As soon as Governor Mike DeWine issued stay at home orders, we knew the Summer 2020 issue of CAN Journal would be different from any we’ve published before. That’s because previews of exhibits and related events usually fill about half of the pages in this magazine, and inform the rest, as well. As gallery directors and artists shelter in place and practice “social distancing” in the effort to “flatten the curve” of the COVID – 19 pandemic, almost all of those events have been cancelled, or at least indefinitely postponed.

The art scene is built on gatherings of people experiencing culture together. Even as the governor talks about a timeline for allowing some non-essential businesses to re-open, we know openings, art walks, and festivals will be among the last events allowed to resume.

So rather than preview an uncertain future, CAN had to shift gears. For the first time ever, we asked gallery, studio, and museum directors to respond to specific questions: How has the pandemic affected them, and what are they doing to get through the crisis?

Additionally, we spoke with individual artists whose exhibits have been postponed. How has it affected their livelihood? How is it reflected in the work itself?

Eight years of publishing have already given us a sense that in addition to building a dialog, CAN is documenting the region’s art history. These stories, in the voices of dozens of mostly small organizations, make this issue a little more like a time capsule. In years to come, anyone looking for an overview of what the pandemic meant to artists and exhibitors will find a remarkable resource here.

Especially through the pandemic, it has never been more important to stay in touch, to keep people connected. Art-making thrives on the exchange of ideas. CAN Journal is a manifestation of that: the ‘C’ in CAN stands for Collective, and the ‘N’ for Network. Those words influence even the distribution of the magazine, which has always begun with a party for gallery directors and artists to gather and take copies back to their venues for their patrons. In the summer of 2020, for the first time ever, we’re not able to do that. The magazine will get to galleries as usual—as well as to hundreds of essential businesses, including grocery stores, Discount Drug Mart locations, and carry-out restaurants—but it will do so in a safe way, without gathering a crowd.

As we go to press, we don’t yet know how the rest of the summer will play out. We’ll come out of the pandemic changed, but we will come out of it. Now as always, we extend profound thanks to our advertisers, especially Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art, Akron Art Museum, and moCa, for helping to sustain us. Because of them, and because of the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Chuck and Char Fowler Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and all our member organizations and generous readers, CAN will be here to keep galleries connected and audiences informed as together we invent the art scene of the future. We look forward to seeing you there.

Michael Gill

Editor / Publisher