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The CAN Foundation announced the 2022 CAN Festival at Assembly. The festival will took place September 10th through October 8th and included a series of curated events celebrating the contemporary arts. In an effort to further the CAN Foundation’s mission of providing a nexus of interconnectivity and development for a strong, enduring, harmonious arts community within the global art market, the month-long program series was designed to spark opportunities for collaborations and network building in the Hampton Roads creative, public, and private sectors.


Canaan: when I read your letter, I feel your voice
Nastassja Swift
Old Hampton Courthouse
June 5-26, 2021

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Canaan: when I read your letter, I feel your voice  was a multi-layered installation and collaborative performance that intimately displayed the exchange between Nastassja Swift and her brother, who is currently incarcerated within the Virginia Department of Corrections. Articulating feelings of absence, erasure, and the personal and communal impact of mass incarceration, Nastassja’s culminating body of work explored her personal experience navigating, as his sister, the past few years of Canaan’s incarceration. 

In conjunction with the exhibition, a series of programming and public initiatives explored personal narratives of those incarcerated, and the conversation of collateral consequences that accrue for imprisoned people and their support systems.



‘Echo around corners and move through walls’

The CANTemporaries Collaborative Exhibition Opening 

Austin Miles, Nalan Smartt, Mark Wilson, Andrew Harrison, Caitlin Blomstrom, Alliannah Hamilton, Nadd Harvin, Raekwon sunley, Chrystal Kelly, Lynette Hulse, Arcader, Jakiyah McCants


The CANTemporaries workshop was a 6-week experimental artist  “think tank” where artists of all disciplines were 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 5 weeks, the artists worked both collaboratively and independently toward a shared vision. 

On June 19,2021 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 journeyed through various constructed environments reflecting on the pivotal events of 2020, questions of reality, and the human condition. These environments were brought to life through the use of text, performance, surrealistic imagery, light, and sound.


Join us tonight from 7-10 pm for the opening of “Spectrum of Being”: a solo exhibition by First Patron artist in residence Adewale Alli with accompanying sounds by Travis Sykes. “Spectrum of Being” is a multi-series body of work. The first series, entitled “The Veil”, will be on view at Eleanor and Hopps Gallery through June 5. The works in the series are an exploration of the human condition and the masks we wear to conceal the restlessness within. Further, the series is a dissection of the artist’s personality; an expression of his emotional angst represented through the language of color and form. The accompanying auditory track engages an additional sense, taking the viewer deeper into their experience with the work.






For the People at the Contemporary Arts Network Headquarters was an art installation and programming series commissioned by VA For the People, A SOMETHING IN THE WATER CALL TO ACTION, that ran September 28, 2020- November 3rd, 2020.

For the People was a collaborative installation completed by the CAN Foundation’s First Patron Artists in residence, Mahari Chabwera, Nastassja Swift, Asa Jackson, and Hampton Boyer in addition to CAN artists Travis Sykes, Alex Michael, Dathan Kane, and the CAN TV Team. The exhibit was a multisensory combination of indoor murals and installations covering the history of voting (with an emphasis on Virginia), voter suppression, and down ballot topics.

The exhibit was accompanied by CAN programming “for the people”. On Saturday, October 10th, the CAN Foundation hosted a discussion moderated by Park Myers, curator of 1708 Gallery, at the CAN HQ including the foundation’s First Patron Initiative artists in residence Mahari Chabwera, Nastassja Swift, Hampton Boyer, Asa Jackson, and Adewale Alli. 

On October 17th the community was invited to a “Break Bread Pop-Up and Podcast” and food drive  for the Virginia Peninsula Food Bank at the Daily Bread Boutique. Visitors shopped Daily Bread Boutique at the CAN HQ and learned about the creatives behind the brands while they were interviewed on the Bread Break Podcast.. 

Programming also included a moderated discussion in conjunction with community catalysts from VA for the People, A SOMETHING IN THE WATER initiative.

The CAN Festival 2020 consisted of The CAN Opener, The CAN Headquarters Grand Opening and a month long (COVID friendly) CAN Festival, a celebration of the Contemporary Arts. The CAN HQ's inaugural weekend and month-long festival included a series of ticketed events every Thursday through Saturday during the month of August, with 50 tickets and two to three time slots per event.



The CAN Opener consisted of:

  • The opening of Daily Bread Boutique featuring clothing brands from Hampton Roads based designers, prints, handcrafted jewelry, and more

  • A group exhibition entitled “Benediction”, at Eleanor and Hopps exhibiting the first class of the CAN Foundation’s artist in residence program, First Patron. The 2020-2021 Class of FPI artists in residence included Asa Jackson, Hampton Boyer, Mahari Chabwera, Nastassja Swift, and Adewale Seye-Alli 

  • “Real Magic”, a group exhibition in 670 Gallery, featured the work of premiere artists based in Hampton Roads. The exhibit will include the work of: Carl Medley, Nikki Leone, Alex Michael, Dathan Kane, Alyssa Channell,Wade Mickley, Chris Revels, and Thomas O’Casey. 

  • A number of multi-genre performances in Commonality.


The festival also included Next Up at the CAN, a performance based music competition, artist talks, a collector's association meeting, and an exhibition at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Virginia that included the work of the FPI class of 2020.