Collective Arts Network (CAN) is a nonprofit organization serving the visual arts industry in and around Cleveland, providing a public forum for promotion, reporting, and reviews. Its primary projects are the quarterly print magazine CAN Journal, the website CANjournal.org, its blog, and the e-newsletter CAN Weekly. Additional projects include CAN Triennial, a regionally focused, curated art exhibit.
CAN’s origins date to a series of dialogs in 2011, organized by Zygote Press. Approximately 28 small to mid-sized visual art organizations met during the year to discuss mutually supportive strategies for stabilizing in difficult economic times. While the region was experiencing an outpouring of arts activity, including significant investment and revitalization of several neighborhoods, the deteriorating media environment had almost entirely abandoned coverage of visual art in Northeast Ohio. The need for communication was a constant topic in these conversations.
The organizations decided on a boot strap solution—to share the cost of producing their own publication. It was grass-roots, collective problem-solving. The first CAN Journal involved 28 organizations, supported by a matching grant from the Ohio Arts Council. It was published as a newsprint tabloid in January, 2012.
CAN Journal was re-envisioned and re-born as a quarterly magazine and website in June, 2012, with support from Consolidated Solutions and the George Gund Foundation. Since that time, membership in the collective grew from 28 organizations to nearly 100. Each issue of the print magazine includes dozens of galleries, museums, and related institutions previewing their own exhibits, as well as independent reporting, commentary, features, and reviews. Having previously operated through non-profit fiscal agents, CAN was recognized as an independent, tax-exempt nonprofit in 2015.
In 2018, responding to the international focus of the FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, CAN presented the inaugural, regionally-focused CAN Triennial.
The Press Club of Cleveland, in its peer-reviewed, All Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards, named CAN Journal the “Best Magazine in Ohio” in 2019. Also in 2019, the organization began an ongoing effort to proactively engage galleries, collectives, writers, and individual artists of Color. Through its history CAN has worked with differently-abled writers and worked to amplify marginalized voices, especially from Black and Brown communities, including bilingual publication of stories relating specifically to the LatinX community from 2017 – present, with support of the Cleveland Foundation. In 2021 CAN began its 10th year.
CAN is supported by its members, by the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Chuck and Char Fowler Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the Ohio Arts Council, by Consolidated Solutions, and by individual donors.