CAN Triennial Announces 2022 Theme — “You Are Here” — and Opens Artist Applications

click to enlarge Can Triennial Info -
Can Triennial Info

After a long and abrupt hiatus due to COVID-19, Cleveland’s Collective Arts Network (CAN) and organizers of CAN Triennial have opened up artist applications to participate in its 2022 exhibition. The theme and title for the 2022 citywide art event is, “YOU ARE HERE.” Applications will be open until Sept. 30.

CAN is the guiding ‘North Star’ for this Arts ‘happening’ in Northeast Ohio. The nonprofit organization serves the visual arts industry in and around Cleveland, providing a public forum for promotion, reporting, and reviews. CAN publishes the quarterly print magazine, CAN Journal, the website, its blog, the e-newsletter CAN Weekly, and CAN Triennial itself.

This multi-venue exhibition will feature artists' work in galleries within various Arts districts across the city. Creative Arts Network’s CAN Triennial was conjured up in 2016 after community interest for a regionally-centered answer to FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art.

The first CAN Triennial in 2018 ran from July 7 – 29, was hosted by 78th Street Studios, presented works of 90 artists, including 16 commissioned, site-specific installations and drew 7,550 visitors. The CAN Triennial 2022 will take place in July and August of 2022 with specifics to be announced. This event did not take place last year due to COVID-19.

“The 2022 Triennial will take place not in one gallery or building, but in multiple venues clustered in neighborhoods around the city,” said Michael Gill, CAN's Executive Director (and former Scene Senior Editor). “This will help organize what is necessarily a very large exhibit by creating the opportunity for individual chapters, like parts of a whole book. This relates beautifully to the theme, You Are Here. While Northeast Ohio, and even Cleveland specifically, is a place, each of the neighborhoods also have their own identity and personality. Members of the curatorial team will each work with individual neighborhoods, which gives each of them a greater opportunity to execute a vision of the theme. We'll be announcing those neighborhoods and venues in the coming weeks.”

2022’s YOU ARE HERE’s focus is broad and includes notions of: place, location, culture, politics, presence and loss. The press release states that, “…these exhibitions will give us an experiential journey through the literal geography of our city, and the ever-complicated situational understandings of place, context, identity, and action.”

“We resumed the curators' dialog by Zoom early this year,” explains Gill. “We had announced our curators in the Fall of 2019, and they had begun to meet early in 2020, just before the pandemic shut things down. Their early conversations had made significant progress toward identifying a title and theme for what was expected to be the 2021 triennial. Then along came the pandemic. When it became clear that the shutdown would last longer than a few weeks, I had a conversation with Fred Bidwell, who told me that FRONT Triennial had decided to postpone. Because we see synergy for Cleveland-based artists with the international FRONT Triennial, we decided to postpone, too.

"So at that point our curatorial conversation paused…We resumed the curators' dialog by Zoom early this year. It was great to see all the curators' enthusiasm for the project after nearly a year's break, and they picked up right where they left off. Our resulting theme, You Are Here, emphasizes place, which is appropriate for a regional show, and especially this one, which takes place in several Cleveland neighborhoods. It also emphasizes the present tense.”

The Triennial's diverse assemblage of curators and board members will include: Darius Steward, Sabine Kretzschmar, Thea Spittle, Kristin Rogers, and Hector Castellanos Lara, who collectively offer diversity and a wide range of artistic as well as curatorial experience along with track records for acute acumen with regard to the visual arts.

“We're truly thrilled with our curatorial team, and especially the involvement of Currently Under Curation, which is the Cleveland Museum of Art's curatorial mastery program for Cleveland High School Students, led by artist/educator Darius Steward and curator/educator Sabine Kretzschmar,” Gill said. “The students have a history of curating not only from the museum's collection, but with contemporary artists, including the recent exhibition of works by LA-based, international artist Laura Owens, presented by the Museum at Transformer Station. CAN Triennial will give them an opportunity to apply their vision and concerns to make a significant statement in partnership with contemporary Cleveland artists, and to do so on a grand scale.”

Artists selected to be a part of the exhibition will be notified by the end of 2021. The forms of media include, but are not limited to: painting, printmaking, photography, collage, fiber, ceramic, performance art, sculpture, mixed media, etc. Applications are open to any artists living in Cuyahoga and surrounding counties: Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Summit, Portage, Geauga, and Lake Counties.

All artists will be paid an honorarium. Artists will individually determine whether works are offered for sale, and will set their prices, bearing in mind that the gallery will take a commission of 40% from any sales. The participating locations are to be released at later date of this exhibition.

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