CAN Journal: The First Ten Years

Because We Can, Limited edition screen print featuring cover art from the first CAN Journal, a newsprint tabloid published in January 2012. Cover art and screen print created by JoAnn Dickey, on the occasion of CAN’s first anniversary benefit party in 2013, at the gallery Convivium 33.

It’s the season when you begin to see stories that look back on the year that was. And 2022 marked a milestone for Collective Arts Network and CAN Journal. This year, CAN turned ten years old. But this post doesn’t stop at 2022. This timeline looks back on the last decade, plus a bit more.

Regular readers know this origin story: CAN evolved from a dialogue among art organizations, pulled together by Zygote Press in 2011. Initially 28 organizations pooled resources, and–at a time when the newspapers and magazines that had covered art in Cleveland were either out of business or had largely abandonned arts coverage–they set out to make their own media. Ten years later, with nearly 100 organizations engaged, CAN Journal and this website and weekly e-newsletter are the most comprehensive available source of information about visual art in Northeast Ohio. This timeline traces our path, from origin to the present. It includes organizational milestones, accomplishments, locations and partners for all our quarterly launch parties, and more details that tell the story of how we got here.

2011:     Zygote Press organizes the Strategic Arts Leadership Talks (SALT Talks), which include discussion of various projects, but eventually focus on collaboratively creating a publication to highlight galleries.

Zygote director Liz Maugans hires Michael Gill to edit, JoAnn Dickey hired to design, and Douglas Max Utter to contribute an essay.

September 2011: Meeting at BAYarts, during which representatives of participating organizations pull names from a hat: In a networking exercise, each gallery would interview another to write a profile of their activities.  

Newspaper photo from Westlake Bay Village Observer, from one of CAN’s early organizational meetings at BAYarts. Image courtesy of Nancy Heaton.

January, 2012:  The first CAN Journal, printed at The Plain Dealer, features 28 organizations, including small to mid-size nonprofits, as well as commercial galleries.  Supported by a matching grant from Ohio Arts Council, and a total budget of approximately $6,000.

January 2012: First Launch Party at Tom Balbo Studio: The organizations gather to celebrate the publication. The distribution plan is for each to take a bundle back to their gallery for patrons.

MG begins working with the County Library distribution system and other channels to continue getting the publication out.

February, 2012: MG conducts Follow-up interviews with participating organizations to determine ongoing interest in contributing to an art magazine with galleries as stakeholders: working together to make their own media.

April, 2012: MG presents the vision of a quarterly magazine in morning coffee and afternoon happy hour meetings for participating organizations and other interested parties.

May, 2012: Consolidated Solutions commits to printing the first year of CAN Journal pro-bono

May 2012: Zygote Press Board of Directors agrees to serve as fiscal agent for the first year.

June, 2012: The first CAN Journal quarterly, magazine format –Summer 2012 edition—is published. Again, 28 organizations participate.

June 2012: Launch party hosted at BAYarts.

July 2012:  The website, built by Bernie Sokolowski, is launched with support from the George Gund Foundation, through Zygote Press.

September, 2012: Fall issue of CAN Journal is published, with 40 organizations in the collective.

September, 2012: Fall Launch Party at Survival Kit, 78th Street Studios

December, 2012: Winter Launch Party hosted by 6th Floor Artists of the ArtCraft Building.

March, 2013: Spring Issue Launch Party hosted at BAYarts.

Spring 2013: Alenka Banco hosts CAN’s first benefit, Y2CAN, at Convivium 33. Attended by Cleveland Museum of Art director David Franklin, Cleveland Institute of Art president Grafton Nunes, Councilman Joe Cimperman, and about 150 Cleveland art patrons. Ken Lanci serves as celebrity bartender.

May, 2013: Summer issue launch party hosted at Dove Coat Studio in the Screw Factory.

June 2013: St Clair Superior Development Corp takes on fiscal agency for CAN.

Bulk delivery of magazines switches from Zygote Press to A Piece Of Cleveland (APOC) warehouse, East 47th and Lakeside.

