Welcome Back.

This fall, as two of Cleveland’s most prominent art exhibitors unveil undeniably spectacular pieces of new construction, it’s fair to say we’re enjoying the fruit of an arts building boom.

MOCA Cleveland for the first time ever will have a purpose-built home in which to present the best of the world’s contemporary art. It anchors the intersection of Euclid and Mayfield like a faceted block of volcanic glass. And the Cleveland Museum of Art will unveil a massive new atrium that will not only be one of the city’s most impressive interior spaces, but will also re-introduce spatial logic to the museum. Visitors will be able to find their way to the art without having to navigate a maze of basement hallways. Both of those are slated to open in October, and you can read about them in this issue.

But the reality of Cleveland’s art building boom is much broader than bricks and mortar. We’ve been building in other ways. Consider, for example, the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory. Conceived by Tom Balbo in 2006, offering classes just since 2009, the organization has embraced the hand manufacture of paper and related arts. The Morgan offers classes, exhibits, has launched a commercial line of handmade papers, and even grows kozo fiber in a small grove of trees on the back lot, for making paper in a Japanese style. Talk about starting from scratch. And what they’re making –it’s worth repeating–is paper, that most basic building block for so much human creativity.

Just a few short years after opening the doors, the organization debuts on the international stage this fall by hosting Watermarks, a conference that will draw hundreds of students and paper making artists from around the world for programs presented in cooperation with the International Association of Handmade Paper Artists, Friends of Dard Hunter, and a coterie of collaborating Cleveland area galleries. That’s the kind of thing that makes bricks and mortar worthwhile.

Or consider Octavofest, launched in 2009 by the fledgling group Artist Books Cleveland, now coordinated as a partnership with Cleveland Public Library, the Cleveland State University Center for the Book, and the Morgan. Octavofest capitalizes on the synergy of Cleveland’s several organizations related to the book arts to offer a month long celebration of the book as an object. There are exhibits and presentations at the Cleveland Museum of Art, at Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and independent library branches, at galleries, and other locations around the region.

Consider the small but mighty organizations whose activity represented on these pages, from the individual galleries and artists working in hives like 78th Street Studios and the Lake Erie Screw Factory to the multitude of artists occupying their studios in former industrial spaces, like the Artcraft Building, Tower Press, and others around the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood.

Cleveland has an art scene that’s got bench.

I’d humbly submit that what you’re holding in your hands is still more evidence of the depth of the local art scene. CAN Journal exists because of the dozens of galleries and hundreds of artists showing and making work in Northeast Ohio. It’s an honor to for us to play a part in building that scene. We are off to a terrific start, growing with each issue, and will continue to amplify the Cleveland art scene with your help.

So watch for details about coming events, including what we expect to be a massive party in Spring 2013, and please do not hesitate to get involved. Thanks for reading.

Michael Gill