Chief Commons Officer, CultureWorks Commons Management
My creative practice is systems design, and I work in the emerging field of nonprofit resource sharing, focusing on the arts and heritage ecosystem. A former musician and curator, I have found the greatest happiness as a social worker for arts and heritage practitioners—a gate opener, not a gate keeper. I believe that the solutions to our most persistent social problems are best solved by the charitable or “third” sector and not as readily by government or the private sector, though the latter have valuable roles to play. Sharing or “commoning” is at the core of my work under the premise that sharing lowers barriers to accessing resources, increases equity, and ultimately fosters flourishing and proliferation, which is the purpose of cultural practice. My work is grounded in the ideas of American Pragmatism, Common Pool Resource Economics, the Rochdale Principles, New Localism and the Applied Behavioral Sciences. Active projects that I have initiated include the emerging national network of management commons that is CultureWorks (CultureWorks Commons Management, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia [cultureworksphila.org], and other local commons in development), and Hidden City Philadelphia [hiddencityphila.org]. Projects in development include the CultureWorks Equitable Realty Trust. Retired projects to date include Peregrine Arts, the John Grass Maker Community, Philadelphia Independent Media Commons, and the Philadelphia Collections Management Commons. I serve as a volunteer governor for American Nonprofits, the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, Nonprofit Centers Network, and the Overbrook Farms Club, the oldest civic association in the country. My husband and I live in Philadelphia’s historic Overbrook Farms neighborhood, where we are happy stewards of the Ernest Tustin house, built in 1913 by one of the city’s great advocates for public education, parks, and commonwealth.