Creative Fusion: Data Edition residency will explore intersections among art, technology and environmental justice

September 4, 2018 – Press Release from Cleveland Foundation:

Creative Fusion: Data Edition residency will explore intersections among art, technology and environmental justice

Latest cohort of the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion international artist residency program will feature local and international artists focusing on new ways to utilize and visualize Cleveland neighborhood data through art

CLEVELAND – Beginning in September, the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program will bring together a group of three international and five Cleveland-based artists for a three-month residency to explore the intersections of art, technology and community issues. The artists will craft compelling visual art from environmental and health data in Cleveland, strengthening bonds among the technology, arts and culture, and civic sectors in Cleveland. Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), Hack Cleveland (HackCLE), ThirdSpace Action Lab, and DigitalC are collaborating to host the artists, who include:

Angélica Dass, an award-winning photographer living in Madrid, Spain. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dass is acutely aware of how small differences in skin tone can swell into large misconceptions and stereotypes about race. She is the creator of the internationally acclaimed Humanae project—a collection of portraits that reveal the diverse beauty of human colors.
Malaz Elgemiabby, an award-winning Sudanese interdisciplinary designer living in Cleveland. Elgemiabby’s background is unique: she studied architecture in London, acquired her Master in Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, and now practices as a designer in the United States. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions and publications. She mainly focuses on empathy, critical thinking and technology.
Gwendolyn Garth, an artist born and raised in Cleveland who grew up in four different neighborhoods: Hough, Fairfax, Glenville and Central – where she currently resides. For Garth, art has been an integral part of life: a hiding place, a resting place, a relaxing place and a healing space. Garth creates and teaches with the therapeutic value of art in all she does.

Daniel Gray-Kontar, a poet, teacher, youth mentor, rapper, journalist and education activist who has worked as an advocate for social transformation in the city of Cleveland for more than 25 years. Gray-Kontar is the executive artistic director of Twelve Literary Arts, an inter-generational teaching, learning and professional development incubator for poets, writers and performance artists who seek a safe space to write in the middle of Cleveland’s inner city.
Myoyoung Kim, a creator, designer, author and educator based in Seoul, Korea, is the CEO of Vice Versa Design Studio, Korea’s first design studio focused on infographics. Kim has worked with major clients including Samsung, GS Caltex, Shinhan Bank, Korean Broadcasting System and various South Korean governmental agencies. She is the author of the book “The Key to Make Everything Look Better Infographic,” one of the best-selling books in the design field. Kim is also a professor at Korean National University of Arts.
M. Carmen Lane, an African-American and Haudenosaunee (Mohawk/Tuscarora) artist, cultural worker, poet, educator and consultant living in Cleveland. Lane is the founder and director of ATNSC: Center for Healing & Creative Leadership, an urban retreat center and experiment in holistic health, leadership development and indigenous arts & culture, located in the historic Buckeye neighborhood.
Azziz Muhammad, a Cleveland native and student at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He is a drawing major and is expected to receive his diploma in the fall of 2019. Born and raised in East Cleveland, the imagery and content in his work is a derivative of his direct experiences within his neighborhood, and the dreams that he has as a byproduct of this experience. He works within the realm of drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, sound and mixed media.
Alsino Skowronnek, a Berlin-based data designer and maker of visual things. A geographer by training, Skowronnek has worked for different organizations around the world on spreadsheets, maps and data visualization.

“Creative Fusion: Data Edition is unlike any Creative Fusion cohort we’ve hosted to date,” said Lillian Kuri, Vice President, Strategic Grantmaking, Arts & Urban Design Initiatives at the Cleveland Foundation. “With this cohort, we’re affirming that artists belong at the table in key discussions and decisions around the re-making of our city.”

“The intersection and integration of data and the arts is a new field, and the international artists in this group are among the most prominent and innovative artists doing work of this kind,” said Joshua Edmonds, Digital Innovation Fellow at the Cleveland Foundation. “By bringing them together with local artists who have deep roots in Cleveland neighborhoods, and aligning this cohort with neighborhood development work, we believe these artists will make important contributions to community engagement and placemaking priorities for everyone involved.”

The artists will work in dedicated studios and workspaces at Digital C’s MidTown Tech Hive, and the visiting artists will live at The Madison building on the Glenville Arts Campus. The artists will explore environmental justice topics such as infant mortality, lead poisoning, food insecurity and blight. The artists will critically interrogate how well we understand and use neighborhood data—its relevance, its functionality, its reliability—and its limitations. They will also challenge us to think differently about who we consider to be an artist, a data scientist and/or an activist.

“We hope this cohort will inspire a robust and timely discourse that will catalyze movement towards environmental justice throughout our community,” said Erika Anthony, Vice President of Government Relations & Strategy at CNP and co-founder of Hack Cleveland. “We believe the artist’s responsibility in every community should be to challenge the status quo; to propose audacious and thought-provoking ideas, to envision a world of endless possibilities; and to inspire us to follow their example. Whether the problem is environmental vulnerability, health disparity or housing insecurity, the solutions we seek will emerge from the creative collision of new ideas, talents and perspectives.”

During their residencies, the artists will engage with the community through partner organizations including CNP, Digital C, Hack Cleveland, and ThirdSpace Action Lab. While CNP and HackCLE are the primary leads, the cohort has the support of an advisory team. The artists will participate in a developing line-up of special events and programming – including the UnDesign the Redline Exhibit Opening at Mt. Pleasant Community Development (late Sept.), Digital C’s viewing and discussion of Dividing Lines (Sept. 11), the City of Cleveland’s Sustainability Summit (Sept. 20-21), a screening of Dispatches from Cleveland (Sept. 25), Hack Cleveland’s #Fix216 Criminal Justice Scope-a-Thon (Oct. 26-27), as well as data deep dives, school and youth engagement, and more. Additionally, all of the artists will undergo training through the Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater and Phase 1 programs, as part of CNP’s Year of Deeper Awareness 2018 initiative. A final artist showcase for the cohort will take place the week of Nov. 11.

About Creative Fusion

Launched in 2008 by the Cleveland Foundation, Creative Fusion is a twice-yearly international artist residency program that has brought more than 90 artists from around the world to Cleveland. Recently, the program has strengthened collaboration between local Cleveland artists and the visiting artists-in-residence by focusing each Creative Fusion cohort along a single theme. Recent cohorts have included Creative Fusion: Composer Edition, The Madison Residencies as part for FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Creative Fusion: Cuba Edition, and Creative Fusion: Street Art Edition. More information about Creative Fusion: Data Edition can be found at, and by following #CreativeFusionCLE across Cleveland Foundation and host organization social media properties.

Cover image is from – read the article HERE.