


What is the Hand-in-Glove conference?
Hand-in-Glove is a new semiannual conference for independent visual arts facilitators working at the crossroads of creative administration and studio practice. This conference is open to people engaged in the pragmatic realities and imaginative possibilities of organizing exhibitions, re-granting programs, publications, residencies, public programs, platforms for projects, and a variety of other programming that challenges traditional formats for the production and reception of art at the grass-roots level. Read more about the conference mission.

When is the conference?
Thursday, October 20 – Sunday, October 23, 2011. See the full conference schedule.

Who is organizing the conference?
Hand-in-Glove is organized by threewalls with the Alliance for Independent Arts Organizers.


Why do you organize Hand-in-Glove conference?
This conference is a way to start a national conversation on grassroots creative activity happening outside of traditional institutions and spread the word about innovative organizing models that could be useful to artists and organizers. A vibrant and vital art world would be unimaginable without these opportunities, but 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, they lack the proper support system and infrastructure to really thrive and actualize their programs on a fully resourced scale. In response to this realization, the 2011 conference Hand-in-Glove brings together these independent arts organizers to address the practical and philosophical issues prevalent in their work.

What will happen at the conference?
The conference is a three day event featuring keynote speaker 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. All locations will be announced close to the conference. In conjunction with the conference, threewalls will award the 2011 Propeller Fund awards as well as release the third edition of PHONEBOOK.

What is the schedule?
View the full conference schedule of panels, performances, artists projects, and more here.

What panel discussions will take place?
Local Arts ecosystems: Bringing together arts leaders from across the country, this panel presents the working conditions of particular cities’ cultural scenes through the words of those who are firmly embedded in these communities. Participants will present regional reports on the state of the arts locally and discuss how to further information exchange and collaboration across contexts.

Unconventional Residency Programs: Residencies serve artists from every discipline, providing devoted studio space, facilities and time to complete work. They also serve as postgraduate institutions where artists can continue working out ideas in a social setting and meet new collaborators. Today there are many unconventional residencies operating under independent organizational models and at radically different scales, offering a range of experiences from community engagement in urban settings to temporary campsites in the woods. All of them nurture especially strong connections between the artists on the residency and people who administrate it. Panelists will discuss their successes and challenges regarding how residencies today are taking on especially active roles in shaping artist’s work.

Archiving artist-run histories: This panel brings together leading figures in artist-run history to share, as living archives,  the experiences and challenges they have faced. The discussion will focus on how the panelists’ own projects have been archived and remembered today as well as how the current generation of artist-organizers can better access histories of artist-run projects, dialogue with different generations, and archive their current activities.

Fundraising and organizing strategies: For small-budget organizations, especially those invested in unconventional organization models, the question of sustainability and growth is always a challenge. In light of the present funding climate, it is paramount that artists, independent organizers and nonprofits get together to re-imagine the possibilities for creating a healthy, mutually- supportive arts system and to design programs that promote collaboration and community spirit. This panel is a pragmatic discussion on how to raise funds, solicit support, and implement experimental programs from visionaries in the field.

Who is the keynote speaker?
Nato Thompson is the keynote for this year’s conference. Read more about Nato here.

Where can I read the other participants’ bios?
Right here!

Housing & Logistics

Where is Hand-in-Glove conference?
Unless otherwise noted, Hand-in-Glove events will take place at the GeoLofts. Geolofts is located at 3636 S. Iron St., in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

How can I get there?
Geolofts is located just over 4 miles from the downtown, straddling the neighborhoods of Bridgeport and McKinley Park.

An easy walk from those neighborhoods, it is less than a block from CTA bus stops at 35th & Iron St and 37th & Ashland. Both the Red Line (35th St/US Cellular Field) and the Orange Line (Ashland and Halsted/Archer Stations) are nearly equidistant at about one and a half miles.

By car, Ashland Ave is only a few blocks east and provides quick access to the Stevenson (1/2 mile), the Eisenhower (3.5 miles), the Kennedy (6 miles). To the north, Archer Ave provides the shortest route to the loop via Halsted, Canal, or State St. Driving east, 35th St provides the easiest way to the Dan Ryan and Lake Shore Drive.

What housing options are available?
A shortlist of Chicago hotels, hostels, and B & Bs can be found here. Additionally, threewalls has also coordinated homestay arrangements with friends of the gallery.

Conference Costs

How much does it cost to attend Hand-in-Glove?
Pre-registration is $100 and $125 at the door. Payment information can be found here.

Can I donate money to support Hand-in-Glove?
Yes, we are accepting donations for the conference. Thank you!

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