By Becky Raspe

Running in conjunction with the FRONT Triennial, Collective Arts Network’s CAN Triennial will also return from July 8 to Aug. 31, featuring 125 artists from seven Northeast Ohio counties.

The CAN Triennial was first held in 2018, along with FRONT, with an aim to further highlight the Northeast Ohio arts community. 

The artists selected will exhibit in 19 venues in six neighborhoods. They will contend with the theme “You Are Here,” which calls artists and viewers to focus on their understanding of the concept of time and place, and our relationship to it as individuals, says Michael Gill, executive director of CAN.

Gill | Photo / Bob Perkoski

Developed before the pandemic and revisited almost a year later, Gill says the concept felt even more poignant than before.

“When we reconvened, our curatorial team went right back to that subject,” he says. “We began this as a regionally-focused show. (The theme) has that geographic implication, but I think in the past year, the other appeal was living in the present tense and all of the things going on in our world right now.”

The theme also remained relevant because artists inherently create in response to their experiences, Gill says.

“Artists respond to the world around them in all different ways – from overtly to more obliquely or symbolically,” he says. 

The first CAN Triennial was held only at the 78th Street Studios, but Gill says it was time to further highlight the strength of Cleveland’s art scene beyond the Detroit-Shoreway arts complex. This year, in addition to the 78th Street Studios, participating venues include Praxis Fiber Workshop, Waterloo Arts, the Galleries at CSU and Graffiti HeArt.

Additionally, for the first triennial, the curatorial team worked as a committee, ending up with “sort of an amalgam” of ideas, Gill says. This year, curators broke down into smaller committees to choose art and venues within their assigned neighborhoods.

“This allowed them to frame their vision and interpretation of ‘You Are Here’ within the neighborhood they’re focusing in,” he says. “We have intentionally chosen neighborhoods where there are clusters of things you can get to easily, and even walk from one venue to another. Choose a neighborhood and just go.”

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