The Cleveland Foundation Presents Creative Fusion: Make it Count, with International Artists

This year the United States will undertake its 24th census. The goal will be to arrive at a total number of the individuals who live in this country. But numbers without context, without narrative, mean very little.

On the other hand, when considered in contextualized groups, numbers have a story to tell. Such groupings can be based on geography or a host of social factors or a combination of both. They can be interpreted to represent communities and cultures, reveal issues and concerns, and even illuminate the future.

Interestingly, in Spanish, there is one word that means both to count and to tell: contar. Cleveland happens to be home to one of the largest communities of Latinx people in the state. Some have been here for generations. Some are new to the area, having arrived in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Many have chosen to make their home in and immediately around the Clark-Fulton neighborhood, which happens to contain tracts with the lowest census response rate in the region. What is the story there?

This year, the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion initiative will focus on Clark-Fulton. The purpose of Creative Fusion is to bring international artists to our city to engage with local artists and create new work. Because of a historically low census response rate, Clark-Fulton has been labeled “hard to count,” but the stories of the community still matter. In recognition of this fact, a number of organizations serving the community are welcoming artists from around the world into the neighborhood to find innovative ways to share and interpret these stories.

This issue of CAN Journal will examine some of the pressing national issues and barriers related to the actual count—and the larger issue of civic participation in general—and will introduce the host organizations. As the year goes on, we look forward to sharing more about the artists and the work they will produce.


To read this story in Spanish, click here.