July 2013: CAN Journal Design Director JoAnn Dickey’s work on CAN wins AIGA award for Design

August, 2013: Fall Launch Party hosted at Orange Art Center.

November, 2013: Winter Launch Party hosted at the Cleveland Print Room.

March, 2014: Spring Launch Party hosted at Waterloo Arts

May, 2014: Summer CAN Launch at Loren Naji Gallery.

The event was halted by Cleveland Fire Officials, one week after an art opening at Loren Naji Gallery was raided by the Ohio Board of Liquor Control

Summer, 2014: CAN presents second benefit, a corn hole tournament pitting gallery vs gallery, at the Morgan Conservatory.

August 2014: CWRU Law Clinic takes on CAN as a client, developing application for nonprofit status

August, 2014: Fall Launch Party hosted in the Galleries at CSU.

November, 2014: Winter Launch Party hosted at Artists Archives of the Western Reserve.

March, 2015: Launch Party hosted at BAYarts.

May, 2015: So You Think You CAN Sing? Karaoke benefit at 78th Street Studios

May, 2015: Summer Launch Party combined with So You Think You CAN Sing, at 78th Street Studios.

May 2015: Application for Nonprofit Status filed.

The Summer 2015 issue of CAN Journal. Cover Art, a detail from King of the Wonder Wall, 60″ X 25″, wood block print by Claudio Orso-Giacone, from his exhibit Tavola Lunga (Long Board) at the Morgan Conservatory.

June 2015: Nonprofit status is official.  CAN establishes its own bank accounts for the first time.

August, 2015: Fall Launch Party hosted at 1point618.

November, 2015: Launch Party hosted at Heights Arts.

January, 2016: CAN Begins covering Creative Fusion program, with support of the Cleveland Foundation

March, 2016: Launch Party hosted at Bonfoey Gallery.

April, 2016: So You Think You CAN Sing II, at 78th Street Studios

May, 2016: Launch Party hosted at the Murray Hill Schoolhouse in Little Italy.

June 2016: With support from George Gund Foundation, CAN begins publication of CAN Weekly e-newsletter.

June 2016: In response to feedback requesting more critical reviews of shows, and with support from the Ohio Arts Council, CAN launches CAN Blog

Cleveland Museum of Art director William Griswold with Michael Ferry with the Summer 2016 issue of CAN Journal at the opening of the Hilton Downtown, just in time for the 2016 Republican National Convention

July 2016: Republican National Convention comes to Cleveland; With support from University Hospitals, CAN increases circulation by 15,000 (to a total of 25,000) and distributes to all hotels in the region, from Sandusky to Youngstown, south Akron.

August, 2016: Commemorating University Hospitals 150th anniversary, UH supports printing of 5,000 additional copies of the Fall 2016 issue, for distribution to UH administrative and medical staff.

August, 2016: Fall Launch Party hosted at Canopy.

November, 2016: Winter Launch Party hosted at Cleveland Collection Gallery.

The Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion Cuba cohort, at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, Havana. Representatives from the Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Print Room, Dance Cleveland, Verb Ballets, Cleveland Museum of Art, Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Center, and CAN Journal.

January 2017: CAN is part of Creative Fusion Cuba Cohort and hosts Laura Ruiz Montes, writer and editor of Ediciones Vigia in Matanzas, Cuba.

Coverage of the Cuba Cohort of Creative Fusion is published bilingually in English and Spanish, with translation by Case Western Reserve University prof. Damaris Punales-Alpizar.

March, 2017: Spring Launch Party hosted at moCa Cleveland.

May, 2017: Inspired by FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, CAN begins discussion of presenting a parallel, regionally focused triennial.

May, 2017: Summer Launch Party hosted at HEDGE Gallery.

July, 2017: Cleveland Foundation commits to support CAN Triennial.

August, 2017: Fall Launch Party hosted at Harris Stanton Gallery.

The first CAN Triennial curators – William Busta, Curly Raven Holton, Hilary Gent and Angelica Pozo – announced during the launch party at Harris Stanton Gallery.

