For the next three months, artists from Sri Lanka, India, Armenia, Mexico and Chile will bring their talents, experiences and cultures to Cleveland through The Cleveland Foundation's international artist-in-residence program,
"The Cleveland Foundation does have a globalization agenda for Cleveland, and we think it's important for Clevelanders to see the city as a global, international city and that the rest of the world see us that way, too," says Kathleen Cerveny, Director of Institutional Learning and Arts Initiatives for the foundation. "The arts are a great tool to promote international understanding and exchange."
Creative Fusion brings in five international artists for a three-month stay in Cleveland. The program has been in the pilot phase for the last three years, and this year's roster of artists represents a complete relaunch for the initiative.
"Traditionally, arts organizations will bring in international artists, but there's very little lasting impact," says Cerveny. "We wanted to bring artists here for a longer period of time, especially cultures that are not represented in Cleveland."
While Creative Fusion artists are embedded within a cultural organization, they are required to complete community engagement activities and interact with the local artistic community. Cerveny says that the artists have gotten right to work.
"There's an Indian choreographer at the Rainey Institute who has been here a week and a day, and he's already taught two classes at Hathaway Brown and worked with inner-city kids at Rainey. This program has a significant impact."
Many of the artists consider Cleveland "a second home" after living here, she adds.
The artists are being hosted by Inlet Dance Theatre, Rainey Institute, Trinity Cathedral, Young Audiences and Zygote Press. More information about the Creative Fusion artists can be found on the Cleveland Foundation's website
Source: Kathleen Cerveny
Writer: Lee Chilcote