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The CAN Foundation works closely with artists in the development of their craft and careers. Through residencies, mentorship, critiques, education, client development and management, we provide artists with the tools to build a foundation for sustainable art careers. 



The First Patron Initiative is an artist development program designed to give artists a foundation and stepping stone for launching sustainable art careers. During their time with FPI, the artists  gain experience in developing and managing gallery and art world relationships, exhibition, studio, and gallery operations, art history and art business education, programmatic collaboration, community engagement projects, professional critiques, and the opportunity to have their work put into a private collection to be on a rotating exhibition schedule at future CAN Museum locations and public spaces. Once an artist participates in FPI, they may take residency in different CAN programs. In this way, the Foundation provides a life-long relationship that supports the growth and development of an artist’s career over time.

The FPI is a contemporary system that is a blend of historical methodologies aiming to develop and sustain art markets. The program is built to mirror Walter Hopps’ 5 points, incorporates strategies from Federal Project Number One (a subdivision of the Works Projects Administration under the umbrella of the New Deal) endorsed and implemented by Eleanor Roosevelt, and contains elements of the Renaissance artists’ workshops. 

The First Patron Initiative benefits participating communities, cities, and states in a number of ways. It provides globally relevant art experiences, activities, education and purposeful engagement for the community at large.  The program encourages tourism through exhibitions and public art,  showcasing the work of top emerging talent.  In exchange for living quarters and stipends, The CAN Foundation, in collaboration with stakeholders obtains (an agreed upon amount of) works of the FPIs artists in residence. These works will contribute to a growing collection, culminating in contemporary arts museums in locations where the programs are present.

The 2020-2021 Class of First Patron Artists in Residence included: Asa Jackson, Nastassja E. Swift, Hampton Boyer, Adewale Alli, and Mahari Chabwera. The First Patron Studios are housed in The Contemporary Arts Network Headquarters.


FAMM House is a residency and apprenticeship in collaboration with the FAMM project (Film. Audio. Media. and Marketing). The FAMM houses’ mission is to assist in the creation of sustainable careers for creatives (with a focus those who are underrepresented in the industry) by providing training and paid field experience for multimedia artists interested in the film, television, and AV industries. Artists of all levels of experience can apply.




The CANTemporaries workshop is a 6-week experimental artist  “think tank” where artists of all disciplines are encouraged to work together towards a culminating exhibition and programming series. The first group of CANTemporaries was an eclectic mix of 12 talented artists. Over the course of 5 weeks, the artists have worked both collaboratively and independently toward a shared vision. 

On June 19, 2020 they presented Conducted Transmission, a multi-sensory collaborative installation that spans ⅔ of the first floor of the CAN HQ. The exhibition explored themes of perception vs. reality. The viewer will journey through various constructed environments reflecting on the pivotal events of 2020, questions of reality, and the human condition. These environments are brought to life through the use of text, performance, surrealistic imagery, light, and sound.


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