November, 2017: Winter Launch Party hosted at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

March, 2018: Spring Launch Party hosted at Praxis Fiber Workshop.

May, 2018: Summer Launch Party hosted at ARTneo.

July, 2018: The first CAN Triennial presented at 78th Street Studios.

Five artists win solo museum shows in the inaugural CAN Triennial Exhibition Prizes.

August, 2018: Fall Launch Party hosted at the FRONT Porch.

November, 2018: Winter Launch Party hosted at ArtHouse.

January, 2019: With support from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, CAN begins Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program to engage organizations owned or operated by people of color.

Friends at the Fall 2019 CAN Journal launch party at Kings & Queens of Art’s Art Palace.

March, 2019: Summer issue launch party hosted at YARDS Projects.

May, 2019: Summer Launch Party hosted at La Cosecha Gallery on Denison.

June 2019, CAN named Best Magazine in Ohio in Press Club of Cleveland’s annual Excellence in Journalism Awards. Celebration in Bruce Checefsky studio.

August, 2019: Fall Launch party hosted at The Art Palace.

November, 2019: Winter Launch Party hosted at Zygote Press.

The cover of the Spring 2020 issue of CAN Journal, published 10 days before galleries closed by State order in response to the COVI-19 Pandemic. Cover art by James Ruby.

March, 2020: A packed Spring issue launch party at the Morgan Conservatory is CAN’s last major gathering of people before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

April, 2020: CAN convenes virtual dialog of small art organizations to discuss common practices and strategies for coping with COVID and eventual re-opening.

May 2020: Launch of the Summer issue was originally scheduled at the American Greetings Gallery, which closed due to COVID. The Launch is presented virtually.

May, 2020: CAN responds to criticism over racial homogeny on its summer issue cover

June 2020: Brittany Hudak wins first place for criticism in the Press Club of Cleveland’s annual Excellence in Journalism Awards. Michael Gill wins first place for Column Writing.

July, 2020: CAN begins Strategic Planning for the first time, with The Osgood Group

Seema Rao at the Fall 2020 launch party, at Edward E. Parker Museum of Art

August, 2020: Fall Launch Party hosted at the Edward E. Parker Museum of Art.

November, 2020: Winter Launch Party hosted at Framed Gallery.

March, 2021: Spring Launch Party hosted at Lakeland Community College.

May, 2021: Summer Issue Launch Party hosted at Deep Roots Experience.

CAN Triennial 2022 curators announce the theme of CAN Triennial 2022: You Are Here.

May, 2021: Publication of Summer 2021 CAN Journal marks beginning of 10th Year

August, 2021: Fall Launch Party hosted at Kaiser Gallery.

November, 2021: Winter Launch Party hosted at Sankofa Fine Art.

March, 2022: Launch Party hosted at Future Ink Graphics.

May, 2022: Summer Launch Party at SPACES.

June, 2022: CAN Triennial Guide is released at the Happy  Dog.

June 2022: In the Press Club of Cleveland’s annual Excellence in Journalism Awards, Michael Gill wins Best In Ohio: Reviews / Criticism. Erin O’Brien wins First Place for Arts Feature.

July-August, 2022: CAN Triennial: You Are Here is presented in approximately 16 venues around Cleveland. Nine regional museums—Akron Art Museum, ArtNeo, BAYarts, The Butler Institute of American Art, Canton Museum of Art, Erie (PA) Art Museum, Mansfield Art Center, Massillon Museum, and Summit Artspace—award CAN Triennial Exhibition Prizes.

August, 2022: CAN Journal debuts a re-designed magazine.

Fall Launch Party hosted at La Cosecha Galeria on Pearl Road.

November, 2022: Winter Launch Party presented at Loganberry Books, with support from MoCHA.

CAN Journal debuted a new design as it entered its second decade. The Fall 2022 issue featured cover art by John Carlson (1954 – 2020), Cinderella Sleeping It Off, oil and charcoal on canvas, 46 x 42 inches, 2017.

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.